The Second Life of Mirielle West is the third book written by Amanda Skenandore that I’ve read and hopefully it won’t be last. I am pleased to welcome Ms. Skenandore today as she tours the internet with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.
About The Second Life of Mirielle West by Amanda Skenandore
Publication Date: July 27, 2021
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?
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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.
I will start this review by noting that I loved Ms. Skenendore’s other two books so I was really looking forward to reading her latest. She writes in a way that just pulls the reader into the story and you feel like you are watching a movie in your head. At least that what it is like for me and these are my favorite authors. There are only a few that really pull me in and I rejoice every time one of them releases a new book. Ms. Skendore takes her readers on journeys into places that you would think would be off putting – the world of leprosy here and undertaking in her last book but trust me – the books are exceptionally well done, completely involving and on my shelf to read again.
OK, now you know I liked the book. Mirielle West is a very complicated character. She is very wrapped up in herself and her glittery world of Hollywood parties and premieres. Her husband is actor and Mirielle loves the life out there – everything is parties and premiers. But soon everything grinds to very sudden halt when a patch of skin is not just a minor issue but leprosy. Mirielle is sent to rural Louisiana with a new name to shield her family and little else. In her mind she will get fixed and be back in no time. Reality is a hard master as they say.
What follows is the shedding of the old Mirielle and finding of the true Mirielle and it’s not an easy process for anyone. But it is a tale worth reading. The ancillary characters are just as well drawn and engaging as the star players and if you pick this book up you will not regret it.
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.