Monday, February 9, 2015

Compulsion by Martina Boone (Heirs of Watson Island book 1)

"Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse."

Barrie's Aunt Pru is three hours late to pick her up from the airport. Her mother, Lula, died a week ago and Pru is her only living relative. They haven't met before today and ddidn'tknow about each other until seven days ago. Giving up, Barrie takes a cab to Watson's Island, an hour away, to arrive at her new home. Pulling up to the plantation house that has been in the Watson family continuously since 1692, Barrie is shocked to see Pru sitting on the steps. Pru is her mother's twin and she didn't realize that three hours have passed since she sat down. The cabbie asks Barrie if she wants to stay. Having the Watson gift of finding things, Barrie tells him that she is where she needs to be.

Inside, Aunt Pru grabs one of Barrie's suitcases and starts climbing the staircase. Barrie takes the other and follows. Half way up, Barrie wonders if she should worry that Pru is gasping for air but she herself needs to take a rest. Suddenly the doorbell rings and Aunt Pru panics. She knows that it is Seven because he was bringing Eight over to introduce him to Barrie. Seven cannot know that she didn't make it to the airport. He is the lawyer who worked with Lula’s to make the arrangements for Barrie. Tears begin to stream down her face. She asks Barrie to answer the door and to see if Seven to come back after dinner. Tell him that Pru has some baking to do for the tearoom and that she will make him a chocolate whoopie pie cake for dessert. The doorbell keeps ringing. Barrie says that she will cover for her and her aunt heads up the stairs to hide. Barrie walks to the door to find the Beauforts waiting. The older man introduces himself as Charles Beaufort, Seven as he is known and Eight, his son. Shaking hands with Seven, she reaches for Eight before looking. Glancing up, Eight is grinning down at her. The grin disappears as they shake hands. Barrie has a reaction to Eight, like she has when she finds something, that she not sure if he felt it too. Seven wanted to take them to dinner but for whoopie pie cake, they will be back later that evening.

Back inside, Barrie looks at Pru and is taken back. She imagines this is how her mother would look had it not been for the scars. Barrie wonders why her mother left home to live in San Francisco and stayed after the fire that killed her husband. She also questions why she let everyone on Watson's Island believe that she was dead instead of horribly burned with a newborn baby she couldn't care for. Barrie hopes to find the answers to her questions here and her aunt looks like she needs someone to help her. At the top of the stairs, the house divides into two wings. Barrie feels a sense of loss towards the left but Aunt Pru heads to the right. When Barrie asks what is in the other wing, she answers that it is in disrepair and dangerous. She has enough rooms to clean as it is. At the far end of the hallway, Pru takes her to a bedroom with a balcony overlooking the river. Pru wipes away the tears as she tells Barrie that her mother loved to look at the river. Pru apologizes for the tears but Barrie knows that it must be difficult for her to discover the truth about her sister after years of lies. She leaves and Barrie sees Seven and Eight get in a boat at the dock to go back across the river to Beaufort Hall. She watches them land at their dock and a dog comes to greet them. Eight begins to play with the dog as Barrie stares from the window. He pulls his shirt off and Barrie’s mouth drops. Eight looks up as if sensing her staring at him. He and the dog jump in the river. Barrie has noticed that Eight is more like a nine.

Barrie calls her friend Mark back in San Francisco. He is unable to be Barrie’s guardian because he is dying from pancreatic cancer. She tells him that she is going to be alright but has decided against selling her mother’s things at auction. She asks Mark to ship them to Watson’s Landing. He will be happy as long as he knows that she is happy. After she finishes unpacking, Barrie heads downstairs to join her aunt for dinner. Setting the table, she is shocked to see that her mother used the same dinnerware as Pru, only Lula’s was in much better condition. Barrie realizes that she could help her aunt out by replacing her broken and worn things with what her mother had. She only hopes that Pru won’t be upset. Over dinner, Barrie offers to help Pru around the plantation. Pru politely declines, saying that she needs to settle in before school starts. The conversation then turns to Lula. The girls weren’t identical twins and Barrie realizes that Pru doesn’t know about her mother’s scars. Barrie didn’t bring any pictures with her and Pru’s father threw away every photo that Lula in it when she left. Pru notices that it is eight o’clock. She hasn’t made the cake yet and rushes off to the freezer to find something else. She knows that Seven is always early. Barrie starts washing the dishes and Pru comes back with tears in her eyes. She tells Barrie to relax but then asks about how Lula died and if she suffered. Barrie asks her what the lawyer told her about the devastating fire and Lula’s injuries. Pru didn’t know and drops a plate. She falls to the floor and cuts her knees. She pulls Barrie down and starts to cry on her shoulder. Standing at the kitchen door, Seven tells Barrie that he will take care of Pru. He asks Pru what in the world she is doing. Eight tells Barrie hello but her tongue is tied when she tries to return the  greeting. Seven tells Eight where the first aid kit is in the pantry and Eight goes to get it. Seven and Pru begin arguing and Barrie wishes she could disappear. Eight tells Barrie he will show her the path to the river. She doesn’t move. In case she hasn’t picked up on it, that’s their cue to leave.

Outside, Eight pulls Barrie down against the wall to eavesdrop. Touching, Barrie gets the not-lost feeling again and wonders if Eight noticed it that time. He tells her to be quiet and makes a comment that reminds her of home. Upset, she rushes away as Eight tries to apologize. Wishing she were back home and not dropped into a strange new life, she heads towards the woods. Eight catches up and walks backwards in front of her. He apologizes but Barrie also sees that he is confused. He realizes that she is still in shock and tells her about when his mother died. He holds her as she realizes how angry she is at her mother. Breaking apart, Eight wants to find how his father and Pru know each other so well if they hadn’t talked in years. Pru hasn’t left the house in years, just like her father. Eight fills in Barrie on the history of their two families. She heads towards the woods but Eight stops her and tells a very unconvincing lie about why she shouldn’t go there. Turning to head back to the house, a boat catches their attention. Looking up the river, Barrie sees the ruin of a plantation and asks Eight about it. It's Colesworth Place. Eight realizes that she didn't know her father was also from Watson's Landing. Her uncle Wyatt is trying to rebuild the house Sherman burned on his through march through the South. Lula always said that she hoped her father burned in hell. He was a cocky, deceitful man and Barrie should not fall in love with that type of man. Eight really doesn't want to go any further into details but does say that she has two cousins whom she will go to school with. Needless to say, it's a feud amongst the Colesworths and everyone else in town. Seven believes that Wyatt is after any money Lula might have had.

How come Pru didn’t come to the airport? Why did Barrie’s mother run off? What was the reason no one on Watson’s Island knew that she had survived the fire? How come her parents ran off and the love affair ended? Why does Barrie have the ability to find lost things? How come the house is calling to Barrie? What is the connection she feels with Eight? What is going on between Pru and Seven? What secrets does Watson’s Island keep hidden? What is the real reason the Colesworths’ are interested in Barrie? What happened between the families? Can Barrie and Eight fight their attraction to one another?

Book two in the Heirs of Watson Island, Persuasion, is due out in 2015.

Visit Martina Boone’s website.

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