Robert’s Rules is J. F. Riordan’s third book in her award-winning North of the Tension Line series. In 2022, I read North of the Tension Line and The Audacity of Goats, the first two books in the series. [Click on blue titles to read my reviews.] The fourth book in the series, A Small Earnest Question, waits for me on my bookshelf. And Throwing Bears for George, the fifth book, is due to be released in April 2024.
Like a gourmet chocolate bar, which I eat square by square over the course of a week, I have rationed Riordan’s books, reading one then waiting several months before reading another one. Even though I’m pacing myself, I hope Riordan will write a sixth book.
I’m almost halfway through Robert’s Rules, and it’s as wonderful as the first two books. My favorite kind-hearted, charming characters (and a couple of not-so-favorite, mean-as-snapping-turtle characters) are back. Some characters from the previous books have expanded roles, and a new character, Oliver Robert, an accountant from Milwaukee, has come to Washington Island to be Fiona’s assistant. I wonder if Oliver’s going to be an asset or a liability.
Fiona, the newly elected town chairman, faces budget shortfalls at a time when the Island’s harbor needs dredging and the fire department needs money for equipment and staffing. Fire Chief Gil, concerned about safety, threatens to resign if his budget isn’t increased. In the middle of the Island’s financial woes, Fiona and her boyfriend, Pete, have a falling out.
Ben is bullied at school, but won’t tell anyone. Ben’s father, Pali believes he should move his family to the mainland so Ben can learn the ways of the world beyond Washington Island, even though they all love life on the Island. Ben’s bully, Caleb, is a deeply unhappy and angry child.
Caleb’s mother, Emily, the know-it-all, busy body interferes in everyone’s business. Jim, the DNR ranger, still carries a torch for Fiona. The diabolical Stella has gotten over her embarrassment after losing the election to Fiona and has begun a Twitter campaign of innuendo to sabotage Fiona. Roger still enjoys yoga and his coffeehouse Ground Zero, but he needs to find a way to discourage all the yoga tourists who come to practice at his coffeehouse.
And mysteriously woven throughout the stories of Riordan’s characters, is the chilling voice of a new person whose identity hasn’t been revealed yet. However, we learn in the prologue that the character is fascinated by fire.
So far Robert’s Rules has all the interesting characters, masterful storytelling, and beautiful prose found in Riordan’s first two books of the series.
[I’m forever grateful to Honest Dog Books of Bayfield, Wisconsin, for hosting J. F. Riordan on a Zoom presentation during COVID. And I’m forever thankful that in my need to be connected to writers during COVID, I tuned into Zoom talks to hear many fine authors talk about their amazing books, many of which I bought, read, and enjoyed!]
A good review on a good read makes for an eager reader to read it.
( Say this 3 times fast!) Thanks, Vickie. I take your recommendations seriously.
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