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The Second Life of Mirielle West

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The glamorous world of a silent film star’s wife abruptly crumbles when she’s forcibly quarantined at the Carville Lepers Home in this page-turning story of courage, resilience, and reinvention set in 1920s Louisiana and Los Angeles. Based on little-known history, this timely book will strike a chord with readers of Fiona Davis, Tracey Lange, and Marie Benedict. Based on th The glamorous world of a silent film star’s wife abruptly crumbles when she’s forcibly quarantined at the Carville Lepers Home in this page-turning story of courage, resilience, and reinvention set in 1920s Louisiana and Los Angeles. Based on little-known history, this timely book will strike a chord with readers of Fiona Davis, Tracey Lange, and Marie Benedict. Based on the true story of America’s only leper colony, The Second Life of Mirielle West brings vividly to life the Louisiana institution known as Carville, where thousands of people were stripped of their civil rights, branded as lepers, and forcibly quarantined throughout the entire 20th century. For Mirielle West, a 1920’s socialite married to a silent film star, the isolation and powerlessness of the Louisiana Leper Home is an unimaginable fall from her intoxicatingly chic life of bootlegged champagne and the star-studded parties of Hollywood’s Golden Age. When a doctor notices a pale patch of skin on her hand, she’s immediately branded a leper and carted hundreds of miles from home to Carville, taking a new name to spare her family and famous husband the shame that accompanies the disease. At first she hopes her exile will be brief, but those sent to Carville are more prisoners than patients and their disease has no cure. Instead she must find community and purpose within its walls, struggling to redefine her self-worth while fighting an unchosen fate. As a registered nurse, Amanda Skenandore’s medical background adds layers of detail and authenticity to the experiences of patients and medical professionals at Carville – the isolation, stigma, experimental treatments, and disparate community. A tale of repulsion, resilience, and the Roaring ‘20s, The Second Life of Mirielle West is also the story of a health crisis in America’s past, made all the more poignant by the author’s experiences during another, all-too-recent crisis.


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The glamorous world of a silent film star’s wife abruptly crumbles when she’s forcibly quarantined at the Carville Lepers Home in this page-turning story of courage, resilience, and reinvention set in 1920s Louisiana and Los Angeles. Based on little-known history, this timely book will strike a chord with readers of Fiona Davis, Tracey Lange, and Marie Benedict. Based on th The glamorous world of a silent film star’s wife abruptly crumbles when she’s forcibly quarantined at the Carville Lepers Home in this page-turning story of courage, resilience, and reinvention set in 1920s Louisiana and Los Angeles. Based on little-known history, this timely book will strike a chord with readers of Fiona Davis, Tracey Lange, and Marie Benedict. Based on the true story of America’s only leper colony, The Second Life of Mirielle West brings vividly to life the Louisiana institution known as Carville, where thousands of people were stripped of their civil rights, branded as lepers, and forcibly quarantined throughout the entire 20th century. For Mirielle West, a 1920’s socialite married to a silent film star, the isolation and powerlessness of the Louisiana Leper Home is an unimaginable fall from her intoxicatingly chic life of bootlegged champagne and the star-studded parties of Hollywood’s Golden Age. When a doctor notices a pale patch of skin on her hand, she’s immediately branded a leper and carted hundreds of miles from home to Carville, taking a new name to spare her family and famous husband the shame that accompanies the disease. At first she hopes her exile will be brief, but those sent to Carville are more prisoners than patients and their disease has no cure. Instead she must find community and purpose within its walls, struggling to redefine her self-worth while fighting an unchosen fate. As a registered nurse, Amanda Skenandore’s medical background adds layers of detail and authenticity to the experiences of patients and medical professionals at Carville – the isolation, stigma, experimental treatments, and disparate community. A tale of repulsion, resilience, and the Roaring ‘20s, The Second Life of Mirielle West is also the story of a health crisis in America’s past, made all the more poignant by the author’s experiences during another, all-too-recent crisis.

30 review for The Second Life of Mirielle West

  1. 5 out of 5

    MarilynW

    The Second Life of Mirielle West Amanda Skenandore (Author), Nicole Poole (Narrator) 1927 Las Angeles Thirty two year old socialite Mirielle West is the wife of leading man actor Charlie West. Her life was full of glamour and parties until her son drowned a few months earlier. Now she can barely function and the sounds of her two daughters fail to make a dent in her depressed mind and they are left to the nanny to tend. Little does Mirielle know that she will dearly regret every minute she didn't The Second Life of Mirielle West Amanda Skenandore (Author), Nicole Poole (Narrator) 1927 Las Angeles Thirty two year old socialite Mirielle West is the wife of leading man actor Charlie West. Her life was full of glamour and parties until her son drowned a few months earlier. Now she can barely function and the sounds of her two daughters fail to make a dent in her depressed mind and they are left to the nanny to tend. Little does Mirielle know that she will dearly regret every minute she didn't spend with her daughters. When she sees a doctor for a spot on her skin her old life ends and she is wisked away from her family and her city. After spending a day locked in a hospital room, she is taken by ambulance to a cattle car. Mirielle and three other patients spend days, sitting on the floor of the cattle car, until they reach their destination, Carville Hospital, in the swamps of Lousiana. It is then that Mirielle learns that all of this is not just a silly mistake that can be remedied so she can get back home to her life in LA. Mirielle and all the patients of Carville are incarcerated because they have leprosy. They will live behind high barbed wire fences, have a curfew, and have little chance of leaving this place again. Mirielle's snooty, haughty ways endear her to no one and she doesn't care what anyone thinks of her. She's appalled by the appearance of her fellow patients and can't understand how they can be so accepting of their situation. Normally someone as abrasive as Mirielle would totally turn me off from the story but she's actually pretty funny, too. Even when she can't rant or rave literally, she'll still rant and rave in her head. She goes on way too long, not believing this is her fate in life and I can understand her shock and devastation. She arrived at Carville the mother of a 10 month old and a seven year old and she knows they need her. That she won't be a part of their life is unbearable especially since there are no phones within reach of the patients. Mail is slow and the letters often don't make it through the sterlization process to even be delivered. I came to care about each of the people we meet. A favorite of mine is Frank and the audiobook brings his voice to life. There is also ten year old Jean, a thorn in Mirielle's side but at the same time, reminding her so much of her own daughters. There is Irene, who seems to cope so well with her situation and crusty Sister Verena, who seems to hate Miriella as much as Miriella hates her. The epilogue gives us a very satisfying ending for a heartbreaking situation. I enjoyed this article https://www.thedebutanteball.com/inte... because it tells us how in the first draft of the story that Mirielle was totally unlikeable. I can't even imagine how much worse Mirielle must have been in the first draft but I must say, the final, prickly, gnarly version of her is a grump that grew on me. Published July 27, 2021

