by Martina Boone
Series: Heirs of Watson Island #1
Published by: Tantor
Narrator: Joell A. Jacob
Length: 11 hours and 29 minutes
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
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.
Compulsion by Martina Boone is the first in her Southern Gothic series The Heirs of Watson Island. I was delighted to have the opportunity to review the audio version narrated by Joell A. Jacob. I quickly became swept up in the families, characters and secrets of Watson Island.
Five reasons to grab your earbuds and listen to Compulsion
- The Set Up –A long time ago, three families after making their fortunes came to South Carolina seeking land. They were each granted a parcel on Watson Island. However, the men awakened magic on the land. It resulted in two of the families, the Beaufort’s and Watson’s receiving abilities. The third family the Colesworth’s inherited a cursed. These gifts/curses are passed down from generation to generations. The family’s history, pirates, voodoo and the present day story of Barrie and those on the island was fascinating.
- The Writing- Boone delivers a beautifully written Gothic Southern novel. She paints a picture of the island, its history and the characters who live there. Our story revolves around protagonist Barrie Watson. Barrie is seventeen and upon her mother’s death, she discovers she has family on Watson Island. Leaving her dying Uncle behind in San Francisco, she goes to live with her Aunt Pru. Here she learns about her family history and the ancient spirit who cursed them all long ago. The world is magical, eerie and the gifts are not exactly gifts but compulsions that will not be denied. It was riveting.
- Characters- Despite the rich details, the story itself is more character driven and Boone created delightfully fleshed out, quirky characters. Aunt Pru seems eccentric, but as we learn about her, we see what the island has done. Our protagonist Barrie is curious and tentative. Now free from her mother’s control she is determined to experience life. She wants to explore the island and unravel its secrets. Barrie is spirited and at times fearless. A young man named Eight acts as a guide for Barrie and their relationship develops into something deeper. Cassie, Barrie’s cousin fiends friendship and we soon learn she wants more from Barrie. The three families are intertwined from the beginning in scandal, drama, romance and feuds. Boone gave us all the scandalous details and I was drawn to it like a bee to nectar.
- Mystery- The overall mystery and suspense was presented to the reader with an unhurried pace with different storylines weaving slowly together. Ghosts, strange figures, unexplained happenings, strange pulls calling the characters to act all had me wanting to stay on Watson Island and uncover its secrets. The thread regarding a fire carrier was one of my favorites. The story should be read/listened to at a leisurely pace. Allowing reader to absorb every detail. Boone builds the story on little tid-bits creating ah-ha moments for the reader. I love how she allows the reader to make connects and discover things for themselves.
- Romance- The romance was wonderfully done. It reminded me of summer from the sun on my skin to the smell of cut grass. Boone allowed it to develop from friendship, drawing it out with tender moments and laughter. It felt realistic and I basked in it. I loved that this young adult novel didn’t succumb to the usual romantic tropes.
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Compulsion and look forward to going back to Watson Island. Jacob did an excellent job narrating from the characters to capturing the atmospheric vibe of the story. I look forward to continuing this series on audio.
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