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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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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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I gave Monsoon Mansions 3 stars because, although it was well written, I struggled to get through the 1st part. It just didn't hold my attention. The 2nd part was more interesting. The highlight of the whole book was when, toward the end, the author describes her mother in an essay. That was beautifully written! I also liked the epilogue and how she described how life had turned out for everyone. Nevertheless, I only give 4/5 stars to books that I would consider reading again and this book wasn't one of them.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Quick intro to the Philippines for new visitors

This is an autobiography of a young girl's upbringing in the Philippines where her family goes from riches to rags. As someone who has visited the Philippines six or seven times and is marries to a woman of Filipino descent, the story rings true and provides an introduction to the multiple worlds of the Philippines (first world to third world).

The first half or so when the author describes her upbringing in wealth, living in a great mansion is a little long but interesting.

Economic conditions (and lack of savings) cast her family into economic straits. You will learn the living conditions of many poor Filipinos.

I wish she had continued the story to include more details and facts about her rising to a higher status and migrating to the USA. Perhaps, there is another volume planned with more details in these areas.

At times her language is too "flowery" and descriptive but I believe this is common in such books.

The author reads her book for Audible which adds to the reality of the situations.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Km
  • 07-05-18

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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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • JA
  • 06-20-18

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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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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engrossing

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

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    1 out of 5 stars
  • V. Schmidt
  • St. Petersburg, FL United States
  • 09-05-18

I hate it

It's garbage and I want my money back seven more words required want money back.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful