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Compulsion (Heirs of Watson Island) Hardcover – October 28, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—After the death of her mother, and her loving caretaker Mark's losing battle with cancer sends him to hospice, Barrie Watson makes her way from San Francisco to live with her Aunt Pru on her family's estate on Watson Island in South Carolina. Curious about her father, who died in a fire that led to her mother's facial scars and reclusiveness, Barrie is eager to meet relatives on both sides of her family for the first time. What she discovers is far more complicated than the open-armed reunion she'd desired. Watson Island is bound by an old curse that has kept its three founding families, the Watsons, the Beauforts, and the Colesworths, at odds with one another for years. The mysterious Fire Carrier that appears over the river outside of her window each night holds the key to some part of the curse, and the yunwi (spirits that keep watch around Watson Landing) are clearly trying to communicate something to the protagonist. She uses her gift for finding things that have been lost, with some help from dreamy Eight Beaufort, to figure out the secrets that have held her family captive. A little bit Gone with the Wind, a little bit Romeo and Juliet, along with a hearty dose of the paranormal, Boone's debut mixes a Southern gothic setting with fantasy and romance for an engrossing, albeit over-the-top mystery. Although the plot at times becomes overly complicated and the drama is of the hand-to-the-forehead fainting variety, this book will appeal to fans of paranormal and traditional romances.—Joanna Sondheim, Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, New York City
From the Author
In Boone's debut, an expansive Southern gothic tale, Barrie Watson is sent to live with her aunt Pru on Watson Island after Barrie's shut-in mother, Lula, dies and her godfather is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Barrie was born with a "finding gift" that compels her to seek what is lost or left unsettled, and amid the Beaufort and Colesworth clans--the founding families of Watson Island, along with Barrie's forebears--Barrie learns she isn't the only one with a gift. Curses plague Watson Island, ghosts haunt its mansions, evil spirits live in its woods, and a frightening "Fire Carrier" emerges at night over its waters. Together, Barrie and a handsome Beaufort boy named Eight seek justice and to right old wrongs. Though the novel is grounded in the present day, there's an old-fashioned quality to Boone's dialogue and characters; she skillfully blends rich magic and folklore with adventure, sweeping romance, and hidden treasure, all while exploring the island and its accompanying legends. An impressive start to the Heirs of Watson Island series. Ages 12-up. -- Publishers Weekly
Top customer reviews
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I have to admit I had a hard time getting into the story at first. The new girl arriving at an unknown family sounded a bit clicheish. But little by little the story crept into me and added element after element that made me want to know a bit more, and a bit more and I ended up reading the story in no time.
The romance seems well paced and the teen angst and un-decisions very well portrayed.
So eager to read the next one
I really enjoyed the story and the setting, even though if I felt as frustrated as Barrie was in the beginning, because you feel like there's so much more behind all that is presented at first and you need to know!
Barrie is a girl that might have been a bit hard to understand, given the way she was raised and what she was dealing with, a dead mother and a dying godfather that sent her to the place her mother was born and lived and where whatever is left of her blood family lives. Watson Island, and she is a Watson. She has social anxiety, and isn't used to change, so all the new people and the changes she has to face by leaving the only home she ever know are extremely hard on her.
There are so many unknowns for her, about her family history, the history of the small town and of the three families that were the founders of the town, the Watsons, the Beauforts and the Colesworths. She tries to make her own choices without letting the generations old prejudices colour her opinions, but she discovers that there's more than just prejudices and that the "compulsions" are as real for the others as it is for her, with her "finding lost things" gift (or curse).
I loved the atmosphere and finding out about the history of the three families and the legends and reasons behind the different curses/gifts. I kept turning pages quickly hoping to get more hints and more insight and I was a bit annoyed at the swoon-worthy Eight Beaufort and Aunt Pru for failing to realize than information is power and you can't expect Barrie to like being in the dark!
Barrie might be trying to overcompensate on her anxiety by being rather rash and headstrong a few times, and that ends up landing her in situations that are rather dangerous. With what she doesn't know and how she seems to be determined to not listen... well, she gets a few hard lessons and finds herself entering bargains that she doesn't know the first thing about!
Barrie and Eight (no, that's really not his name, but everyone calls him that; yes, it took me a while to stop either snickering or rolling my eyes at seeing Eight as a name, even if it's not a name; and yes, it makes sense him being called Eight) have a great teasing and flirting relationship, and even though at some point you feel like pushing their heads together and say "KISS ALREADYYYY!!!", it is a fun relationship to see develop.
We don't get all the answers, and given that this is the first book in a trilogy, it does make sense. But we do get quite a bit of information and we get resolution for a few of the family mysteries and ghosts in Watson's Landing.
A great read that will have you turning pages and rooting for Barrie and Eight and a few mysteries that you won't see coming too easily. Very well deserved 4 stars and I cannot wait for Persuasion!
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