Spotlight: The Second Life of Mirielle West by Amanda Skenandore (review+giveaway)

The Second Life of Mirielle West
by Amanda Skenandore

Publication Date: July 27, 2021
Kensington Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 304 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

In this thought-provoking and sensitive novel, inspired by the true story of a Louisiana leprosy hospital where patients were forcibly quarantined, acclaimed author Amanda Skenandore tells an extraordinarily timely tale of resilience, hope–and the last woman who expected to find herself in such a place…

1920s Los Angeles: Socialite Mirielle West’s days are crowded with shopping, luncheons, and prepping for the myriad glittering parties she attends with her actor husband, Charlie. She’s been too busy to even notice the small patch of pale skin on the back of her hand. Other than an occasional over-indulgence in gin and champagne, which helps to numb the pain of recent tragedy, Mirielle is the picture of health. But her doctor insists on more tests, and Mirielle reluctantly agrees.

The diagnosis–leprosy–is devastating and unthinkable. Changing her name to shield Charlie and their two young children, Mirielle is exiled to rural Louisiana for what she hopes will be a swift cure. But the hospital at Carville turns out to be as much a prison as a place of healing. Deaths far outnumber the discharges, and many patients have languished for years. Some are badly afflicted, others relatively unscathed. For all, the disease’s stigma is just as insidious as its physical progress.

At first, Mirielle keeps her distance from other residents, unwilling to accept her new reality. Gradually she begins to find both a community and a purpose at Carville, helping the nurses and doctors while eagerly anticipating her return home. But even that wish is tinged with uncertainty. How can she bridge the divide between the woman, wife, and mother she was, and the stranger she has become? And what price is she willing to pay to protect the ones she loves?

Amazon | BAM | Barnes and Noble | Bookshop | Hudson Booksellers | IndieBound | Target | Wal-Mart

About the Author

Amanda is the author of Between Earth and Sky, winner of the American Library Association’s 2019 Reading List Award for Best Historical Fiction, and The Undertaker’s Assistant, released from Kensington in July 2019.

She grew up in the mountains of Colorado and sang and danced her way through 68 cities on both sides of the Atlantic with the service organization Up with People before starting college. Her love of historical fiction started early with the stories of Kenneth Thomasma, Mark Twain, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

When she’s not writing, Amanda works as an infection prevention nurse. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and their pet turtle Lenore.

Amanda Skenandore is a historical fiction writer and registered nurse. Between Earth and Sky was her first novel. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Readers can visit her website at www.amandaskenandore.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, BookBub, and Goodreads.

Review

Mirielle West is using alcohol to cope with the depths of grief when she is diagnosed with leprosy and involuntarily quarantined, then transported to the leper colony in Carville, Louisiana. Torn from her family, her only contact becomes the letters her silent film star husband sends and, on the rare occasion she is able to escape past the barb-wire fence, an occasional hurried phone call to Los Angeles.

In denial, selfish, and spoiled, Mirielle – now known as Pauline to hide her identity and avoid any publicity – is slow to accept the friendship offered by her fellow patients. As she becomes involved in the day to day of the hospital, motivated by self interest and a determination to prove herself, Mirielle slowly begins to look outward and accept connections with others.

Mirielle’s life becomes unequal parts trial and adventure, with setbacks and not a little suffering while there is a constant feeling of impending heartache as her family goes on without her while she is surrounded by death and disease. But this is also a hopeful story, as Mirielle comes to terms with her new life and slowly becomes more outwardly focused.

Is there anything better than a well researched bit of little known history turned into a well written and immersive story? In The Second Life of Mirielle West, author Amanda Skenandore shines a light on leprosy and the stigma of the disease in the 1920’s America, creating engaging characters and telling an engrossing story of horror, compassion, and hope. Highly recommended.

This review refers to an Advance Reader Edition I voluntarily received from the publisher. A positive review was not required and all opinions expressed are my own.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, July 20
Feature at The Lit Bitch
Review at Tar Heel Reader

Wednesday, July 21
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks

Thursday, July 22
Review at Lu Reviews Books

Friday, July 23
Review at Novels Alive
Interview at Wishful Endings

Monday, July 26
Review at Reading Is My SuperPower

Tuesday, July 27
Review at Unabridged Chick

Wednesday, July 28
Review at Crystal’s Library

Thursday, July 29
Review at With A Book In Our Hands

Monday, August 2
Review at The Book Review Crew

Tuesday, August 3
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Wednesday, August 4
Review at Bookworlder

Thursday, August 5
Review at Reader_ceygo

Friday, August 6
Review at Girl Who Reads
Interview at Reader_ceygo

Saturday, August 7
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, August 9
Review at Bibliostatic

Tuesday, August 10
Review at The Lotus Reader

Wednesday, August 11
Review at Two Bookish Babes

Friday, August 13
Review at The Enchanted Shelf

Giveaway

Enter to win a paperback copy of The Second Life of Mirielle West!

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on August 13th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Second Life of Mirielle West
https://widget.gleamjs.io/e.js

TSLOMW_Blog Tour BannerNEW

One thought on “Spotlight: The Second Life of Mirielle West by Amanda Skenandore (review+giveaway)

Comments are closed.