Title: Something Wilder
Author: Christina Lauren
Publication date: May 17th, 2022
Growing up the daughter of notorious treasure hunter and absentee father Duke Wilder left Lily without much patience for the profession… or much money in the bank. But Lily is nothing if not resourceful, and now uses Duke’s coveted hand-drawn maps to guide tourists on fake treasure hunts through the red rock canyons of Utah. It pays the bills but doesn’t leave enough to fulfill her dream of buying back the beloved ranch her father sold years ago, and definitely not enough to deal with the sight of the man she once loved walking back into her life with a motley crew of friends ready to hit the trails. Frankly, Lily would like to take him out into the wilderness—and leave him there.
Leo Grady knew mirages were a thing in the desert, but they’d barely left civilization when the silhouette of his greatest regret comes into focus in the flickering light of the campfire. Ready to leave the past behind him, Leo wants nothing more than to reconnect with his first and only love. Unfortunately, Lily Wilder is all business, drawing a clear line in the sand: it’s never going to happen.
But when the trip goes horribly and hilariously wrong, the group wonders if maybe the legend of the hidden treasure wasn’t a gimmick after all. There’s a chance to right the wrongs—of Duke’s past and their own—but only if Leo and Lily can confront their history and work together. Alone under the stars in the isolated and dangerous mazes of the Canyonlands, Leo and Lily must decide whether they’ll risk their lives and hearts on the adventure of a lifetime.
I have read most of Christina Lauren’s backlist and Something Wilder is a very different book than their normal – this is not a negative statement, just factual. Something Wilder has the romantic plot line you would expect but adds in a dash of adventure, murder mystery, and treasure hunt to the romance.
Lily grew up learning about the canyons of Utah and the treasure supposedly hidden there on her daddy’s knee. He spent all of his time and money working on finding the treasure, to the detriment of Lily. Leo came along when Lily was young and they quickly fell in love, before Leo disappeared without a word. Lily now runs a tourist trail in the canyons and who shows up besides Leo and a group of his friends? But with the group brings a hidden plot and secrets.
Like I said, I’m not used to a Christina Lauren book turning into a thrilling, modern, Western adventure. It was a bit of a shock reading it, but I think they moved well into this different sub-genre than their usual. It had the same level of romance you would have expected even if it is less of a focus due to the other plot lines. The writing is very much on par with their usual as well. I didn’t necessarily see the plot twists coming but I would say it was on par with a mystery/thriller level.
Tropes include second chance romance and only one… tent.
Thank you to Avon and Netgalley for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.
Happy reading, folks!