  2. 5 out of 5

    Madison Warner Fairbanks

    The Second Life of Mirielle West by Amanda Skenandore Historical fiction based on a US leper colony. A socialite contracts leprosy and is sent away to a government living facility. The story follows her denial, acceptance, friendships, tragedies and life in the colony. The Epilogue was welcome and satisfying. Sad and heartbreaking. But also hopeful and heartwarming. Special thanks to the doctors and nurses and patients that helped and studied and worked to find a cure. I learned and now have more The Second Life of Mirielle West by Amanda Skenandore Historical fiction based on a US leper colony. A socialite contracts leprosy and is sent away to a government living facility. The story follows her denial, acceptance, friendships, tragedies and life in the colony. The Epilogue was welcome and satisfying. Sad and heartbreaking. But also hopeful and heartwarming. Special thanks to the doctors and nurses and patients that helped and studied and worked to find a cure. I learned and now have more compassion for this little known history. 🎧 I alternated between a paperback copy and an audiobook version. The audiobook is narrated by Nicole Poole. What exactly is a California accent? Ms Poole nailed the high society, cultured tone of California in her narration as well as the southern accents of New Orleans. I could hear the proper starch in the nuns instructions as well as the charm of the Deep South in the men’s voices. Several times I had to back up to listen to a sentence again. What did he say? Exactly how I’ve felt when traveling. At least here I had the advantage of replaying which you don’t get in real life! I listened to this at 1.25 and partially at 1.5x, the first being my usual and most comfortable. Thanks to NetGalley, Between the Chapters Bookclub, Kensington, and HighBridge Audio.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    I really love Amanda Skenandore’s books. This is her third, and I’ve read all three. Mirielle West is the wife of a silent film star. She is sent into quarantine at a leper colony, the only one in the US. Previously she was in the lap of luxury as a socialite living in the 1920s Hollywood. Mirielle is sent to the colony in Louisiana because a doctor notices a pale patch of skin on her hand. Can you imagine? She has to take on a new name to hide the shame of what is happening. She hopes she won’t b I really love Amanda Skenandore’s books. This is her third, and I’ve read all three. Mirielle West is the wife of a silent film star. She is sent into quarantine at a leper colony, the only one in the US. Previously she was in the lap of luxury as a socialite living in the 1920s Hollywood. Mirielle is sent to the colony in Louisiana because a doctor notices a pale patch of skin on her hand. Can you imagine? She has to take on a new name to hide the shame of what is happening. She hopes she won’t be there long, but she can’t help but feel like a prisoner at the institution. Skenandore is a nurse, and I think that enriches this story. The patients at Carville were experimented upon, isolated, and stigmatized. I’ve read about the leper colony in Hawaii previously and had no idea there had been one in Louisiana as well. There was a true disease underlying what was happening to these people (I had always wondered this). Overall, this is a thought-provoking, well-written, well-researched story full of heart. It’s still hard to wrap my head around what happened to these people in the name of “medicine,” but the author also kept the story balanced with hope and authenticity. I cherish these important stories she has shared with us and look forward to what she writes next. I received a gifted copy. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karren Sandercock

    Mirielle West lives a lavish lifestyle in 1920’s Los Angeles, she’s married to actor Charlie and has two young daughters. Her days are busy shopping, taking care of her appearance and getting ready to attend swanky parties to further her husband’s acting career. Underneath the beautiful clothes and makeup Mirielle’s a vulnerable women, she lost her beloved son and is struggling to cope with his loss. She accidentally burns her finger, her husband’s concerned and he thinks she should get her fami Mirielle West lives a lavish lifestyle in 1920’s Los Angeles, she’s married to actor Charlie and has two young daughters. Her days are busy shopping, taking care of her appearance and getting ready to attend swanky parties to further her husband’s acting career. Underneath the beautiful clothes and makeup Mirielle’s a vulnerable women, she lost her beloved son and is struggling to cope with his loss. She accidentally burns her finger, her husband’s concerned and he thinks she should get her family doctor to check it. While examining her finger, the doctor notices a small patch of pale skin on her hand, he recommends she immediately see a dermatologist, at the County General Hospital and Dr Sullivan checks all of the skin on her body and runs some tests. She has no idea what’s wrong with her, she notices the staff act oddly around her, to protect her husband’s fame she uses another name and she calls herself Mrs. Pauline Marvin. The next day Dr Sullivan gets the results of her tests, she has leprosy and her life changes with the diagnosis. Mirielle's transported to a leper hospital Carville in the Louisiana countryside, people with leprosy live here and receive medical treatment. She can’t believe she’s been ordered to stay in such a place, it’s primitive and she’s also expected to work. Mirielle tries to keep her distance from her fellow patients, it’s impossible while working in the various clinics, at first Mirielle's repulsed and horrified by what she sees and smells while helping the nuns and doctors treat people. Mirielle changes, slowly it dawns on her that she’s no different to the other residents, she makes friends and becomes involved in the social activities. Leprosy didn’t discriminate, it affected people of all ages, including children and from all walks of life. She misses Charlie, her daughters, as time goes on she never knows if she will ever see them again and it’s hard for her to stay positive. The Second Life of Mirielle West is a story about a woman coming to terms with having a disease that had a huge stigma associated with it, the people inflicted were locked up, lost their right to freedom, and many were shunned by their families and friends. The characters in the book are wonderful and I liked, Irene, Frank, Sister Verena and young Polly. Mirielle's transformed and she changes into a kind, compassionate, caring, thoughtful and inspirational person. I received a copy of this book from Edelweiss and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, one of the best books I have read this year and five stars from me. https://karrenreadsbooks.blogspot.com/

