Series: Wild, #2
Published by K. A. Tucker on 18th February 2020
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Calla Fletcher returns to Toronto a different person, struggling to find direction and still very much in love with the rugged bush pilot she left behind. When Jonah arrives on her doorstep with a proposition she can’t dismiss, she takes the leap and rushes back to Alaska to begin their exciting future together.
But Calla soon learns that even the best intentions can lead to broken promises, and that compromise comes with a hefty price—a log cabin in interior rural Alaska that feels as isolating as the western tundra.
With Jonah gone more than he’s home, one neighbor who insists on transforming her into a true Alaskan, and another who seems more likely to shoot her than come to her aid, Calla grapples with forging her own path. In a world with roaming wildlife that has her constantly watching over her shoulder and harsh conditions that stretch far beyond the cold, dark, winter months, just stepping outside her front door can be daunting.
This is not the future Calla had in mind, leaving her to fear that perhaps she is doomed to follow in her mother’s fleeing footsteps after all.
I’m not quite a person who reads the story after the HEA happens usually—it’s where the hard work begins and reality begins to set in; essentially, it’s the antithesis of why I read fiction and more specifically, romantic fiction. But ‘The Simple Wild’ was the story I never knew I needed until I devoured it hook, line and sinker, and delving into ‘Wild at Heart’ was a conscious step into reading about the obstacles that you know would come after Calla’s big move to Alaska to be with Jonah, that is, past the point where the tinsel dust finally settles down.
Character growth however, is hard work, and hard reading. Past the first book, this is where we hit pay-dirt. The issues surrounding Calla’s acclimatisation are predictable nonetheless and written solely in her POV, I’ll be the first to admit that it’s hard to like Calla, period. She’s a protagonist who’s at once annoying, spoilt, difficult, vindictive and insecure, but also oddly compassionate and prepared to go the extra mile if she can convince herself to step out of her comfort zone, which in this book, is one that’s explored.
But K.A. Tucker has a way of writing that makes me wonder if I’d be behaving exactly the same way if I were in her shoes—and walking in urban boots that would never quite fit the vibe and the life of the Alaskans while fending off idiotic neighbours, a rival love interest and navigating the waters with an oblivious partner who’s trying so hard in his own way to make things work.
In short, I wasn’t as chuffed by ‘Wild At Heart’ as I was with ‘The Simple Wild’, but then, this is leery ol’ me being wary of stories that continue after the couple in question ride off happily into their sunset. The build-up, the off-the-charts chemistry, the excitement of the first flush are typically my catnip, so the evolution as Calla/Jonah as a couple while rewarding, still meant that that romance took a slight back seat here as they find that love is as much compromise as it is passion…now tempered slightly to a muted flare with some sparks leftover. That said, this is not a hard read in any case, and kudos to Tucker for bravely tackling the thorny bits that emerge from the roses once a huge lifestyle change is effected.