Author: Millicent Monks

Publisher: Prospecta Press

ISBN: 978-1-935212-44-7

Millicent Monk is the daughter of Lucy Carnegie. Throughout her childhood she watched her mother’s mental illness destroy the family she never quite felt part of. She had a life of privilege and was afforded anything her heart required until her father divorced her mother and left them nearly destitute. Because, her mother had mental issues she was unable to show love to Millicent and Millicent began to believe that she was not loveable.

Songs of Three Islands is an interesting look inside this fabulously wealthy family. It gives the reader a poignant picture of how even with all that life holds available to one there is no peace without love and no love without understanding.

The three islands play a role in how this family lives their everyday life and how they function, or not, as a family unit. They are Cumberland Island, Crescent Island, and North Island. Millicent describes these islands so clearly that you can feel the sand under your feet and hear the waves beat against the beach. The visions from Millicent’s words make me want to drop out of regular life and live on the islands too.

Millicent came from a troubled family and trouble continued for her throughout her life. Millicent finds a wonderful man, marries him, and has a family of her own only to come to the conclusion that her only daughter, Cassandra is also mentally ill. At times Millicent blamed herself for what was amiss and at other times she looked for rational reasons why this troubling dilemma occurred. Cassandra was in and out of institutions for most of her life. She was oftentimes quite irrational and troubling for her family, those who were charged with her care, and even the police.

Millicent spends most of her life searching for answers. She sought out the knowledge of sage professionals in the field of psychiatry and shamans hoping to find closure. She tried a lot of things before she was able to understand that she was not to blame and that mental illness affects the family as a whole and not just the one with this insidious disease.

This memoir spans decades. Diagnoses are/were less than perfect back then and therefore, treatments were not helpful or inconclusive. At the time when Millicent writes this memoir there is little known about mental illness past a fleeting diagnosis for possible schizophrenia. Little treatment past mind-numbing medications and impersonal institutions with little hope for recovery. It is sad to watch this suffering of loved ones and know there is no cure. Luckily, Millicent was/is a survivor.

There are many trials and tribulations for Millicent to endure as this book moves forward. This disturbing mental illness, finally diagnosed as borderline personality disorder, nearly wrecked her family and cost her many friends. Eventually Millicent found peace, forgiveness, and understanding through meditation and her writing. I enjoyed this book and think you will too.

If you or someone you know has unresolved mental issues Millicent began an organization where you can seek help, advice, and understanding. It is called TARA APD and it is located at 23 Greene Street, NY, NY 10013. Telephone 212-966-6514. Email

Follow Here To Purchase Songs of Three Islands: A Memoir: A Personal Tale of Motherhood and Mental Illness in an Iconic American Family