  5. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    I decided to take a break from thrillers to read a few historical fiction books, and I'm so glad I did, as this book was an unexpected delight! It was an enlightening glimpse into a 1920's "leper colony" in Carville, Louisiana. To be honest, I didn't even know such a place existed, and that leprosy was even an issue in the 1920's. In 1927, Mirielle West, the wife of a Hollywood actor and mother of two, finds her life upended after she is referred to a dermatologist after a burn scar doesn't heal I decided to take a break from thrillers to read a few historical fiction books, and I'm so glad I did, as this book was an unexpected delight! It was an enlightening glimpse into a 1920's "leper colony" in Carville, Louisiana. To be honest, I didn't even know such a place existed, and that leprosy was even an issue in the 1920's. In 1927, Mirielle West, the wife of a Hollywood actor and mother of two, finds her life upended after she is referred to a dermatologist after a burn scar doesn't heal. To her shock, the dermatologist concludes that she has Hansen's Disease aka leprosy. She is then shipped off in a boxcar with other lepers to Louisiana where she becomes a patient at Carville Hospital, a treatment center for leprosy. Mirielle, who is used to being pampered, is appalled at the stark conditions of Carville. She is also horrified at the severely deformed patients. After learning that her affliction is nearly incurable, and that even those who are eventually released carry the stigma forever, Mirielle's spirit is nearly broken, and she plots her escape. Eventually she begins to come to terms with her new life and starts bonding with some of her fellow patients, including a little girl, Jean, who is close to her daughters' age. Her life takes many unexpected turns and more than a few surprises, which makes for a memorable ending. After finishing the book, it struck me that it was a beautiful rendition of life and the resilience of the human nature to make the best of any situation that we are given. I did initially find Mirielle's character very off-putting. She was placed in an unfathomable position, but her selfishness and meanness made it hard to like her. By the end, her self-exposure and growth endeared her to me, but it took much too long to get there. I think the book's strength though is how Skendandore brought to light not only the horrors of leprosy, but also the appalling medical treatments the patients endured, as well as the misconceptions and cruelty that forever followed them. Overall, a thought-provoking journey into the world of leprosy. The author’s note at the end is a must-read and is a testament to her thorough research into leprosy and those afflicted. 4 stars.

  6. 5 out of 5

    RoshReviews

    So many books I’ve read lately have a novel concept but fall short in delivery (or maybe my expectations from such books need to come down.) This is one more to add to that list. The concept in this case: An inside look into the only lepers’ colony in the US. Story: Mirielle West is a stereotypical movie-star wife, rich, spoilt, vain, and self-obsessed. Living with her silent-film superstar husband Charlie and 2 young daughters in 1920s Hollywood, thirty-two year old Mirielle seems to have it al So many books I’ve read lately have a novel concept but fall short in delivery (or maybe my expectations from such books need to come down.) This is one more to add to that list. The concept in this case: An inside look into the only lepers’ colony in the US. Story: Mirielle West is a stereotypical movie-star wife, rich, spoilt, vain, and self-obsessed. Living with her silent-film superstar husband Charlie and 2 young daughters in 1920s Hollywood, thirty-two year old Mirielle seems to have it all. But when a small skin lesion on her hand gets diagnosed as leprosy, she is carted all the way to Louisiana to the only leper colony in the United States, a mission hospital named Carville. The story is not just about Mirielle’s separation from her family but more about how people were branded as outcasts and shunned just because of this disease. Where the book clicked for me: ✔ I must admit I knew nothing about the Carville institution and anything about how lepers were treated. So getting to know about this institution, its work and its facilities, and the stigma attached to leprosy was the biggest benefit of reading this book. The entire institution is brought to life with the author’s rich description. Her research is amazing. I know this looks like only one point but this forms a great chunk of the book. So this huge pro outweighs many cons of the book. Where the book could have been better for me: (Sorry, but this section includes spoilers.) (view spoiler)[ ❌ I guess I was expecting to be more emotionally impacted by a book with such a harrowing topic. But it didn’t happen. And I feel this is entirely because I didn’t like Mirielle, AT ALL. She comes across as a typical socialite at the start and I thought she would change her behaviour as and how the story progressed. But throughout the book, her character goes back and forth, and she hardly seems to change for the better until almost the very end. Her repeated stress on looks, her highhandedness with the other residents and the staff at Carville, her double standards when she blamed Charlie for a supposed fling while she herself was harbouring romantic thoughts about Frank), her decision to be a better mom after her return but still being rude to Jean when she wasn’t in the mood… When the main character herself leaves you so irritated, the plot can’t save the book much. I was hoping for a good role model and in that sense, Mirielle fell much short of my expectations. ❌ The author happens to be a registered nurse. So her account of the medical proceedings are absolutely detailed and authentic. While I did appreciate the painstaking research and information, I couldn’t get my head around Mirielle being the narrator of some of those facts. No matter how much she had worked in the lab, she still wouldn’t have been so adept at parroting off scientific terms, especially considering her background. Yeah ok, this is again because I didn’t like Mirielle and hence didn’t find her cleverness believable. ❌ The book is very unrealistic in places. For instance, there were so many other, more hands-on and experienced residents in the institution. There would also have been many other sisters considering its vast size. Why was everyone calling only Mirielle to help out in times of medical emergencies, especially when she wasn’t the best in terms of her attitude? At the end, when Mirielle locates Jean, that was such an unlikely happenstance. (I am now realising that all my negative points centre around Mirielle!) (hide spoiler)] The Audiobook experience: The audiobook was narrated by Nicole Poole and she did an excellent job of taking me through the 12.5 hours long audio. Her enunciation and voice acting was superb. I really enjoyed her narration. Overall, I would recommend this book if you want to know more about how lepers received the short end of the stick in historical America for no fault of theirs. So this is a historical fiction where I found the historical part fabulous and the fiction part, tedious. Thank you, NetGalley and HighBridge Audio, for the audio ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review. *********************** Join me on the Facebook group, Readers Forever! , for more reviews, book-related discussions and fun.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn in FL

