Be warned: There are spoilers below! If you haven’t read “The Simple Wild” yet by K.A. Tucker, I recommend starting there, as “Wild At Heart” picks up where the former ends. Feel free to check out my last review for a plot summary and rating!
As mentioned in my previous post, it didn’t take me long to get my hands on “Wild At Heart:” I finished “The Simple Wild” at 3:00AM on a Friday morning and before going to bed, scrolled through Amazon to see when the sequel would be available. I uncovered that the Kindle version was an inexpensive, instant buy so I downloaded the read and finally hit the hay, eager to fly through my workday and get started. (An excruciating task: Overtired, craving nothing more than a bed and a book is never a comfortable feeling.)
At “The Simple Wild’s” end, Jonah and Calla part ways, knowing that they love each other but life resumes in two very different places. Calla returns to Toronto and Jonah oversees Alaska Wild as it changes hands from Wren Fletcher’s ownership to new management. But things don’t feel quite right, both are indefinitely changed, so when Calla returns from a night out to find Jonah on her front porch, she is overcome with joy. He asks her to move to Alaska, offers that they can relocate to a more populated location, and she says “yes!”
But we spent a full novel getting to know Calla and how she was barely built for the rugged, simplistic lifestyle: How is she going to find “home” in a place, so different from her own usual backdrop? Would Jonah be enough? Is love enough? Or would history repeat itself, with Calla fleeing back to Canada, like her mother did, years before?
The book explores these questions in great detail, and although there were fewer twists and turns in “Wild At Heart,” we do get to know Calla and Jonah even further. (Which, was fine for me because I wasn’t ready to say ‘goodbye’ to them at the end of book one.) We learn about the compromises each makes, the threats and challenges that get in the way of their love, Calla’s journey of self-discovery as she makes sense of her place in this new town, and above all else, what it means to unconditionally love.
Final Score: 4 I was tempted to review the first and second novels together because “Wild at Heart” is simply a continuation of “The Simple Wild.” In my mind, you can’t have one without the other and I think that the first book was better, only because of its character depth and congruent plot lines. Reading about Wren Fletcher’s last days and Calla and Jonah’s budding romance had my heart doing somersaults the entire time; fresh tears emerged every hundred pages. This book didn’t evoke those same emotions and didn’t have that same heartbreaking undertone, but that was okay in my mind. “Wild At Heart” allowed us to expand on our knowledge of Calla and Jonah: We were able to follow one of our favorite fictional couples as they both embarked on a new adventure. And I liked that it wasn’t the same setting as most other books that I’ve read- Although love was a constant theme, small-town Alaska provided a fresh angle. Things that Calla and Jonah witnessed for the first time… it all held my interest because I myself never experienced instances of love versus…a bear… a plane crash… forest fires… A beautiful woman? Sure. Differences in culture? Yes. But some of these relationship odds were new to me. And it therefore made the pages turn quickly.
BEST FOR: Once again, I echo my previous sentiment: This book is great for “those who want an easy read without sacrificing good writing: K.A. Tucker is amazing at character arcs, smart dialogue, and strategic plot choices.” Although there is less character friction in this book, its still there, with new characters. I’d definitely recommend “The Simple Wild” first, but after that, this sequel is a must read. I mean, who can put that book down and say that they’ve had their fill of Jonah? Absolutely not.
NOT GOOD FOR: Those who haven’t read “The Simple Wild.” In my opinion, “Wild At Heart” wouldn’t do well as a standalone piece because the first book really solidifies your investment in the characters. I’ve read other opinions on Goodreads though: Some people liked it more!
IF THIS BOOK/ AUTHOR WAS A HIGH SCHOOL STEREOTYPE: I’d say that although Calla and Jonah don’t live in the “lower 48,” they could still be classified as “All American Couple.” Funny, attractive, resolute in their love for each other… I’d love to be friends with them.
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