What if you lived your whole life in complete ignorance of your extended family? When Barrie Watson's mother dies and her godfather can no longer care for her, the teen learns not only that she's the ultimate heir to a family plantation, located clear across the country on a South Carolina island, but that her mother has a living twin sister. What else will Barrie discover after she settles in to her new home in the east?
The heat that crept into the airport baggage area whenever the door opened should have told Barrie Watson that she had arrived in hell. But it wasn't the Charleston weather, or the fact that her mother's sister, who she'd never even heard of before the funeral, was three hours late picking her up. Neither of those things kept Barrie's butt glued on top of her suitcase and her eyes on the door.—Compulsion by Martina Boone (Simon & Schuster / Simon Pulse, 2014, p. 1)
It was hope that kept her stuck, that stole her breath and made her eyes smart every time some likely looking woman rushed in and scanned the nearly empty area around the luggage carousels. Barrie hated hope. Too often, it was a Go Directly to Jail card that led to disappointment.
- Setting: Watson Island, South Carolina; modern times
- Circumstances: When Barrie's mother dies, she moves in with her aunt on the family plantation and learns that the Watsons are entangled in a three-hundred-year-old history with the other two main families on the island. That history, Barrie soon realizes, involves blessings, curses, secrets, and perhaps a little witchcraft.
- Characters: Barrie Watson, who has the gift of finding things; Charles (Eight) Beaufort, who has the gift of knowing what people want; Cassie Colesworth who is cursed with never getting what she wants; the teens' relatives and others on the island
- Genre and audience: Southern Gothic, contemporary fiction; cross-over young adult to adult
- Themes & story elements: curses, family feuds and secrets, murder, revenge, Native American spirits, folk lore, pirates, voodoo, love, loss, loneliness, trust, family, friendship, death
- Character development & plot: This was a slow start but is now picking up speed; Barrie is smart, somewhat impulsive, and knows how to stand up for herself; the romance aspect was predictable and a bit quick but is believable enough; Eight (not crazy about the nickname) has a few flaws to keep him real; Cassie's true self is easy to spot (though apparently not to Barrie).
- Things I like so far: The strong Gothic elements; the unearthing of family secrets (and maybe treasure) drew me in and is keeping me there; I like the adults in Barrie's life (Aunt Pru and godfather Mark)
- Recommendations: For fans of Southern Gothic and stories with voodoo, curses, and family secrets
- Miscellaneous: The first in the new Heirs of Watson Island series; hoping this doesn't end on a cliff-hanger