    MUST READ SOON! Mirielle West's character is like a phoenix rising from its ashes! Amanda Skenandore writes about a woman every woman envy's. A beautiful, wealthy woman of three children, married to a kissable Hollywood actor, she has everything! Only to loose it when she is diagnosed and sent from hospital for a blister on her thumb to the leprosy colony in Louisiana in 1928. Totally unprepared both mentally, emotionally, she sticks out in the tiny bayou colony in her costly clothing and her perf MUST READ SOON! Mirielle West's character is like a phoenix rising from its ashes! Amanda Skenandore writes about a woman every woman envy's. A beautiful, wealthy woman of three children, married to a kissable Hollywood actor, she has everything! Only to loose it when she is diagnosed and sent from hospital for a blister on her thumb to the leprosy colony in Louisiana in 1928. Totally unprepared both mentally, emotionally, she sticks out in the tiny bayou colony in her costly clothing and her perfect English. She thought she would be wearing the same clothing from her Los Angeles life and only be absent for her youngest first birthday, only to discover that people only leave if they are not actively sick for 12 straight months based on a skin test which is an unusual feat. As she struggles to endure the structure of her new life, one trauma after another happens. Mirielle feels so terribly disconnected with her former life as she looks at the evening gowns she brought along as if she were going on a spa retreat. She is sold out by her husband, who fears he will be blackballed, goes on to tell an equally horrible story about her reason for being out of town so long. Likewise, she finds that few care for her airs or sophistication. Out of desire to leave, she volunteers to make herself useful to the medical personnel, though not all expecting to be assigned to cleaning smelly feet at the foot clinic or change sheets in the infirmary. She eventually realizes that even she dislikes the person she had become, prior to leprosy. As she begins to care for others among her and begins to mother a young girl, who has been completely ignored by her own beleaguered family. Mirielle starts to see life in a different way especially as she reveals life from the inside of this colony, where many have been forgotten by family, which has more deeply wounded many of her community. Mirielle comes to value the things that really matter besides a pretty gown or a beautiful piece of jewelry. Skenandore does a stellar job of writing a dynamic character in Mirielle and several of her friends in the community. I loved the character study in this man vs. nature tale. The characterizations felt real. The Louisiana weather was very real (I've stayed there a spell). I liked how she plotted the story, as the starts and stops occur as Mirielle tries to break free from her selfishness and even a tad narcissistic behaviors (which initially turned me off). I liked the realism and the historical portions woven in as well into this well written story. This is not a story written as chick-lit by any means, I believe the men who are drawn to it, will find it a worthy read as well (I promise there isn't too much clothing or hair talk). I also learned that this disease now more popularly called "Hansen's Disease" is not the same as that cited in the Bible. This author did some great research and it yielded a book to be proud of, and read... Thank you to Goodreads, Kensington Publishing and author, Amanda Skenandore for providing a free copy in exchange for my honest appraisal.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    I received this from a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. 1920s. Mirielle West is living a life of glamour in Hollywood. She is married to a movie star, attending parties and lunching with friends. Life though is not all fun and social events, she has two young daughters and lost her son in a tragic accident. When a small burn brings a doctor to their home, Mirielle is shocked by her diagnosis of leprosy. She is quietly sent away to the Louisiana Leper Home in Carville, where she I received this from a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. 1920s. Mirielle West is living a life of glamour in Hollywood. She is married to a movie star, attending parties and lunching with friends. Life though is not all fun and social events, she has two young daughters and lost her son in a tragic accident. When a small burn brings a doctor to their home, Mirielle is shocked by her diagnosis of leprosy. She is quietly sent away to the Louisiana Leper Home in Carville, where she assumes a new identity so as not to bring shame on her family. Though the patients are well cared for, the compound is well secured, and those who try to escape are punished. Mirielle is desparate to return to her husband, children and prior life. Sadly her disease has labelled her as an outcast and someone to be feared and despised. She struggles to assimilate into her new environment and find a sense of community. But as she accepts her new circumstances and evolves into a stronger, better woman, in many ways Mirielle reinvents herself and discovers the strengths she once possessed. A fabulous glimpse into a piece of history I knew nothing about. The novel was compelling and well researched.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tahera

    I have said this before as well: one of the reasons why I love reading historical fiction is because I get to read about stories, people, things, events, etc. that are generally not brought to light in history books--atleast not the personal and emotional aspects. In the Second Life of Mirielle West I got to read about the only leper colony that existed in USA, located at Carville, Louisiana during the roaring twenties. The characters depicted may all be fictional but the thoughts, dreams, hopes I have said this before as well: one of the reasons why I love reading historical fiction is because I get to read about stories, people, things, events, etc. that are generally not brought to light in history books--atleast not the personal and emotional aspects. In the Second Life of Mirielle West I got to read about the only leper colony that existed in USA, located at Carville, Louisiana during the roaring twenties. The characters depicted may all be fictional but the thoughts, dreams, hopes & emotions of love, loss, longing, acceptance and suffering highlighted by them all must definitely echo of those people who did inhabit this colony. The book is about people suffering from a disease which causes them to be shunned as social outcasts and yet it is positive--positive because despite being dealt with a bad hand, these people strive to not be bowed down to their predicament and work towards building new, fulfilling and meaningful lives and relationships for themselves just like Mirielle West, the wife of a rich, famous Hollywood actor who is sent to Carville does. I listened to the audiobook. At over 12 hours it is a lengthy audiobook and I was initially concerned if I would be able to follow easily but the brilliant and emotive narration by Nicole Poole made it worth the listen. This novel seems well researched and has a lot of characters playing a part in the storyline and Nicole Poole did an outstanding job bringing each and every character's voice and personality to life. This is probably the first audiobook where I easily recognised which character was speaking just by the voice modulation. My thanks to NetGalley, the audio publisher Highbridge Audio and the author Amanda Skenandore for the audio ARC of the book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    This book was a pleasant surprise. I must admit I knew next to nothing about the subject of leprosy in North American, in fact, I was surprised to learn that it still existed. A century ago, in the 1920s, leprosy was something still being dealt with in a secretive, primitive way in a changing world. This story while fictional, is based on the true story of America’s only leper colony in Louisiana known as Carville. It starts with the very glamorous and spoiled wife, Mireille West, of a silent fi This book was a pleasant surprise. I must admit I knew next to nothing about the subject of leprosy in North American, in fact, I was surprised to learn that it still existed. A century ago, in the 1920s, leprosy was something still being dealt with in a secretive, primitive way in a changing world. This story while fictional, is based on the true story of America’s only leper colony in Louisiana known as Carville. It starts with the very glamorous and spoiled wife, Mireille West, of a silent film star who has been living a depressed and reclusive life after the drowning death of her seven-year-old son. Drinking heavily and leaving the raising of her two young daughters to the nanny, she is emotionally removed from her husband as well. Due to a small spot on her thumb, and diagnosed by her doctor as a leper, she is suddenly uprooted from her home and sent to Carville many miles from her home and privileged lifestyle. The method of departure is brutal, her husband won’t even touch her when saying goodbye and she must travel in a boxcar to her destination which is quite a cultural shock for someone of her stature. I can’t even begin to describe the horrors and repulsion felt by the public towards the people labeled lepers. At first, Mireille can only accept that she has been misdiagnosed, then that she will soon be cured. All she wants is to get back to her family. Finally, as realization sets it, she goes through many phases of despair, hope, and acceptance. As she settles into the leper community, she begins making friends with people she once would not have even spoke to and begins to care about things once unknown. As she grows mentally and spiritually, she realizes her own self-worth and purpose. This book while educational and amazing did drag a bit in places, but that did not detract from my enjoyment and appreciation of the story. I was astonished to learn that something of this magnitude happened in our country a century ago and the atrocities that these people experienced. I thank NetGalley and the publisher, Kensington Publishing, for the opportunity to read this book for my honest opinion. I gave this book four stars!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Susan Peterson

