Series: The Heirs of Watson Island #1
Published by Simon Pulse on October 28, 2014
Genres: Gothic, Magical Realism, YA
Source: ARC borrowed thru Around the World ARC Tours
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.
~ I’m a huge fan of southern gothic novels! Well, I love any kind of gothic novel, to be honest. I grew up reading Victoria Holt and V.C. Andrews, but I also read some baaaaaad gothic novels. I’m happy to report that Compulsion is a great read!
~ Barrie arrives at Watson’s Island as clueless as Alicia Silverstone. She knows next to nothing about her mom and dad, let alone the whole Beauforts and Watsons vs. the Colesworth thing. I like that Barrie just doesn’t accept what she’s told, although personally I would have been happy to just snuggle up with Eight on his boat and to hell with helping out her cousin thing.
~ Insta-love? Maybe a little, but not of the annoying variety. It makes perfect sense why Eight would be so intrigued with Barrie from the get go, and vice versa. I kind of love the whole intertwined family trees. But, again, I’m a V.C. Andrews fan (although in NO WAY is the Watson family tree as intertwined as the Foxworth family in the Flowers in the Attic books, it’s more like in L.M. Montgomery’s book A Tangled Web, how the Darks always marry the Penhallows, not a backwoods “my uncle is also my grandpa” kind of way).
~ Let’s talk magical realism for a moment. I love magic, especially when it’s subtle, like Barrie’s ‘compulsion’ to find things, and Eight’s gift of knowing what people want. As much as I love wands and spells, I really appreciate the simple, everyday kind of magic. I particularly love Barrie’s gift, and I have a few things around the house I’d love for her to come find for me. 😉
~ I love the house. Even when it tries to trip and kill Barrie. Only, it’s not really the house’s fault.
~ Love the history of the town- from Devil’s Oak to Resurrection Tavern. I so want to visit. Can I get a Resurrection Tavern beer stein? I like that the town and it’s residents are weird (Emma Jean, talking to about you!).
~ Okay, so a lot happens, and there’s tension between Barrie and pretty much everyone, but the ending is particularly harrowing. I kind of suspected a thing that B learns about some ancestors, but it was still shocking.
~ There is also a lot of Native American folklore mixed with some voodoo and ghostly critters inhabiting Watson’s Island. It might be the most fascinating place in all of America.
~ Blood sacrifices usually don’t end well, B, just saying.
~ Just a few things: secret rooms and scalping trees. *shiver*
~ The ending gave me Goonies flashbacks, in a very good way.
~ I don’t like to quote from arc’s but I will say that there’s a moment where Eight tells Bear that he’s interested in her because she’s interesting and unpredictable and a little bit magic, and I just swooned. Notice he didn’t say he liked her because she’s pretty and has a banging bod. Oh, Eight, thankfully you’re legal to cougar lust after.
~ Also, I love the cover. Love the colors, although it took me awhile to realize that there were two people making out on the road, but that just makes me love it more. Verra sexy!
Barrie Watson- our human metal detector (sort of) and heroine. But Eight calls her “Bear”, which I love. You know, I’m not sure why her name is Barrie. I assume it’s a nickname, but I don’t know what it’s short for. Unless Boone is just a fan of actor Barry Watson and this is just homage to him? Hmm… 😉
Lula Watson- Barrie’s mom, dead at the beginning of the book (and a lot longer for the folks of Watson Island)
Mark- Barrie’s drag queen godfather, dying of cancer, sends her off to live with her mother’s people.
Eight Beaufort- the boy who can give you your heart’s desire. <3
Pru Watson- Barrie’s aunt and new guardian.
Seven Beaufort- Eight’s dad, Pru’s ex-beau and lawyer.
Cassie Colesworth- Barrie’s cousin, a little selfish, kind of mean, but she’s got some major family issues.
Sydney Colesworth- Cassie’s little sister, not to big a role in this first book.
Wyatt Colesworth- crazy ass uncle to Barrie and dad to Cassie and Sydney
There are lots of other family members, mostly in the past, and thankfully around page 59 of the arc, there was a family tree that I could flip back to for reference. Not sure what page it’ll be on in the finished book though.
There were a lot of cool moments in this book, but I have two that made my list:
1. Cassie and her friends putting on a Gone With The Wind play in front of her family’s ruined mansion. I so want that to be a thing someone does so I can go see it!
2. The history of the how the Watsons, Beauforts, and Colesworth came to the Watson’s Island and the stories behind their gifts and curses.
Stop the Clock:
I’m sold on this series. There is a lot going on, but it’s all interesting. The book doesn’t end with a big huge question mark, but there’s still plenty to explore in the next installment, which I appreciate. Rarely and I a fan of big ol’ cliffhanger. I know on the blurb it mentions that this is a cross between Beautiful Creatures and The Body Finder, but I never read The Body Finder. I will say that I think fans of Beautiful Creatures will like this, also fans of Amber House and The Girl Who Chased the Moon, because Compulsion would sit quite nicely amongst them on your Southern Gothic shelf. Wait, you don’t have a Southern Gothic shelf? Oh, dear midnighters, it’s time to start one!
Compulsion (The Heirs of Watson Island #1) gets a Midnight Book rating of:
* I was going to just give it 4&1/2 stars, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt that a YA book that’s almost 500 pages and held my attention the entire time deserved a little extra points.