Title: Arctic Wild (Frozen Hearts #2)
Author: Annabeth Albert
Published: June 2019
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+
I received a copy of Arctic Wild from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
When a plane crashes in the Alaskan wilderness, the best place to land is in the arms of a younger man…
Hotshot attorney Reuben Graham has finally agreed to take a vacation, when his plane suddenly plunges into the Alaskan wilderness.
Just his luck.
But his frustrations have only begun as he finds himself stranded with the injured, and superhot, pilot, a man who’s endearingly sociable—and much too young for Reuben to be wanting him this badly.
As the sole provider for his sisters and ailing father, Tobias Kooly is devastated to learn his injuries will prevent him from working or even making it back home. So when Reuben insists on giving him a place to recover, not even Toby’s pride can make him refuse. He’s never been tempted by a silver fox before, but something about Reuben is impossible to resist.
Recuperating in Reuben’s care is the last thing Toby expected, yet the closer they become, the more incredibly right it feels, prompting workaholic Reuben to question the life he’s been living. But when the pressure Toby’s under starts closing in, both men will have to decide if there’s room in their hearts for a love they never saw coming.
You knew it was coming – here’s my review of the second book in Annabeth’s Albert’s new Frozen Hearts series.
Much like the Out of Uniform series, Arctic Wild takes place in the same ‘word’ of Arctic Sun and some of the characters from the first book have cameos in this one, which is always nice, because it grounds you into the story straight away. Where the first book death with issues around sobriety and eating disorders, Arctic Wild looks at race and age-gap relationships.
Workaholic lawyer, Reuben, finds himself conned into going on a tourist trip alone after his friends pull out last minute. Determined to prove that he can take time off (and maybe even enjoy himself a little) he finds himself travelling to Alaska to be ferried around by Toby, and enthusiastic thirty-something year old pilot who’s ever-cheerful and ingratiating personality grates on the older Reuben, until the two find themselves in a plane crash which leaves Toby with serious injuries.
I enjoyed the relationship between Reuben and Toby more than the main characters in the first book, possibly because they developed more of a friendship to begin with. Both are attracted to one another, but decide they’re not especially suited to each other and instead fall into an easy friendship over the first few days. Later on, this develops into something more as they learn more about each other but it felt more gradual and, perhaps, more natural.
I appreciated the difficulties that Toby faced with his family not understanding him being in a relationship with a much older, much more financially stable man (especially when they themselves are not in a good financial position) and their weariness over the potential problems – although that did eventually become stifling, with Toby feeling the pressure of their disapproval. Sadly, this is all too common, but it’s the realism that made the conflict in Toby and Reuben’s relationship all the more strained.
The highlight for me is Reuben’s 14 year old daughter, who pops up in the second half of the book and adds a delightful teenage perspective to her father’s relationship. She is, at times, very much the young child who desperately wants her father’s attention, but also one who’s wise enough to begin to understand the difficulties of being a grown-up. She was a wonderful addition.
Unfortunately, the pacing did feel off again, with moments of down-time that could probably have been shortened, but overall it wasn’t too bad.
I continue to enjoy the way Albert explores relationships and the conflicts that people face and look forward to the next book in the Frozen Hearts series.