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23450710 I received this ebook from Edelweiss and Simon Pulse in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: 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 results. 

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.

I fell in love with Compulsion which is the first book in this series, and I’ve been eagerly anticipating the sequel. While I wasn’t quite as enchanted this time around, Persuasion is still an enjoyable read.

First let me say that this isn’t a book you can jump into without reading the first. While there is some reflection upon past events, it will not be enough to keep you from getting confused. Both books will grab your attention immediately with their southern gothic setting, dark magic, curses, voodoo, and quirky characters.

The story picks up shortly after the events of the first. Barrie, and Eight have returned to Watson Island, South Carolina after attending her godfather’s funeral. Happy to be home, Barrie soon discovers that things have changed, and that the people she’s trusted most have been keeping things from her. Anxious to bring back the safety and security she once felt, and to help her aunt to reopen the Tearoom, Barrie has to learn to trust again if she’s to protect herself and the people she cares for.

Barrie is an extremely complicated character. While I emphasize with her struggles and the losses she’s endured, she also drove me crazy at times. She comes across as being sanctimonious and hypocritical. She’s angry and bitter over the secrets that have been kept hidden from her, yet she repeatedly lies herself, especially in regards to Eight, the boy she loves. She does so, even while admitting that she knows it’s wrong. Meanwhile, Eight is trying to be as supportive and understanding as he can, but things are so one-sided that their relationship is anything but romantic. Between Barrie’s lying, and their constant bickering, I was ready to throw up my hands and call it quits a few times.

But, Martina Boone has this beautiful style of writing and that’s what kept me turning the pages. The way she describes people and places is simply exquisite, and when she blends that with historical events, well, it makes for a mesmerizing read. She also introduces some interesting concepts such as PTSD, forgiveness of someone who may not deserve it, and free will as opposed to fate. 

Barrie and Eight’s rocky romance aside, Persuasion is a compelling read filled with mystery, magic, and danger. While it answers some questions, there are plenty of new ones that arise, which leaves me looking forward to the third book, Illusion due out next year.