Somehow I was led to believe that The Simple Wild was a cute hate-to-love romcom about a city girl moving to the middle of nowhere and falling for the grumpy small town love interest similar to It Happened One Summer. While that pretty much sums up the romantic subplot, this book is so much more than that. The Simple Wild was an emotional, poignant, heart-wrenching story that took me completely by surprise. I honestly could not tell you the last time I cried this hard reading a book.
It’s refreshing to read a hate-to-love story that actually encompasses that hate aspect. And I say that because I really, really hated the love interest, Jonah, for the good beginning of the book. It took a really long time for me to warm up to him (and to be honest there are still some aspects about him I’m not a fan of; mainly how he speaks about women who enjoy dressing up and wearing makeup), so I can easily imagine how Calla must have been feeling. The romance is slow-burn in the best sense, because it wasn’t until halfway through the book that Calla (and myself) began to change her mind about him.
I know this may be hard to believe, but the romance wasn’t even my favorite part about the book. The Simple Wild really touches on families, especially forming ties with estranged parents and the theme of regrets and forgiveness. Following Calla and Wren’s journey in learning about one another and recreating their father/daughter bond after so many years of not speaking was the best part of this story. The way their relationship was written was absolutely beautiful.
The story also places an importance on found families and community. Like Calla, I’m a city girl through and through. The thought of living someplace as remote as Bangor, Alaska makes me break out in hives. But I’ll be damned if K.A. Tucker didn’t do a phenomenal job showing a different side to small, rural towns and how tight-knit such communities are. Before reading this I was unfamiliar with Alaskan bush pilots and their roles but the author did a great job showing their importance to the remote communities and villages of Alaska.
This book simply had no reason to be this good and cause me this much emotional pain. My heart was physically aching at some parts. I was expecting a light-hearted romcom with some good angst between the protagonist and love interest, and instead I was given a book that was so much more than that. The Simple Wild was one of the best books I’ve read this year and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a beautiful story about love, families, community, and forgiveness.