“I need you in my life like I need to fly. Like I need this Alaskan air. More than I need this air.”
Oh man, this series. These characters. This writing. This author.
Gushinggggg but it’s so good.
This sequel didn’t quite contain the magic that the first book did for me, but it was very well done, nonetheless. I really appreciate what the author did with the story and how she handled the continuation. 4.25 stars if we wanna be precise 😉.
I was juuuust a little apprehensive going into this book, because I loved The Simple Wild so much. I didn’t want anything to taint my experience of reading that first novel or cause me to dislike any of the characters. A risk you must take with any sort of sequels to stories like. I didn’t know what to expect! And I was nervous, based on the back description and on my own assumptions, that there would be some sort of love triangle kind of thing or something equally as awful. And while there was a hint of something like that (technically), I should have trusted that K.A. Tucker was too smart and too good of an author to just play into that crappy trope. She is great. Everything was handled so perfectly and authentically. I was truly pleasantly surprised.
This book begins pretty much immediately after the first one ends. We watch as Calla and Jonah agree to live together in Alaska, both compromising in some way for each other to be happy in a new home. The plotting is quite fast at first, a whirlwind of moving and months/time passing. But then it settles down, much like Calla does, into a lulling rhythm. After they move into their new home in a small Alaskan city, bigger than where her dad lived, but not by much, Calla kind of loses sense of her purpose. While Jonah is out flying planes and loving every minute of it, she is finding it hard to acclimate.
I thought Calla’s struggles were very valid and realistic. At times she came across as a little bit annoying, entitled, or needy, but I was just thinking that holy crap, if I had just dropped my entire life to follow a man to the remote wilderness and was left alone all the time, I would be too! She is never out of character from how she was introduced to us in the first book, so Tucker did a nice job exploring more of her personality and how she would handle different situations. Jonah was also very in character still and they were just as much fin to read about as they were in The Simple Wild. While there wasn’t that initial spark of them getting together (which, let’s be real, will always be better than any sequels), the other side of that was equally as interesting. I enjoyed the romantic, domestic nature of this book. I was actually surprised how much I did enjoy it and how much substance it actually had. I thought it would be a rather shallow, fluffy, surface level installment like most romance sequels I have read are. With some unnecessary drama thrown in to mock up a plot. Not here! This was a solid, fully crafted book in its own right.
Aside from the central relationship between Calla and Jonah, we watch Calla grow into new relationships as well, much like we did in the first book. While she is struggling to be happy and thrive in her new environment, she meets many people who either encourage her or challenge her. I loved the subplot revolving around their neighbor and his mysterious animosity toward everyone. It was a subtle nod toward her father being gone with a subversion of your expectations, so it was never predictable. Tucker didn’t take the easy way out with that one and I appreciated her grey morality there.
Most of this book, I loved, but there were a couple things I wasn’t the most fond of. Mostly, I didn’t enjoy the tiny hint of a love triangle (shocker, I know). I found it a bit weird that Marie went from being an acquaintance who had a crush on Jonah forever to his best friend and only confidant? That was odd and seemed like a continuity error, honestly. And I can’t stand when guys think it is ok to complain about their relationship/wife/girlfriend to another woman, who they know is into them. It is basically giving them the green light to pursue you, because clearly you are so unhappy. Of course they’d take it as a hint and in my experience, it usually is a hint. That’s the first step to cheating, my dudes. No bueno. I know it was smoothed over in the end, but that still rubbed me the wrong way, because hell yeah Calla had every right to call out Marie and tell her to back off. She had every right to be upset by that and her feelings should have been validated, instead of being shamed.
I wasn’t really complaining, but I did notice that whenever Calla wanted to talk or they were arguing in this book, Jonah would eventually silence her or end the conversation with sex…just a little suspicious. I also didn’t love that Jonah got hurt again at the end, as that seemed a little repetitive, and I kind of feel like Calla should have been given a bigger epiphany/purpose in the end. Yeah, the cabin restoration is cool, but she was searching for a new life purpose out there. That just seems a little temporary and small-scale. I just don’t want to think that she really did give up her way of life, family, friends, home and everythinggggg for a guy and then it was more worth it for him than her in the end. I’ll just tell myself I’m wrong though, because I do love these characters a lot!
Overall, this sequel was a very happy surprise for me and it is definitely worth the read! All of the wit, charm, sexiness, and fantastic writing of the first book is here again. Tucker can write with such care about things like family and loss and love, and also be very lighthearted at the same time, There is also a novella coming out this December that revisits the two, which I am very excited for.
What did you guys think?
Happy reading, friends!