City girl Calla Fletcher attempts to reconnect with her estranged father, and unwittingly finds herself torn between her desire to return to the bustle of Toronto and a budding relationship with a rugged Alaskan pilot in this masterful new romance from acclaimed author K.A. Tucker.
Calla Fletcher was two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when her father reaches out to inform her that his days are numbered, Calla knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.
She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this new subarctic environment, Jonah—the quiet, brooding, and proud Alaskan pilot who keeps her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.
Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. As time passes, she unexpectedly finds herself forming a bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago.
It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all.
This reading group guide for The Simple Wildincludes discussion questions and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. If you were to move to Bangor, Alaska, what luxury would be the hardest for you to live without?
2. Calla and Jonah both feel strongly about the benefits of their preferred living environment. What are some of the advantages of living in a city? What are some of the upsides of living in a more rural area?
3. The book’s title, The Simple Wild, is echoed in characters’ descriptions of Alaska. Discuss what you think “simple” means in this context. Why do you think the author chose this title? What is its significance in the novel?
4. Calla goes through a number of life-changing experiences, including meeting her father in person for the first time since she was a toddler, traveling around rural Alaska and seeing how people live there, her father’s illness, and meeting Jonah. How do Calla, Jonah, and Wren’s characters develop over the course of the book as a result of these experiences?
5. For Wren and Susan, their respective desires about where to live were deal breakers, despite their love for each other. What are your deal breakers? Are there things about your life that you would be unwilling to let go of if your partner or a potential partner wouldn’t or couldn’t agree to them, no matter how much you loved that person?
6. Simon serves as a voice of reason for Calla and is able to remain objective and compassionate, despite being emotionally involved both as her stepfather and as Susan’s husband. Although he doesn’t share his feelings with Calla, what do you think this story was like from his perspective?
7. As Calla gets to know her father, there is a lot of discussion of regret, both his own regrets in life and the possibility that Calla could regret not spending more time with him if he doesn’t survive his illness. Do you think Calla’s decisions helped alleviate remorse on either side, or is it in some way unavoidable for each of them to experience?
8. After Jonah’s plane crashes, Calla’s mother, Susan, tells her about the constant anxiety she had about Wren’s safety in his work as a bush pilot. Jonah plans to continue to work as a bush pilot for the rest of his life. How do you think this will affect his relationship with Calla in the future? Will Calla develop the same anxieties her mother held?
9. Ultimately, Jonah attempts to find a compromise that he and Calla will both be happy with. Do you think they will be able to make their relationship work?
Enhance Your Book Club
1. Invite your book club members to attend dressed for the Alaskan wilderness, complete with flannel and rain boots, and have someone bring jerky to snack on (though perhaps not muskrat jerky).
2. When Jonah hides Calla’s beauty products, she is forced to adjust to going out without makeup on. If you usually wear makeup, consider challenging yourself to go a week without it. Do activities you would normally wear makeup for: running errands, getting together with friends, even dressing up for a party or event. Share with your book group how the challenge made you feel. Did your awareness of it or feelings about it shift over the course of the week? Were there any times you felt more self-conscious? More confident? What were other people’s reactions to your makeup-free week?
3. Consider reading another of K.A. Tucker’s page-turning novels for your next book club meeting. For another compelling contemporary romance, your group is sure to love Until It Fades, or if you’re interested in a thrilling romantic suspense novel, you can check out Keep Her Safe. Visit K.A. Tucker’s website www.katuckerbooks.com to learn more about her and her books, or follow K.A. Tucker on Twitter @kathleenatucker, or Facebook at www.facebook.com/K.A.Tucker.Author.
K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge. She is the bestselling author of the Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series and the novels He Will Be My Ruin, Until It Fades, Keep Her Safe, and The Simple Wild. She currently resides in a quaint town outside Toronto with her husband and two beautiful girls.
"This book OWNS US. . . .This book is beautiful, y’all, and we are jealous you get to read it for the first time." —Christina Lauren, New York Times bestselling author
"Atmospheric, tender, and with feel-real characters who’ll make you laugh out loud and shed a few tears, this must-read book has it all. Cozy up and relax for the day, because you’ll want to do nothing but devour this stunning novel." —Hannah Mary McKinnon, author of The Neighbors
"This book is anything but simple. It’s got family drama, a journey of self-discovery and romance all rolled into one novel. Tucker blends these elements perfectly for a heartwarming read about a woman juggling a new relationship while trying to reconnect with her estranged father. It will make you think about your own life and the relationships you're in whether it's romantic or family." —Anna Todd, New York Times bestselling author of the After series
Praise for Keep Her Safe:
"Sexy, dark, and unnerving. Keep Her Safe is an addictive read with a tightly constructed plot woven from threads of romantic tension and unexpected twists. I caught myself holding my breath over and over."
– Kami Garcia, #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of Beautiful Creatures and author of The Lovely Reckless
"A master of steamy romance, Tucker skillfully threads Noah and Gracie's sexual tension throughout the investigation...No one is above suspicion in this taut, sizzling romantic mystery."
– Kirkus Reviews
"A heart-pounding romantic thriller...Tucker crafts a shrewd mystery that never falls flat, even as the steady, subtle romantic relationship heats up the page."
– Publishers Weekly
"A satisfying change of pace for Tucker."
Praise for Until It Fades:
“Touching and complex…Tucker unerringly hits all the high notes of romance—the spark, the emotional depth, the mental and physical struggles—while creating a couple who seem perfectly attuned even when they are in conflict.”
– Publishers Weekly, starred review
“A fantastic contemporary romance featuring dysfunction, lies, regrets and illicit transgressions. Set in a small, gossipy Pennsylvania town, with intense and intriguing plot twists and formidably engaging characters, she keeps readers on their toes. But it’s definitely her knight in shining armor and flawed heroine with trust issues, plus an impressive pint-sized costar, who rule every page of this unforgettable story.”
– RT Book Reviews
“Lovely, sexy, and well-written, with a great cast of finely-drawn characters. This is a modern-day Cinderella story that will make you hope again. I enjoyed every page.”