Grieving the death of her godfather and haunted by her cousin Cassie’s betrayal, Barrie returns from a trip to San Francisco to find the Watson plantation under siege. Ghost-hunters hope to glimpse the ancient spirit who sets the river on fire each night, and reporters chase rumors of a stolen shipment of Civil War gold that may be hidden at Colesworth Place. The chaos turns dangerous as Cassie hires a team of archeologists to excavate beneath the mansion ruins. Because more is buried there than treasure.
A stranger filled with magic arrives at Watson’s Landing claiming that the key to the Watson and Beaufort gifts—and the Colesworth curse—also lies beneath the mansion. With a mix of threats and promises, the man convinces Barrie and Cassie to cast a spell there at midnight. But what he conjures may have deadly consequences.
While Barrie struggles to make sense of the escalating peril and her growing and forbidden feelings for Eight Beaufort, it’s impossible to know whom to trust and what to fight for—Eight or herself. Millions of dollars and the fate of the founding families is at stake. Now Barrie must choose between what she feels deep in her heart and what will keep Watson’s Landing safe in this stunning addition to a series filled with “decadent settings, mysterious magic, and family histories rife with debauchery” (Kirkus Reviews, on Compulsion).
I want to thank Simon Pulse for providing me with a copy of this book to read and give an honest review. Receiving this book for free has in no way altered my opinion or review.
If you have not read the first book in this series, then you may find spoilers for that book in this review.
I will say that I found the first book in this series to be a very slow burn. I liked it, but it felt like it took a long time to get where it was going. But because I really enjoyed the writing, I pushed myself to keep going and I was glad I did. I really found it to pick up towards to end.
So I wasn't sure what to expect with this one. The world had already been built and I was hoping it would give me more action than the last, and I wasn't disappointed. This book starts off with a bang. Since I already understood the world and the magic that was at play, it was easy to slip back into life on Watson's Island.
I love how Boone has worked the magic in between Barrie and Eight. How Barrie is unsure of Eight's intentions: does he want her because he truly wants her, or is their magic at play. It's a fine line, and one that Barrie struggles with throughout the book. Because of the struggle, she keeps so much from Eight, as she did in the first book. Hoping beyond hope that keeping secrets from him will actually keep him safe. But each time he finds out she has kept a secret, it pushes him further and further away until she's not sure if Eight will continue to forgive her.
Beyond the romance in this book, there is more mystery, as there was in the first. We meet new characters, like Obadiah who is full of magic and really hard to figure out and Berg, who I am sure is not quite what he actually seems to be. I liked him a lot and would love to see a bit more of him in book #3.. And we see more and more of the characters we were introduced to in the first book, like Pru and Mary and Seven.
I will say that Barrie really got to me at times. Despite how many times she would say she knew keeping her secrets from everyone was not really helping her, she still chose to do it. It was almost as if it was impossible for her to not hold things back from people. To say she possibly has some trust issues is putting it lightly. Of course having had Lula as a mother wasn't much help (since she kept secrets from Barrie her whole life). And Mark has passed, leaving Barrie without those she known all her life. To put her trust in people she has just met comes very hard for her. But she does open up.
And Barrie is very forgiving of those around her. Especially her cousin, who really seems to always be out for herself. Barrie allows herself to be vulnerable around Cassie, to the point that she always gets hurt by her.
So many twists and turns reveal themselves in this book. The story is fascinating to watch as it unfolds. So many secrets that keep each of the characters tied to the land around them, and to each other. And I love how Boone really makes you fee like you are in the South. I'm looking forward to the next book in this series!
If you like romance steeped in mystery, mayhem, Spanish moss, and a bit of magic, she hopes you'll look forward to meeting Barrie, Eight, Cassie, Pru, Seven and the other characters of Watson Island.