Black Clouds in Manila, a novel by Tessie Jayme
by Tessie Jayme
Black Clouds in Manila
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"I LOVED this book series. Currently there are three books in the series. On so many levels BLACK CLOUDS IN MANILA is an entertaining, credible and superbly written series of books. At first Jayme’s omniscient author’s POV kept me at a distance, but then she skillfully segued to multiple characters’ stream-of-consciousness which immediately engaged me and I found myself unwilling to put the books down.

While all the characters in the series were distinctly different, Jayme’s clear portrayal of each of them allowed me, the reader, to believe in them. She ‘showed’ the reader who these characters were through dialog and actions. I found myself caring about each one of them and wanting to know what happens to them in the story. My empathy for the Santos family made this a page-turner for me. Regarding the details of the war itself, Jayme’s precise research coupled with extensive family interviews, shone through loudly and clearly. Her own family’s experiences during WWII’s Japanese occupation of the Philippine Islands are skillfully woven into this tale of determination, survival and love.

As a Greek American, I was already familiar with the events in Europe during World War II, but I actually had only a peripheral knowledge of what the Filipino people went through. Fortunately, I had visited the MacArthur museum in Norfolk, VA where the evidence of this black time in Filipino history is starkly displayed.

BLACK CLOUDS IN MANILA drew me into the heart of the struggle taking place in the Philippines during the Japanese occupation. On a historical level, this book is educational and filled with information which enriched my enjoyment of the story itself and is accessible to all reading levels. I didn’t want the series to end! At the end of Book 3, all the characters felt like friends whom I cared about and it was very difficult to let go of them. Fortunately, Tessie Jayme plans on doing a sequel for when the Santos Family arrives in America. I am smiling!!" - Kathy


"Books 2 and 3 were just as riveting! When I initially picked up Book 1 of my Aunt Tessie's “Black Clouds in Manila” series, I was excited to read how she had incorporated my Dad's experiences into the series (my father is Ramon). I was prepared to be know, when you love someone, you don't want to have to hurt them with honest truth... But boy was I happily surprised. She's actually a really good writer! After reading the first few pages, I was hooked. I couldn't put it down.

I knew she had fictionalized it, imagined scenarios that never happened, but the scenes were so real. I could believe the things that happened there. I finished Book 1 in a day. I couldn't wait to read on and devoured the next two books. Reading the “Black Clouds in Manila” series has helped me understand and enlighten aspects of my grandparents and my father. Although I was reading about Torio and Rissing, I knew that this was my grandparents’ story. I found myself utterly emotional at times by their heroism, devotion, and was in awe at the thought of how they were able to survive such an atrocious war.

Imagining my Dad as this boy adventuring with his mother was totally believable because I know this really happened to them. And because of this, in real life, this has helped me UNDERSTAND why he is the way he is, and why certain things trigger him to passionate outbursts.
I love him more than ever because he was not only this brave young boy experiencing the challenges of World War II in a country occupied by the enemy, he was my father! Auntie Tessie doesn't pull punches... she demonstrates the flaws and weaknesses of the fictionalized version of the Santos family, yet she portrays them as such real people that I couldn't help but feel sympathy for them. What a great legacy these books are!" - Valerie


I totally enjoyed your three-book series. Easy to read, good flow, interesting. I didn't want to put the book down. After finishing one book, I couldn't wait to begin the next one. I'm passing my set on to my grandson who was adopted from the Philippines by my daughter when she was stationed at Clark Air Force Base. At the time he was three (3) years old. So adorable and has grown into such a fine man. Thank you for the series. Looking forward to the next one. … Pat P., Tucson, AZ

“The preface alone was powerful and practically moved me to tears! Just like in a movie screenplay, this novel holds the reader's interest while keeping the dialogue fun and interesting. She strategically uses tension and drama to keep you on the edge of your seat, and I related to every single character in some way.

Her visual descriptions are stunning, her use of subtext is strong, and she keeps the mystery going as the twists and turns pop in and out of the different character threads.

I felt a deep connection to this story, not just because it is based on the stories of my family, but because the heroism displayed by Torio and Rissing represent the legacy of my grandparents and all the Filipinos who struggled during WWII. My Mom has truly done something amazing. She was able to breathe life and love
into real people." - Arielle J


"I read Tessie’s first book which she wrote when she was 16, and even then she was a good writer. It took place in the Sequoia National Park with all the big sequoia trees. A lot of what happens in BLACK CLOUDS IN MANILA takes place in the Philippine jungles. I think she has a thing about trees.