    The Second Life of Mirielle West is an astonishing novel; thought-provoking, eye-opening, and extremely sensitive to the plight of its characters. Set in 1927, it tells the story of a beautiful, self-centered, grief-stricken socialite, Mirielle West, who is diagnosed with leprosy and sent to a home for lepers in Louisiana. The author brings to light not only the horrors of the disease, but also the stigma, bias, misconceptions and cruelty that followed those afflicted. Mirielle is one of the mos The Second Life of Mirielle West is an astonishing novel; thought-provoking, eye-opening, and extremely sensitive to the plight of its characters. Set in 1927, it tells the story of a beautiful, self-centered, grief-stricken socialite, Mirielle West, who is diagnosed with leprosy and sent to a home for lepers in Louisiana. The author brings to light not only the horrors of the disease, but also the stigma, bias, misconceptions and cruelty that followed those afflicted. Mirielle is one of the most complex characters I’ve ever encountered in a book. Her transformation from the beginning of her story to the end is difficult and oftentimes frustrating and hurtful, but always genuine and believable—in the end, I cared deeply for her as well as the other residents of Carville, and I was in tears at the end of the book. Thank you to author Amanda Skenandore for bringing out so many emotions and for educating readers about a very difficult subject. Historical fiction at its very best, placing me directly into the time and place, and doing so with diligence and heart.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kari

    My Review for THE SECOND LIFE OF MIRIELLE WEST By Amanda Skenandore Gifted & Published by @KensintonBooks On Sale: 7/27/21 - Link In Bio ***** Based on a true story. I was so fascinated with this brutally honest telling of what life was like finding out not only that you have leprosy but that you must leave your family and loved ones; sometimes forcibly to a Louisiana Institution just for “Lepers” called Carville. The intense feelings you feel for the characters make you think how the real life patie My Review for THE SECOND LIFE OF MIRIELLE WEST By Amanda Skenandore Gifted & Published by @KensintonBooks On Sale: 7/27/21 - Link In Bio ***** Based on a true story. I was so fascinated with this brutally honest telling of what life was like finding out not only that you have leprosy but that you must leave your family and loved ones; sometimes forcibly to a Louisiana Institution just for “Lepers” called Carville. The intense feelings you feel for the characters make you think how the real life patients suffered and how they felt such isolation. It gives you such insight into a disease that at one time was held with such a horrible stigma that it could ruin the lives of the sick person and their families; sometimes losing everything. At the Institution, patients found others like themselves and formed friendships and tried to make a better life out of the hand of cards they were given. All hoping that one day they would be cured and be able to return hone. Mirielle is married to a famous movie star and has two beautiful daughters. When she cuts her hand, her doctor notices a patch of pale skin on her hand that he tests and it comes back as being leprosy. She must leave immediately, so as not to infect anyone else, to an an institution just for leprosy. She goes under another name so her family doesn’t suffer any shame. Thinking she will go and get cleared that her case isn’t leprosy, doesn’t go as planned. The results again come back positive and she is told she cannot leave until she has had 10 consecutive months of negative results showing she is no longer is carrying the disease. During this time she goes from the upper niche of society and grows into another person all together. One that is nurturing and caring for the patients to pass the time but eventually forming bonds with them and getting involved with many of the institutions happenings. But while she’s away, the strain on her marriage and secrets that come out make Mirielle rethink what life she really wants after all.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Willow Anne

    I'm not entirely sure why, but it's been difficult for me to identify specific things that I liked and disliked about this novel. I'm still going to try, however, I feel that this book is just okay overall. I'm having trouble pinning down why I feel that way, but after reading the book, that's just the feeling it gave me. I didn't love it, but I certainly didn't hate it, and there were separate, distinct aspects of the book that made me feel that way. I suppose that one of the reasons I liked re I'm not entirely sure why, but it's been difficult for me to identify specific things that I liked and disliked about this novel. I'm still going to try, however, I feel that this book is just okay overall. I'm having trouble pinning down why I feel that way, but after reading the book, that's just the feeling it gave me. I didn't love it, but I certainly didn't hate it, and there were separate, distinct aspects of the book that made me feel that way. I suppose that one of the reasons I liked reading it was because it taught me something that I had never known before. I, as mentioned by the author in the author's note, had no idea that leprosy was still an active disease in the U.S., so this book really enlightened me on that topic. It also gave me a glimpse into how stigmatized those who had that disease might feel, as they were ostracized by, not only their community, but also their close friends and family. Also, I do have to say that the ending was lovely. When I first began reading, I thought that there was no possible way for there to be a happy ending, but I'm really glad that I was proven wrong. I also appreciated the writing, as it was perfectly descriptive and put me right there in the midst of it all. However, near the end of the book, the writing also became something that I disliked about the novel. Unfortunately, the lengthy descriptions of setting caused me to lose interest slightly, so that I began to almost unconsciously skim read through it just to get to the ending. While saying that, I would much rather have too lengthy descriptions than too short ones, so that wasn't a big issue for me. Other than that though, I'm just not really sure what else I disliked about the novel. It's usually easy for me to identify my dislikes, but in this case, I'm just coming away from reading it with a feeling of indifference. Nonetheless, I am glad that I was able to learn about this little known part of history, and this novel inspired me to do further research on the topic, so I definitely think that this author's goal was accomplished.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tissie

    The Second Life of Mirielle West is the story of a ‘20 socialite, Mirielle, who gets diagnosed with leprosy. Nowadays, this disease is treatable with antibiotics; back then, it still carried a huge social stigma, meaning that patients were just carted off to special hospitals. Mirielle ends up in one of them, a Louisiana military facility named Carville, away from her husband and her daughters. From then on, her life will never be the same. [Keep reading @ Bookshelves & Teacups] The Second Life of Mirielle West is the story of a ‘20 socialite, Mirielle, who gets diagnosed with leprosy. Nowadays, this disease is treatable with antibiotics; back then, it still carried a huge social stigma, meaning that patients were just carted off to special hospitals. Mirielle ends up in one of them, a Louisiana military facility named Carville, away from her husband and her daughters. From then on, her life will never be the same. [Keep reading @ Bookshelves & Teacups]

