These are all elements of Martina Boone’s Compulsion, a story set on a southern plantation where things aren’t quite what they seem.
Set in Charleston, South Carolina, Boone focused the area’s already rich history of privateering, magic and voodoo, and murder and into asouthern tale that will unravel in her The Heirs of Watson Island trilogy.
“Southern literature, like southern life, doesn’t bother to hide skeletons in closets. It treats the extraordinary as commonplace. The tales get tall, the tragic is honored, and the heroic is revered,” said Boone.
Compulsion features he typical, sleepy southern town. However, Watson Island has more to offer than front porch sitting and sweet tea drinking. Wound into the very thread of the island is something much more than Barrie Watson, the leading lady of Compulsion, bargained for.
“Watson Island is a place where magic is alive and so much a fabric of life that it is almost ordinary.”
In a location where the veil between worlds is thin, the truth couldn’t be more difficult to unearth. To further complicate matters, each of the main families in the novel — the Beauforts, the Colesworths, and the Watsons — have a story that tells the origins of the magical gifts they possess but each of these stories have elements of fiction. The way the gifts have been handled from generation to generation has given rise to conflicts within and between families.
Conflicts that can’t be resolved over a glass of iced tea.
“It’s a recipe for dangerous family dynamics, and over the years, people have connived and schemed and done nasty things to each other,” said Boone. “I’ve always been struck by the tragedy of brothers fighting brothers, friends divided and ending up on opposite sides in a war.”
The idea of warring with your family and within yourself was, in part, her inspiration for Barrie.
“Barrie is half Watson and half Colesworth. It takes her a while to reconcile the two warring sides of herself, and that push and pull, the need for family and acceptance, is the core of her fatal flaw.”
Shrouded in much secrecy, mystery, and Southern Gothic charm, the setting of Compulsion is a character on its own. Combine that with families whom find it hard to play nice and magic that is woven into the very core of Watson Island, Barrie’s story is bound to be a story that keeps readers turning the page until the very end.
“The veil between the worlds is even thinner in this book,” says Boone.