Compulsion by Martina Boone
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
After her shut-in mother’s death, teen-age, Barrie Watson is free to seek out the family kept secret from her all her life. She arrives at Watson Landing and discovers a family heritage of privateers, rice plantations, and an ancient curse.
The sense of place is the first thing that takes hold of you. The visual descriptions set you into the dreamy, hot and steamy southern charm of Charleston, South Carolina. Drawing you into a compelling world of oak and cypress woods, Spanish moss, and sprawling southern plantations. Where disturbed characters, unspoken family secrets, and a dark curse hooks you. You don’t want to leave Watson Landing, yourself.
Barrie can’t believe her eyes; Watson Landing is an exact replica of the home she grew up in with her mother, Lula, in San Francisco. Except for the shutters that hung drunkenly on the windows, in fact, the entire mansion is falling into ruin. Oddly, the lush, manicured gardens surrounding the house are not. Barrie can sense something. She feels the Watson gift communicating through her. Barrie wonders what she’s gotten herself into coming her.
We meet Aunt Pru, Lula’s twin, sitting on the steps of Watson Landing as if lost. There’s a deep sadness shadowing Pru. A deep-seated feeling of neglect tugs at you: the aging beauty that is Watson Landing, the fading, neglected beauty of Aunt Pru, all with their secrets. One of those secrets, Barry immediately finds out, has to do with her aunt’s neighbor, Seven Beaufort. When she shakes his son, Eight Beaufort’s hand, something inside her clicks, the air clears. As if this new world is opening up to her and every secret has its time. Every character has a story.
Marc's an interesting character. You’ll like Marc. At first, I didn’t know who or what his part was, until the story blossomed. I found him real, and endearing. He’s the only support Barrie has had through life, until now. I won’t go on too much, because there is a bit of lead in with him and the events, and I’d rather you get the full pleasure of the build up.
I didn’t want to put this book down. Every time I had to do something, I carried it with me. There’s so much sadness, but there’s hope, and there’s family, and feuds, all rolled into a new world for Barrie Watson. If you love being swept away in gothic charm, you will be lulled into Compulsion. One of my favorite scenes has to do with fire, and ghosts, and an ancient curse. It’s a stunning visual scene. I still see it. It’s breathtaking.
This is the first book in Martina’s YA Southern Gothic trilogy, The Heirs of Watson Island, will be available from Simon Pulse Fall 2014. Recommended for readers 14 and up. Martina Boone tells me Pru (my favorite character) comes into her own in the second book. I can’t wait to read it!
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