Author: Millicent Monks
Millicent Monks pre-married name was Millicent Carnegie, of the fabulously rich Carnegie family. However, her memoir reads like a novel, fantastical, full of pain and sorrow as Millicent describes the three islands where her family, along with their mental illness, lived most of their lives (they also lived in Boston). As Millicent dreams and weaves this tale with absolute mellifluous prose, and a talent that seeps from every page, we weep along with her.
Millicent’s mother was Lucy Coleman Carnegie, the daughter of Bertha and Andrew Carnegie II. Lucy and her sister Nan grew up Cumberland Island in the deep South off the coast of Florida. Lucy, insane and hating her daughters, lived in secluded, falling apart houses on the island and in Boston, forgetting to buy food and hating Millicent deeply as Lucy felt Millicent had been poisoned by her father Sean, who would not allow anyone to drink any milk but from their own cows, which was not pasteurized. Millicent spent summers at Crescent Island, her father’s island, off the coast of Maine. The third island, Northern Island, came to Millicent when she married Bobby from an old and austere Boston family.
Millicent and Bobby had two children, Cassandra and Angus. Cassandra inherited her grandmother Lucy’s mental illness and most of their lives, Bobby and Millicent tried to seek help for Cassandra but none was to be had and she entered McLean Hospital for a time.
As Mrs. Monks weaves the islands, her relatives, her daughter’s illness and her mother’s hate for her into a story, sometimes magical, mostly horrifying, we come to see how wealth does not preclude mental illness. There is no way to reveal the passions and secrets that Songs of Three Islands describes except to read this tremendously powerful novel.
With courage and relentless honesty, Millicent Carnegie Monks creates a novel that overwhelms and sings to us, saddens us and soothes us. Monks’ The Songs of Three Islands is not only a bestseller, it is a treatise on the survivability of the human spirit. An amazing memoir, a brilliant novel.
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Review by Broad “A” – Ava
We received a copy of this title for our book review. All opinions are our own
Songs of Three Islands is available on Amazon.com and booksellers nationwide