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Storyteller at Heart

Born and raised on the barrier island of Fernandina Beach, FL, Mbinguni’s love of masterful storytelling developed from the influence of her grandparents. Her grandmother fostered in her a love of reading, films, and television at an early age, and her grandfather was a spirited storyteller. Her love of reading developed her curiosity about language. She is passionate about it and captivated by the influence it has on people and the decisions they make in life. She is a thoughtful and tenacious author interested in telling the stories of her people with honesty, tenderness, and love. Looking for Hope is her debut novel.

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January 26th, 2021

"Grief has a way of cementing our feet to the ground wherever we're standing when it hits us. It takes hard work to get unstuck from that place, but we have to be willing to dig in." - Mouse

In this coming-of-age tale, Mbinguni weaves a narrative about Hannah “Mouse” Maynard and her transformation from a shy, quiet, girl into a strong and assertive woman. 

At 7-years-old, Mouse experiences a tragedy that forces her to face the evils of the world and leave behind everything she’s ever known. With their home destroyed, Mouse and her father travel from Maplewood, Georgia to Virginia and Michigan confronting their past as they move into their future. 

Mouse encounters women along the way who help her find the strength to survive and thrive against all she's seen. Through these bonds and their fierce protection, Mouse not only finds her voice but a renewed sense of hope. 

"​I’ve been working on this novel for quite some time now, and I can’t wait for you to read it. This book started out very differently, but Mouse took over and told her story in her own way."


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"...she has a coterie of women looking out for her who quickly become like family—a theme that the author deftly evokes throughout the book."

"...quietly moving and beautifully rendered through fine dialogue and descriptions."

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"What a stunning debut! Mbinguni writes with a sure hand and a pitch-perfect ear. And her heart for the world and the people she creates is true.

Mbinguni's novel has you saying, 'Oh my goodness, then what!?' Watch her. Mbinguni is a writer of achievement and promise."

Tina McElroy Ansa
-Author of Baby of the Family

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"Far from your typical coming-of-age story, Mbinguni's beautiful debut novel, Looking for Hope, will take you on a nail-biting journey guaranteed to leave you weeping, appalled, enthralled and breathless. Prepare to be a captive audience swept back in time by the unthinkable shattering of her young heroine's life. Yet, you will find in Hope a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit, and a unique celebration of the gift of survival and perseverance."

Suzette D. Harrison 
-Author of Taffy


Portfolio of Work as Celestial Holmes

Mbinguni is Celestial Holmes' alter-ego and the pseudonym under which she writes her novels.
Her other works are written under her birth-given name.




Lovecraft Country Recap Blog - Season 1

Various Topics

Freelance Writer

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