  15. 4 out of 5

    theliterateleprechaun

    Inspired by a true story, Amanda Skenandore writes to inform us of a Louisiana leprosy hospital where patients were forcibly quarantined and a New York socialite in the 1920s who never expected to find herself in such a place. What started out as a quick doctor’s appointment for a busy 32 year old mother of two, ended up as a longer than anticipated stay in Carville Hospital. With a husband in the movie business and a packed entertainment schedule including New York’s elite, Mirielle West doesn’ Inspired by a true story, Amanda Skenandore writes to inform us of a Louisiana leprosy hospital where patients were forcibly quarantined and a New York socialite in the 1920s who never expected to find herself in such a place. What started out as a quick doctor’s appointment for a busy 32 year old mother of two, ended up as a longer than anticipated stay in Carville Hospital. With a husband in the movie business and a packed entertainment schedule including New York’s elite, Mirielle West doesn’t notice a small patch of pale skin on the back of her hand. Not allowed to return home, she’s whisked from the doctor’s office to a train car full of other leprosy victims and sent to quarantine in Louisiana. In the 1920s, Leprosy, or Hansen’s Disease, was still fraught with stigma and there was no known cure. In fact, Mirielle herself is part of the ongoing experimental treatments conducted in an effort to find a cure. We read of a woman who is stripped of everything that identifies her: name, wealth, status, family. She’s forced to live in simple, meager conditions, with no outside contact, and yet, this initially superficial woman digs deep to find the strength to do everything in her power so that she’s not defined by her disease. She emerges from her experience humbled and with an unexpected depth of character. In the aftermath of Carville and the quarantining of its patients, society continues to struggle with pandemic infectious disease. The stigma that Leprosy patients experienced still plays a role today. We just have to look at how we react to those with a positive Covid diagnosis. Thankfully, we have progressed as a society in dealing with infectious disease. However, we still have a ways to come with regards to the emotional support needed for victims who are unable to interact socially and who are isolated due to their disease. Time will reveal how deep the emotional damage is associated with the Covid pandemic. A year to wait for our vaccine is insignificant when compared to the anxiety Mirielle and her Carville patients experienced. As the title suggests, Mirelle experiences something akin to death, followed by a rebirth and the author has masterfully captured the essence of quarantine through her skillful prose and meticulous research. It takes a skilled author to impart knowledge seamlessly into the plot. Not once did I feel that Skenandore was lecturing readers. I hope to take the empathy I developed while reading and use it in my interactions in the immediate future. We could all do with a little reminder about the role hope plays in the struggle for survival and help to foster it in another. Thank you to Amanda Skenandore, Kensington Books and Edelweiss for the opportunity to read this amazing historical fiction. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. Publishes July 27, 2021

  16. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Schmidt (Reading is My SuperPower)

    One thing I love most about historical fiction is how it makes me smarter about certain periods of time or events or people. Before reading The Second Life of Mirelle West, my experiential knowledge of leprosy was limited to Biblical lepers and an episode of Monk. After turning the final page, I can say I now have a deeper, more compassionate view of the people who suffered from it. While I don’t have to endure nearly the stigma or hopelessness or visible illness that patients with leprosy did h One thing I love most about historical fiction is how it makes me smarter about certain periods of time or events or people. Before reading The Second Life of Mirelle West, my experiential knowledge of leprosy was limited to Biblical lepers and an episode of Monk. After turning the final page, I can say I now have a deeper, more compassionate view of the people who suffered from it. While I don’t have to endure nearly the stigma or hopelessness or visible illness that patients with leprosy did historically, I do know what it’s like to have a life-changing disease with no known cure and to be willing to try just about anything for the promise of restored health. More than just words on a page, the patients in this story connected with me on a human level, from their emotions to their resilience and everything in between. Mirielle is a complicated protagonist with a great deal of character growth as the novel progresses. Yet, just like nonfictional people, sometimes that growth regresses before it finally sticks. These ebbs and flows in Mirielle’s time at Carville made her all the more realistic, and I appreciate the author’s choices in shaping her character this way. Admittedly, Mirielle isn’t always that likable but she is relatable when the reader allows herself to imagine her own reactions if what was happening to Mirielle should happen to her too. Putting yourself in Mirielle’s high heeled shoes will stir your compassion and soften some of Mirielle’s rough edges. Bottom Line: Imagine going to the doctor for a simple burn or an allergic reaction and being immediately isolated and taken away from your husband, your children, and your comfortable Hollywood life to live in a leper colony on the opposite side of the country with little to no explanation. Imagine the emotions you would be experiencing – denial, rage, grief, fear, disgust, regret. Now you’ve got an idea of what our protagonist is facing in The Second Life of Mirielle West. The history is fascinating and disturbing, all at once, and I immediately wanted to learn more about this time of medical science and social stigmas. Even against the backdrop of an illness that has had significant medical advances in the last 100 years, you begin to realize that human nature never really changes, a fact that makes this novel infinitely more relatable than it first appears to be. An intriguing testament of the will to survive and the power of perspective. (I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book) Reviewer’s Note: Readers may want to be aware that there is considerably more cursing & profanity in this book than those I normally review. It’s not rampant, by any means, but it’s definitely more than I personally prefer. first reviewed on Reading Is My SuperPower

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jayne

    Los Angeles socialite/wife/mother Mirielle West receives a surprise diagnosis of leprosy from her doctor in 1926.  To avoid embarrassing and stigmatizing her family, Mirielle is secretly exiled to a leper colony in rural Carville, Louisiana for what she hopes will be a swift cure.  The conditions in the Louisiana Leper Home are dire and Mirielle quickly goes from living a glamourous Hollywood life to hitting rock bottom.  In Marielle's "Second Life" at Carville, she needs to accept being ostracize Los Angeles socialite/wife/mother Mirielle West receives a surprise diagnosis of leprosy from her doctor in 1926.  To avoid embarrassing and stigmatizing her family, Mirielle is secretly exiled to a leper colony in rural Carville, Louisiana for what she hopes will be a swift cure.  The conditions in the Louisiana Leper Home are dire and Mirielle quickly goes from living a glamourous Hollywood life to hitting rock bottom.  In Marielle's "Second Life" at Carville, she needs to accept being ostracized/ shunned as well as the fact that leprosy will drastically change her appearance. This book's premise of transformation, resilience, and survival was ultra-compelling. The book was also very well researched and throughout the entire book, I enjoyed learning about a disease and period in history that I knew very little about. I was clueless that during the 1920s leprosy was "hush-hush" and that being diagnosed with leprosy was a stigma for the patient AND the patient's family.  Upon arriving at Carville, patients were encouraged to take on a new identity to avoid the social stigma of the disease. Just like the COVID pandemic, the public's fear of catching this disease was real and intense.  All this being said, I was looking forward to a 5-star read.  Overall, the book was wordy and lacked the tempo that I had been expecting. The author created a great protagonist yet I felt that her character development was one-dimensional and lacking.   I listened to the audiobook and the narration was excellent. Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 3.5 stars.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lu

