Compulsion by Martina Boone // Gothic Southern Plantation of Secrets and Curses

Compulsion (Heirs of Watson Island #1)

by Martina Boone

Ebook, 448 pages

Published October 28th, 2014 by Simon Pulse


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 is one of the oldest book in my TBR. I fell in love with it on the first sight, on first laying eyes on that beautiful cover. Everytime I came across this book, the cover always calling out to me, begging me to read it- yet I still managed to not reading it until now. What I love the most about the cover is how it seems old school and have that southern gothic vibe. Not to mention plantation, which is something I always love to visit in real life.

Compulsion begins with Barrie waiting for her aunt she never met to pick her up at the airport. In fact, she never met any other family except her mom, who died recently, and her caretaker Mark. Now she has to go back to her mom’s childhood home, the Watson plantation, and meeting the whole island of strangers who knows who she is, who her mother was, and who their family is.

The setting and the atmosphere is exactly what I imagined and I wanted it to be. We have old plantation houses, sleepy old town, summer-y setting, and southern feeling. There’s also something eerie that you can’t quite put a finger on the town, like they are under a spell that keeps them preserved in time while in reality they are not. It’s something I truly enjoy and love being immersed with.

The characters is where I stumbled. I really enjoyed reading about Mark, I wish we have more time with him and got to know him more. Eight was charming. But our main character, Barrie, is definitely not my type of characters. She lived a very sheltered and isolated life back in San Fransisco due to her mother isolating herself; she does not know anyone from her family and her town. I get why she desperately wanted to be friends with and helped Cassie, but at the same time, she doesn’t use common sense. I mean, come on. Every single person in town warned her against befriending Cassie, there has to be something about it and not just because the ancient history between the founding families. There has to be something that proved Cassie to be untrustworthy. Yet Barrie rebelled because she was feeling bad and want to have a family at first, but as the story goes she just rebelled for the sake of rebelling and proving Eight he was wrong, which usually ended up with her proving what everyone’s saying is right.

And then there’s a matter of family secrets, ability, curses, and the fire carrier, in which she was mad because no one told her about. The thing is, people are afraid to tell her because they worried she’ll behave like her mother- sticking her nose where she shouldn’t be. She promise that she is not like that, yet in the next page she does EXACTLY that. I mean, 50% of the conflict and drama happened in this book could be avoided if Barrie actually stopped to think before she did something instead of rebelling to prove everyone “preconceived notion” (her words, not mine, when talking about Cassie and curses) wrong.

As you can see, I’m not really impressed with Barrie. Everytime her trying-to-prove-you-wrong act backfired (which is EVERYTIME), I snickered. Especially that finale, I keep saying “THEY TOLD YOU SO” to her.

The plot is very well written, they are fast paced and never boring. I really love the history of the founding families, the gifts, and the curses. I’m excited to read more about them, how they work, and what are they actually. I’m just a bit annoyed at how easy they worked in Barrie’s favour.

After sitting around for years in my TBR, Compulsion is a book that worth the read. With captivating history between founding families and curses, with atmospheric setting, this book is quickly becoming my guilty pleasure. I can’t wait to read the next book and get back to Watson Island!




7 thoughts on “Compulsion by Martina Boone // Gothic Southern Plantation of Secrets and Curses

  1. I am a fan of this series, and plan to read the final book (soon!). I loved the mystery and I liked the direction Boone went with the story in the second book. I am excited to see how it all ends.


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