After the death of Barrie Watson’s heavily scarred, shut-in mother and her beloved godfather’s terminal cancer diagnosis, Barrie’s sent from San Francisco to her aunt’s South Carolina plantation home.
The first clue Barrie gets that something’s off is the revelation that even her mother’s twin, Pru, believed Barrie’s mother had died in the same fire that killed Barrie’s father before Barrie was born. But abnormal’s routine for Barrie—she’s inherited the Watson gift, a magical ability to find things. While settling in, she learns the gift’s history and its entanglement with the town’s other two other founding families, the Beauforts and the Colesworths. Privateers, Cherokee witch ghosts and voodoo collide in the mythology Barrie untangles while discovering why her mother left and her own role as a scion of two families: Her Watson mother ran away with a cursed Colesworth. Barrie’s Colesworth connection gives her a charismatic new cousin she wants to trust and an uncle she definitely doesn’t. There’s also a handsome Beaufort possessing his own family gift, but the romance’s forced. Barrie’s a standard teen heroine—clumsy, artistic and unaware of her beauty. The first, molasses-slow act lingers on lavish, Spanish moss–filled derelict plantations and location-specific details (like Cheerwine)—once things start happening, though, even darker family secrets are unearthed, heightening suspense.
A paranormal Southern gothic with decadent settings, mysterious magic and family histories rife with debauchery for patient readers. (Paranormal romance. 13 & up)