The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker
Romance | Contemporary | New Adult
Published by Atria Books
Released August 7, 2018
Goodreads | Amazon
I’ve always prided myself on reading a very wide range of literary genres, from fantasy to contemporary to horror. However, there has always been one genre that I tended to avoid – romance.
Despite loving a good romance in a book, for some reason I’ve always been turned off by the idea of actual romance novels. I suppose I may have seen them as frivolous or too fluffy for my tastes. Regardless of my past feelings on the romance genre, however, K.A. Tucker has permanently changed my mind.
The Simple Wild initially intrigued me based solely on its setting of rural Alaska. I love wild, untamed natural areas, and recently I’ve been feeling incredibly nostalgic for my days of hiking and backpacking. I’ve been trying to experiment with books out of my comfort zone, so I figured if I’m ever going to give romance a try, a book set in the wilderness would be the right choice for me.
The story follows Calla, a twenty-something living in Toronto with her mother and step-father. She’s a fashion and lifestyle blogger and loves the glamor that city life provides. Everything changes, however, in what is possibly the worst day ever – she’s unexpectedly fired from her job, essentially gets attacked by raccoons, and then finds out that her estranged father, who she hasn’t spoken to in years, has lung cancer.
Calla makes the decision to fly to Alaska to finally meet her father. Their first encounters are awkward, but they slowly start to connect with one another. Calla also meets one of her father’s employees at the small airline he owns – Jonah, a rugged “Yeti” of a man who seems to be purposefully making her time in Alaska hellish.
There was so much I enjoyed about this book, and the rural Alaskan setting was just a very small part of it. K.A. Tucker’s characters are so authentic that I found myself engaged in every character’s story, even minor side characters. One of the reasons I don’t read much contemporary is that I struggle to like the characters, but that definitely wasn’t the case here.
I enjoyed the “hate-to-love” trope and the relationship between Calla and Jonah was playful, spiteful, steamy, and heartfelt all at once. The slow burn of their building affection toward one another was paced perfectly.
The novel had me bawling towards the end but by the time I finished the last page I was overwhelmed by the knowledge that everything in this book is perfect.
I will be reading many more of K.A. Tucker’s books, and I am no longer scared of romance novels. That said, if you guys have any recommendations for similar books that have wild settings and rugged, woodsy love interests, please let me know in the comments. I need more like this.