Monsoon Mansion

A Memoir
Narrated by: Cinelle Barnes
Length: 9 hrs and 1 min
Categories: Biographies & Memoirs
4.1 out of 5 stars (197 ratings)

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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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What listeners say about Monsoon Mansion

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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
  • 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.

1 person found this helpful

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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!

1 person found this helpful

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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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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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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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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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  • J
  • 10-01-19

Like Reading Poetry

The author's writing style is very poetic and her story is compelling. I highly recommended!

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Loss, Survival, and Transcendence

One would not expect that a girl growing up in an opulent mansion would have to face such despairing hardship, parental neglect, and loss. Cinelle Barnes’ memoir paints a vivid portrait of a lush, dazzling world of wealth and abundance soon destroyed by more than just rain and wind, though these certainly play a part. As his fortunes fall, her father leaves, promising to return. Her mother, ever hungry for love, affirmation, and the status she once held, replaces him with ambitious con man who only brings chaos, violence and ruin into the home. The water in the mansion is turned off to save money, the children left largely to fend for themselves, and the once grand ballroom is transformed into a stadium for chicken fights. How she survives and escapes this world, emerging to recount her life with such grace, is no less than a miracle. This is a thorough immersion into a world both beautiful and horrific.