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Publisher's Summary

Told with a lyrical, almost-dreamlike voice as intoxicating as the moonflowers and orchids that inhabit this world, Monsoon Mansion is a harrowing yet triumphant coming-of-age memoir exploring the dark, troubled waters of a family’s rise and fall from grace in the Philippines. It would take a young warrior to survive it.

Cinelle Barnes was barely three years old when her family moved into Mansion Royale, a stately ten-bedroom home in the Philippines. Filled with her mother’s opulent social aspirations and the gloriously excessive evidence of her father’s self-made success, it was a girl’s storybook playland. But when a monsoon hits, her father leaves, and her mother’s terrible lover takes the reins, Cinelle’s fantastical childhood turns toward tyranny she could never have imagined. Formerly a home worthy of magazines and lavish parties, Mansion Royale becomes a dangerous shell of the splendid palace it had once been.

In this remarkable ode to survival, Cinelle creates something magical out of her truth - underscored by her complicated relationship with her mother. Through a tangle of tragedy and betrayal emerges a revelatory journey of perseverance and strength, of grit and beauty, and of coming to terms with the price of family - and what it takes to grow up.

©2018 Cinelle Barnes (P)2018 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

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  • JA
  • 20-06-2018

Listen to this book!

Cinelle Barnes tells such an amazing story of her childhood which is difficult but also hopeful. I got so invested in her story and couldn’t wait to get chances to listen to more. When it was done I wanted an update of all of the people mentioned. I had the honor of meeting Cinelle last night at a book club. I was told when you meet her you realize she’s a person you want to spend time with, and it’s true. I highly recommend this book!

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  • Lisa F.
  • 26-09-2020

Terrible narration.

Authors should not be allowed to narrate their own stuff. The narration detracted from the actual story. Mispronounced words, syllables left out, odd and choppy rhythm, and an occasional lisp. Would have been much better with a professional narrator.

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  • csnellgrove
  • 03-12-2018

One of the best memoirs I’ve read

What a lovely book. The writing is so elegant. We can only hope there is more to come from this author.

1 person found this helpful

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  • KS
  • 05-07-2018

A Beautiful Intimate Journey of Memories and Strength

Hearing the beautifully crafted word images full of strength and pain told from the authors small yet strong voice was an amazing journey. She is a brilliant woman who doesn’t just have an excellent memory but the ability to weave it into a gorgeous exercise of healing and strength. I’m thankful for her memoir and what it must have taken to share it.

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  • Amanda rubio
  • 23-05-2018

Captivating!

I read often and this book had my complete attention from cover to cover. I could not put it down! I will be reading it again!

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  • Katrina
  • 21-05-2018

engrossing

I read it all the way through without stopping. A truly fascinating tale of survival.

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  • Sarah Brunson
  • 21-03-2021

Beautifully written and fully immersive

Cinelle Barnes does a beautiful job both writing and narrating her story. Her descriptions of locations and events create such a clear story that as I listener I felt present in each of her memories. I read a lot of memoirs and I can tell you this is one that will stick with you in an incredible way. I highly recommend it.

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  • MissL
  • 05-11-2020

Courageous Healing

Anyone who’s experienced childhood trauma at the hands of a caregiver will marvel not only at the author’s courage but also their own courage. It’s one thing to live through the situations, but a whole different thing to relive it in the revisiting as the author did in her retelling. Her strength is my strength.

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  • EmmyJF
  • 08-10-2020

Thank you

I just finished this book and have never written a review before, even though I’m an avid reader and read/listen to great books constantly.
I just want to thank Cinelle for her courage in this memoir. It affected me in a different way than all the heart wrenching WW2 books I’ve read. I’m the same generation as the author and it really gave me perspective to hear her story and reflect on my own.

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  • NahaniWhereUAt
  • 24-09-2020

Are you a patient person?

I really wanted to hear this story, but I just couldn't do it. Wayyyyyyy too many discriptors. Cut every sentence down at least 1/4 in words and it would STILL be a descriptive book. Two chapters in and I haven't gotten anywhere at all. Also, while I do appreciate that the author is reading her own story, between all of those adjectives and her lilting, monotone reading style, my attention quickly ran out. My gut told me to stop after the first chapter, but I was hopeful that it would pick up, even just a little, so I gave it another chapter, and finding that there was zero improvement, I wasn't willing to keep playing THAT game. There are too many good books to waste time on those that feel more like work than pleasure. It's a shame because I WAS interested in hearing this story. Perhaps it's is my loss, but I am "closing the book" on this one.

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