Series: The Heirs of Watson Island #1
Published by Simon Pulse
Publication Date: October 28th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.
All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead--a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.
Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.
“But there was a difference between being stuck and choosing to stay. Between being found and finding yourself.”
Compulsion is an interesting start to a new series set around family secrets, a creepy yet charming plantation, ghosts, and of course magic. I’ve been craving a book with Southern Gothic charm ever since I read the adult novel, The Witch of Belladonna Bay by Suzanne Palmieri. There is something that intrigues me about stories set in the South, especially those paired with a good fantasy element so I was really excited about this one. While I really enjoyed the writing and imagery of Ms. Boone’s novel, I was mostly underwhelmed when it came to the plot and the romance.
“Her hands crept around his neck, tangling in his hair to keep him closer, even though she knew that beautiful boys with expiration dates couldn’t be held, only borrowed for a time.”
This story centers around three families; The Watsons’, The Beauforts’ and the Colseworths’. All three families are each charmed with magical gifts that have been passed down for centuries. While the Watsons’ and the Beauforts’ have prospered, the Colseworths’ have floundered from generation to generation. All of this history and myth is new for Barrie Watson, having just moved to the island and into the plantation with her aunt Pru. The relationship with Pru and Barrie is a little strained. Having just met for the first time, Pru comes off as really bizarre and somewhat flighty. Thankful she has Eight Beaufort around to help fill her in on their families history. They start a friendship that (obviously) progresses into a romance, but this is where I was left feeling a little meh. The circumstances surrounding their magical gifts feels like a forceful way to push a relationship between them. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy their interactions but it just didn’t feel natural.
“We’ve lost a lot of years, but you can’t lose love. Not real love. It stays locked inside you, ready for whenever you are strong enough to find it again”
Compulsion is a hard book for me to rate. While I found myself enjoying the writing, the concept, and the connections between the characters, I think this is just one of those books that I was trying to convince myself I liked it more than I actually did. My feelings might have something to do with the fact that I set this aside when I was 70% in to read another book that caught my eye, and then proceeded to forget about it for the next two weeks. I have to be honest, I’ve never done that. Usually if I set a book aside it’s because I don’t plan to finish. With Compulsion I felt it necessary to finish, but it wasn’t out of strong feelings to do so. It was more or less because I was bothered that I didn’t love it and was hoping that something would sway me to feel something. Will I read the next installment? I really don’t know.