    A devastating diagnosis leads a frivolous socialite to a more meaningful life. Mirielle was a socialite, married to a movie star, living in Los Angeles in the mid-1920s. After her son was killed in an accident, Mirielle’s shallow life got even more unstable by her constant drinking. She lived from party to party with a pasted smile on her lips. One day, a minor burn leads to an unimaginable diagnosis. Mirielle had Hansen’s disease (leprosy). Mirielle was then forcibly removed from her family and hom A devastating diagnosis leads a frivolous socialite to a more meaningful life. Mirielle was a socialite, married to a movie star, living in Los Angeles in the mid-1920s. After her son was killed in an accident, Mirielle’s shallow life got even more unstable by her constant drinking. She lived from party to party with a pasted smile on her lips. One day, a minor burn leads to an unimaginable diagnosis. Mirielle had Hansen’s disease (leprosy). Mirielle was then forcibly removed from her family and home and placed at a leper colony in Louisiana. The book is a masterpiece; beautifully written and so very emotional. Mirielle’s development throughout the pages was remarkably inspiring. It showed that even the worse fate can bring an opportunity for personal growth and that happiness is what one makes of it. The side characters were unforgettable. Sister Verena touched me with her ambivalence: she was cold, but she helped Mirielle when she most needed it. I loved the fact that the author did not sugarcoat the gravity of the patients’ situations. Things were dire, but life became bearable because of their mutual love, respect, and friendship. Despite the sadness of the subject, the story is uplifting and encouraging. Even suffering from the disease and its stigma, the characters managed to find love, peace, and happiness. The Second Life of Mirielle West is a beautiful and touching story about perseverance, hope, friendship, and love. Highly recommended! Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. *For more reviews, book art, and book-related articles, please visit https://lureviewsbooks.com *

  19. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    Engrossing and interesting. A young socialite mother develops leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) in the 1920s. Mirielle, aka Polly, grows from a somewhat airy character into a woman of strength and mission as the story develops. One omission in the story is that it is never explained where or how she got the disease, since it is not highly contagious and seems to require long term exposure for transmission.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sarah 🌺 Books in Their Natural Habitat

    This is a historical fiction book about Mirelle, the wife of a silent film star who is found to have leprosy in the 1920s and is quarantined in a leper home many states away from her husband and children. She struggles to adjust to her new less than glamorous life, and to admit that she does have the disease. I really enjoyed this book and bonus points that it’s about a subject you don’t read about much! It’s my favorite out of the three books of Amanda’s I’ve read. I had a love hate relationship This is a historical fiction book about Mirelle, the wife of a silent film star who is found to have leprosy in the 1920s and is quarantined in a leper home many states away from her husband and children. She struggles to adjust to her new less than glamorous life, and to admit that she does have the disease. I really enjoyed this book and bonus points that it’s about a subject you don’t read about much! It’s my favorite out of the three books of Amanda’s I’ve read. I had a love hate relationship with Mirelle: on the one hand, there’s something really endearing about her and relatable as she’s in denial about what’s happening to her. At the same time, she can’t see beyond her own nose, as one of the characters put it. She is clearly used to having her way but is also dealing with a lot from her life before. She has quite a journey by the end of the book!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Huether

    A story based on true events. 1920 Mirielle West , a mother, socialite in Los Angles, noticed irritations on her skin that look odd. When she visited her doctor he said she had leprosy and would be sent to rural Louisiana to the Carville hospital. It was hard for her to fit in. Other patients were worse off than her . Many died than were discharged. In 1942 a new drug was discovered. It helped cure the patients. Mirielle was finally released to her family. they were delighted to see her. I won this A story based on true events. 1920 Mirielle West , a mother, socialite in Los Angles, noticed irritations on her skin that look odd. When she visited her doctor he said she had leprosy and would be sent to rural Louisiana to the Carville hospital. It was hard for her to fit in. Other patients were worse off than her . Many died than were discharged. In 1942 a new drug was discovered. It helped cure the patients. Mirielle was finally released to her family. they were delighted to see her. I won this free book from Kensington Publishers

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cathy Branciforte

    Well written, thoroughly researched and filled with characters that I can’t stop thinking about, this is one of the better historical fiction books I’ve read in awhile. The only other novel I’d read that was about leprosy was Molokai by Alan Brennert. It’s hard to imagine this happening to people in the USA as recently as the 1940’s, where they were locked up in the Carville facility in Louisiana and left there by their families is unimaginable. How some managed to live their lives while there i Well written, thoroughly researched and filled with characters that I can’t stop thinking about, this is one of the better historical fiction books I’ve read in awhile. The only other novel I’d read that was about leprosy was Molokai by Alan Brennert. It’s hard to imagine this happening to people in the USA as recently as the 1940’s, where they were locked up in the Carville facility in Louisiana and left there by their families is unimaginable. How some managed to live their lives while there is what this story is about, based on the author’s research. The epilogue at the end of the book is an explanation of her research, which sent me on my own google search, always a good sign that a book has piqued my interest and my need to know more. That’s the best part about historical fiction! Many thanks to Kensington Books and Edelweiss for the digital review copy!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Besides Hawaii's Moloka'i, I'd never heard of other leper colonies in the U.S., so this novel offered me a fascinating look into how the disease was treated here in the 1920's and 30's. Not only was it interesting to read about the medical procedures used, but it was intriguing (and heartbreaking) to learn how patients were seen and treated by those in the outside world. The fact that the disease was so misunderstood by both medical professionals and the general public is especially thought-prov Besides Hawaii's Moloka'i, I'd never heard of other leper colonies in the U.S., so this novel offered me a fascinating look into how the disease was treated here in the 1920's and 30's. Not only was it interesting to read about the medical procedures used, but it was intriguing (and heartbreaking) to learn how patients were seen and treated by those in the outside world. The fact that the disease was so misunderstood by both medical professionals and the general public is especially thought-provoking considering all that has gone on in our COVID world (particularly anti-Asian sentiment). For these reasons and more, THE SECOND LIFE OF MIRIELLE WEST would make a good, discussion-worthy book club pick. As far as characters go, the book is filled with complex and likable folk, of whom Mirielle is actually my least favorite. She's sympathetic, yes, but she's also hard to like because of her snobbery, self-centeredness, and constant self-pity. Her evolution as a character is evident throughout the novel, but I still found it difficult to really relate to her. Story-wise, this novel moves slowly without a focused plot to really keep it moving. Still, it's compelling and I definitely wanted to finish the book so I could see how it ended. While I didn't absolutely love this novel, I did like it for its intriguing subject matter, its sensitive portrayal of a devastating disease, its thought-provoking story, and its atmospheric historical setting. If I could, I would give it 3 1/2 stars; since I can't, I'm rounding up.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    I loved this book! A huge thank you to Kensington Books, Amanda Skenandore, NetGalley and Highbridge Audio for my advanced copies. What I Loved- The History- I love historical fiction that teaches me new things. I had no idea that there was a leper colony in the United States. Amanda Skenandore did an amazing job of educating the reader on what leprosy is and the toll that it took on the people who were diagnosed with the disease. This book takes place in the 1920's - before there was a curable I loved this book! A huge thank you to Kensington Books, Amanda Skenandore, NetGalley and Highbridge Audio for my advanced copies. What I Loved- The History- I love historical fiction that teaches me new things. I had no idea that there was a leper colony in the United States. Amanda Skenandore did an amazing job of educating the reader on what leprosy is and the toll that it took on the people who were diagnosed with the disease. This book takes place in the 1920's - before there was a curable treatment. Thank you so much Amanda Skenandore for your knowledge and research while writing this novel. The Characters- I was so invested in these characters. This book is recommended for fans of Marie Benedict and Fiona Davis and I agree BUT this book was giving me Kristin Hannah vibes. The attachment I had to Mirielle and the patients of The Louisiana Leper Home was very reminiscent of the way I feel when reading KH. I wanted all of them to do well and get better. The Audio- I was gifted an early audio copy as well as a physical and I am so thankful. I went with the audio because it suits my busy lifestyle at the moment. This book is narrated by Nicole Poole. She did a great job. Overall- Highly recommend. I cannot wait to tackle Amanda Skenandore's back list and I look forward to anything she publishes in the future.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dawnny

