Compulsion by Martina Boone

Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.20759498

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. –

I lived in SC for almost twenty years – not in Charleston, although I’ve visited there many times, and this author perfectly captures the historical atmosphere, mystery, and ambiance of that beautiful city in Compulsion.  The setting was one of the biggest reasons I picked up this book in the first place – and what a thoroughly enjoyable treat it was.

This Southern Gothic novel has it all – old, intertwined Southern families and their lush plantations, hushed secrets, mysterious happenings, a touch of romance, and a healthy dose of the supernatural – everything to lure you to your favorite reading spot and then lose track of time.  Such memorable, likable, and flawed characters that are so easy to connect with – they really came alive for me.  The imagery was vivid and some of the lines so quirky and notable – “….the victory felt like a Coke left open too long.  All the fizz was gone.”

Compulsion is a YA novel and the author portrays the intense and all-encompassing feelings of that age group so well, I could easily remember the angst and moodiness when I was that age (I won’t even tell you how long ago that was).  Highly recommended.

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