Published by Gallery Books on May 17, 2022
Source: Audiobook, Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Romance
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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’ve enjoyed a lot of Christina Lauren’s recent releases, including The Soulmate Equation and The Unhoneymooners, so I was very keen for their newest release. I did have some reservations though when reading the synopsis because Western isn’t usually a genre that I reach for but I still highly enjoyed it. I listened to the audiobook.
The novel features a second-chance romance between Lily Wilder and Leo O’Grady. The pair met ten years before the events of this story and embarked on a whirlwind five-month romance at her family’s ranch before things fell apart. Now, Lily runs a business taking tour groups through the canyons of Utah, using notes from her treasure hunter father. The two of them have a surprise reunion when Leo’s friends sign them up for one of Lily’s tours… a tour that ends up going horribly wrong.
Something Wilder had so much more than I was expecting! There was mystery, adventure and more gore than I was expecting (which was zero, to be honest). I loved the second-chance romance trope and lapped up every single interaction that Lily and Leo had with each other. I loved the slow burn and how naturally they came back together and I’m just really sad that I have to let these characters go – the epilogue at the end was not enough to satisfy me! Having said that though, I didn’t really feel any sort of attachment to any of the other characters in the novel (especially since some of them were outright horrible).
I also really enjoyed all the adventure and mystery aspects of the book as well. I loved all the puzzles and codes (even though I didn’t get to really think about any of it deeply since I listened to the audiobook) and I enjoyed how the whole mystery of the hidden treasure unfolded. The climax and all the other thrilling bits in the novel had me on the edge of my seat and I thought it was a really captivating read from Christina Lauren.
I absolutely adored Something Wilder. It was a refreshing take on romance and I enjoyed the mystery and adventure elements a lot more than I thought I would. It’s not my favourite of Christina Lauren’s novels but I would highly recommend it still.
Rating: 4 out of 5
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