North of the Tension Line

North of the Tension Line

by J.F. Riordan

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Fiona Campbell is a newcomer to tiny Ephraim, Wisconsin. Populated with artists and summer tourists, Ephraim has just enough going on to satisfy her city tastes. But she is fascinated and repelled by the furthest tip of Door County peninsula, Washington Island, utterly removed from the hubbub of modern life. Fiona's visits there leave her refreshed in spirit, but convinced that only lunatics and hermits could survive a winter in its frigid isolation.   In a moment of weakness, Fiona is goaded into accepting a dare that she cannot survive the winter on the island in a decrepit, old house. Armed with some very fine single malt scotch and a copy of Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, Fiona sets out to win the dare, and discovers that small town life is not nearly as dull as she had foreseen. Abandoning the things she has always thought important, she encounters the vicious politics of small town life, a ruthless neighbor, persistent animals, a haunted ferry captain, and the peculiar spiritual renewal of life north of the tension line.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780825306679
Publisher: Beaufort Books, Incorporated
Publication date: 09/05/2014
Series: North of the Tension Line , #1
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 350
Sales rank: 94,900
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

J.F. Riordan was born in New Jersey and first moved to Michigan, then Wisconsin as a child. At the age of 14 she decided to become an opera singer, and was fortunate in the aftermath to have been able to sing. At 16, after two years of high school, she went to the University of New Mexico to study voice, continued her music studies in Chicago and Milwaukee, and ultimately became a professional singer. Homesick after years of travel, she came home to the Midwest, finished her college degree, and became certified to teach high school. She taught for three years in the inner city before taking a position as a program officer for a foundation. She lives in exile from Washington Island with her husband and two dogs. North of the Tension Line is her first novel.

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North of the Tension Line 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the characters, overall great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very good read.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Lorelai Rivers for Readers' Favorite North of the Tension Line by J.F. Riordan is true to its title, meandering through a year in a small community after city gal Fiona buys a ramshackle cottage on the remote side of the ferry -- just to prove that she can survive island living. Her successful art gallery friend Elizabeth is supportive in every way, after trying to talk her out of it first, of course. Fiona's furry housemates (not always wanted) insert their own thoughts on occasion and provide wry humor and some of the best interactions in the book. With two gently budding romances, a cranky neighbor, town meetings, and an embarrassing rumor, J.F. Riordan delivers a cross between Pride and Prejudice and Gilmore Girls.  If you're looking for loud action, high anxiety, or a torrid love triangle, this book will not be for you. But if you want to curl up on a snowy day with a cup of coffee and a glass of scotch, slow down time, and be put in mind of breezy seasons in the country and the simpler concerns of life, then North of the Tension Line may be just where you need to go. After reading this book, I have three thoughts: 1) I'm tempted to do some painting and house repairs but will be sure to put on mascara first. 2) There could be a spin-off to the book with only the animals, starting with "Robert and Rocco and the Mystery of the Crunch in the Wall." 3) I desperately wish that someday someone will gift me a goat.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A most  enjoyable read, full of interesting characters, romantic settings beautiful detailed, and a smart lead in Fiona Campbell, the book was such fun to read and I look forward to the next one from this author.  living on an island, through a rough winter season, dealing with locals, and the exploration of the us -and-them mentality that sometimes prevades small town tourist spots, are scrutinized in a kind and  objective voice.  I  became aware as Fiona did, of the dynamics of the geography and how it can develop such a strong role in our personal lives. J.F. Riordan introduces the whimsy that is often lacking in many novels  these days, a talking goat, a haunted pilots cabin, and aa somewhat quirky  businessman, I would happily recommend this book.
Mark47 More than 1 year ago
I once read that a good book or movie takes you to a new place. It provides an experience that you would not have otherwise have had. J.F Riordan, in her first novel North of Tension Line, takes her readers to a new place. I am no geographer, but I recognize the importance of place. Riordan is very good at describing a place that tourists visit but few people understand. Riordan provides rich descriptions of Door County, a beautiful peninsula in northeastern Wisconsin wedged between the shores of Lake Michigan and Green Bay. But, much of the story takes place on Washington Island, a minimally inhabited island north of the peninsula, Her words allow you to visualize the place - - beaches, plants, water, coast, insects, and shops in wonderful detail. But the descriptions of the place are just the appetizers. The main course is the adventures of her characters. It is her depiction of the people who occupy the place that keeps you turning the pages. The main story revolves around the unlikely scenario that Fiona, in a moment of questionable judgment, accepts a “dare” to spend the winter alone in an old home on Washington Island. This would be a daunting challenge to anyone who knows Wisconsin winters. And, it is all the more daunting given the isolation of Washington Island. But, it turns out to be an adventure of fulfillment and character building involving Fiona’s cast of characters - - Elisabeth, Roger, Champagne Man, Rocco, Robert and Stella who all add considerable spice and suspense to the story. There’s more. Riordan provides deep insights into life in this small town. She notes how life is scary, satisfying, exciting, liberating, frustrating, deceitful, and stifling - - all at the same time. Her views of the folks who reside in this little hamlet are all too human and ring true. The story has many twists and turns. While mostly serious and filled with important thoughts about how we live our lives, there are many moments of fun and humor. I mean, how can you miss the opportunity to learn what Rocco has on his mind, and meet a couple of ghosts and a talking goat to boot. I ordinarily read a book over few days as time permits. Not this time. I literally could not put it down. So, my advice to readers is to start with North of the Tension Line then let’s all hope that Ms. Riordan soon producers another. That, however, is hard for me to imagine because I think she poured her whole soul into the writing of this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVE this book. It's a really fun read but not an insult to your intelligence. When I finished the book, I missed Fiona and her cast of friends. I hope there is a sequel because I cannot wait to read more of Fiona's adventures in life.
mbsam More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book, and could not put it down. Finished it in one day. Wonderful stuff. Set in Washington Island, Wisconsin, the book is novel about friendship, and life in a small community, and how a woman can make a life for herself. And there's a goat. What more could you possibly want? I highly recommend this book!