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 bought this book for myself, that does not influence my personal thoughts.
I am definitely not exaggerating when I say that I haven’t read something this unique in a while. First, I am not a huge paranormal fan but damn, Compulsion totally makes me re-think my choices in sticking mainly to contemporary. Also, Compulsion was written in 3rd person past-tense, which I always have a hard time connecting with, but I think it added for the perfect atmosphere and tone.
When Barrie’s aloof mother dies, she’s sent off to her estranged family’s South Carolina plantation. There may also may or may not be curses, magic/wishes, and ghosts involved. Oh and a really cute boy. Basically, it’s the perfect recipe for a great read.
I had a hard time connecting to Barrie at first, because of the 3rd-person writing, but in the end, I found that the writing added the perfect level of an aloof atmosphere and it was still personal enough to give the readers a glimpse into Barrie’s inner thoughts. Furthermore, the plot was a little confusing (at times) but I think it ultimately ended off in a way that made sense and it resolved not as open-ended. Which is great for all of us who hate horrible cliffhangers!
In terms of the romance, I am iffy about it. I mostly loved it (Eight is DEFINITELY swoony) but it did have tinges of insta-love. As much as that might rub me the wrong way, I totally loved it by the end because of all the paranormal aspects that go into the romance to make it what it is. So while it may seem a bit hasty, upon reading, it makes sense given the context + the setting.
Barrie, as a protagonist, was someone who I really identified with, as she was somewhat always trying to see the best in people (as I do) but she was also not afraid of who she was, and rather she accepted her differences even if it made other think that she was “weird.” I really enjoyed reading about her journey!
Overall, I definitely recommend this to readers looking for an interesting and compelling southern gothic. Compulsion is just a great paranormal read that has me pining for the sequel!