    This takes place during roaring 1920's. The wife of a Silent film star suddenly finds her life is about to change when she is diagnosed with Leprosy. Through this story we learn what it was like to have that disease when she suddenly has to be sent away to a leper colony in Louisiana to be quarantined away from her family and society. Based on historical facts that give this story such an emotional grip. This story will stay with you long after you read it. Dawnny Ruby Novels N Latte Hudson Valle This takes place during roaring 1920's. The wife of a Silent film star suddenly finds her life is about to change when she is diagnosed with Leprosy. Through this story we learn what it was like to have that disease when she suddenly has to be sent away to a leper colony in Louisiana to be quarantined away from her family and society. Based on historical facts that give this story such an emotional grip. This story will stay with you long after you read it. Dawnny Ruby Novels N Latte Hudson Valley NY

  26. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Thank you so much to Kensington Books for the free copy of "The Second Life of Mirielle West" by Amanda Skenandore. Warning: Be sure to allow for some late nights of reading if, like me, you are unable to stop reading this book. I got pulled in from the beginning and literally HAD to know what happened to Mirielle, as well as other characters in the book. This book delves into Hansen's Disease, known as leprosy in the 1920's (the time period this novel is set). I had no idea that there were sanit Thank you so much to Kensington Books for the free copy of "The Second Life of Mirielle West" by Amanda Skenandore. Warning: Be sure to allow for some late nights of reading if, like me, you are unable to stop reading this book. I got pulled in from the beginning and literally HAD to know what happened to Mirielle, as well as other characters in the book. This book delves into Hansen's Disease, known as leprosy in the 1920's (the time period this novel is set). I had no idea that there were sanitariums in the United States strictly to house those who had leprosy. The main character of this novel is Mirielle West, a wealthy socialite, wife of a silent film star, and mother. Once it is determined that she has leprosy, she is taken by train to Carville, Louisiana to the U.S. Marine Hospital Sixty-Six. There, she is forcibly quarantined with other patients in a huge facility run by nuns. This book details Mirielle's struggles as she learns to live a new life away from her family and the comforts of home. This book was fascinating. I had never read any of Amanda Skenandore's other historical novels, but now I will be reading all of them. She is a gifted storyteller.

  27. 4 out of 5

    ☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣

    At the risk of sounding a real killjoy: I'd think people with lepra would have some sense to stay the heck away from alligators and not risking any more body parts for the joy of getting those unlucky froggies. I'd also like to add some words of choice on behalf of frogs but I'll just stick to imagining just how daft people must have seemed to them at that moment. Imagine yourself sitting in some pond, singing the frog song and voila! some morons come in, grab you and take you away to race. All At the risk of sounding a real killjoy: I'd think people with lepra would have some sense to stay the heck away from alligators and not risking any more body parts for the joy of getting those unlucky froggies. I'd also like to add some words of choice on behalf of frogs but I'll just stick to imagining just how daft people must have seemed to them at that moment. Imagine yourself sitting in some pond, singing the frog song and voila! some morons come in, grab you and take you away to race. All of that to supposedly amuse kids. Huh. Not the most nature-friendly way to go about that.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    Remarkable! As I journeyed with this wealthy, spoiled young woman from the Roaring 20’s as she was suddenly shipped off to New Orleans because it was discovered that she had leprosy, I experienced her disorienting, world turned upside down life in a profoundly personal and disorienting way! How would I have responded? In her time, there was no cure for the disease and the multiple forms of distaste, disgust, and rejection she and her follow sufferers experienced were heartrending to read. I put this Remarkable! As I journeyed with this wealthy, spoiled young woman from the Roaring 20’s as she was suddenly shipped off to New Orleans because it was discovered that she had leprosy, I experienced her disorienting, world turned upside down life in a profoundly personal and disorienting way! How would I have responded? In her time, there was no cure for the disease and the multiple forms of distaste, disgust, and rejection she and her follow sufferers experienced were heartrending to read. I put this book down feeling that I had for a while been most uncomfortably inside another’s skin, a place I desperately did not want to be. Recommended!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kylie

    My Recommendation **audiobook version** Narrator 5 stars Story 5 stars What an incredible (and educational) story. The writing was so beautiful it was hard not to fall inlove with all of the characters. And I'm not ashamed to say I had a tear in my eyes at the end. My Recommendation **audiobook version** Narrator 5 stars Story 5 stars What an incredible (and educational) story. The writing was so beautiful it was hard not to fall inlove with all of the characters. And I'm not ashamed to say I had a tear in my eyes at the end.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    The Second Life of Mirielle West by Amanda Skenandore is an excellent historical fiction that covers a lesser-known aspect of US history involving Hansen’s Disease in the earlier part of the 20th century. As a Practitioner, I learned in school about Hansen’s disease, or leprosy as most recognize it , and know about the etiology and evolution of treatment with antibiotics, as well as its general place in history in Europe. What I did not know was about the institution named Carville in Louisiana The Second Life of Mirielle West by Amanda Skenandore is an excellent historical fiction that covers a lesser-known aspect of US history involving Hansen’s Disease in the earlier part of the 20th century. As a Practitioner, I learned in school about Hansen’s disease, or leprosy as most recognize it , and know about the etiology and evolution of treatment with antibiotics, as well as its general place in history in Europe. What I did not know was about the institution named Carville in Louisiana that truly existed well into the early-mid 20th century and how the patients that resided there were treated. I am stunned that such archaic and atrocious practices took place in such modern times. However, I do I enjoy it when I am able to learn about something new while reading HF, and I enjoyed that aspect of this novel, as well as the Author’s note at the end. I also enjoyed the fictional story of Mirielle and her transformation into a different, and dare I say, more mature and thoughtful woman after contracting HD and being placed into this facility. Through her exposure to her fellow patients, her changes in circumstances, and her choice to fight against and overcome her newfound adversities, she was able to reprioritize and find what really matters in life. I enjoyed reading her transformation despite the sad and difficult surroundings. This is such a unique and impressive story that I highly recommend. 5/5 stars Thank you NG and Kensington for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication.

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