Overall, I’m really impressed. I can tell she did a lot of research and even though it’s basically fiction, I can see how she took the stories we told her and made it into a family adventure whose experiences are very familiar to me. I can sort of recognize who she based which character on. I think she’s the most like Lucing, the woman who falls in love with the Japanese commander of the Santo Thomas University internment camp. It’s really interesting to read." - Lucibar (Author's brother)



"I finished all three of your books and look forward to the sequel! In fact I had a hard time putting the books down to do anything else! I found the story line interesting and captivating. I recognized a lot of the scenes from stories my mom told me about during the war.
The characters were well developed (although sometimes I questioned whether indeed a child of, for example 6, could actually have such mature thoughts) and again I could recognize personality traits of your siblings---albeit somewhat mixed up in the characters. All in all, the story was an interesting and entertaining read that left me wondering how much and which parts of what you wrote was fact and which parts filled in the gaps and connected the lives and events of the characters.
I love how strong, resourceful, and determined Grandma's character is. I also never really knew the teacher side of Grandpa or his carpentry/building skills and related resourcefulness. I look forward to talking to uncles Val and Lucibar, and Auntie Amabelle and my mom about the events of the story. I hope your story sparks the same interest in millions of readers! Thank you for writing this story." - Evalyne
"What I love about these books (BCIM) is twofold: 1) The history that I don’t remember ever learning about in my educational process, including post-graduate, and 2) The characterization – so many different personalities and the detail about each that makes him/her real and shows how both genetics and what happens to them in life has made them who they are, as well as who they become with more living. They made me think, learn, feel, and enjoy." - Peggy K, Chandler, AZ

"I read all three books in no time flat…in one week’s time, a record for me!   I found myself reliving my young life as well as reconnecting with some things Filipino and food that I have not eaten in years.  When I was stationed at Clark AFB I came in contact with the Balugas/Negritos and became friends with the King and his people in the village. 
Whenever we needed laborers we asked for “volunteers”, and we compensated them with scrap wood, metal and cardboard boxes that they used for roof or walls.  It was a very interesting story." - Roger T, Veteran
"This is one of the best books I've read this year. I was drawn into the story from the first page. The story follows the Santo's family during the occupation of the Japanese in Manila during World War ll. Tessie Jayme made me feel like I was traveling along with the family. An extremely absorbing and interesting read. Jayme has two more books in this series that I can't wait to read." - Janet G, Apache Junction
"I thoroughly enjoyed BLACK CLOUDS IN MANILLA. I am looking forward to reading the next two in the trilogy. Tessie does an amazing job of characters and writing style that takes you into the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of this culture in time that resonates deeply with our humanity.
I look forward to seeing her star as an author soar to unlimited heights. I can't believe her name isn't known by everyone who enjoys reading!" -  Mona L
"BLACK CLOUDS IN MANILA is a beautifully written trilogy. It is a tribute lovingly written by Tessie Jayme based on what her parents and siblings experienced during the World War II after the Japanese attacked the Philippine islands on December 8th, 1941. In the United States, we are very fortunate never to have had war in our homeland.
This is a powerful story of a family that faced adversity, at its worst, and managed never to be defeated. With courage and faith, the families in this novel never gave up their struggle to liberate themselves from the Japanese occupation. It’s a riveting event of life – difficult to put down." - Donna K, Port Lucie, FL
"It was such a pleasure and honor to read "Black Clouds In Manila". Up to now, I had been oblivious to the actual history of the culture and the war and how it impacted the lives of the Filipino people and this amazing family. Personalizing the story made it all the more inviting, captivating and realistic. As a result I felt educated and inspired and most certainly entertained. I became familiar with and fond of the different characters and irresistibly couldn't wait to read more about their particular journey within a journey. The extensive research was not only added depth and embellishment to quite a fascinating spot in time. 'Bravo' to the author Tessie Jayme." - Joanne J


"Hi Auntie - just wanted to tell you about possibly your youngest fan! My Grand daughter Thalia couldn't wait for my mom to finish the first book in your series, she kept asking my mom, finally today my mom said "yes, I'm done" Thalia said "yes"!! "I can't believe Lola's sister wrote a book, I can't wait to read it" ....she's 9." - Delia A

"The first time I received the draft manuscript of this gripping literary work, I stayed glued to my computer until 4:00 AM, Philippine time. This is a book that a reader can’t put down until the end. It’s as if I was there… right in the middle of the action and scenes. I’m not the kind of person to pay easy compliments, but this manuscript deserves it." - Evangeline C