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August 6, 2021

The Second Life of Mirielle West by Amanda Skenandore ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

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.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

The Second Life of Mirielle West
July 2021; Kensington; 978-1496726513
audio, ebook, print (384 pages); historical fiction

The Second Life of Mirielle West
 is a well-written and researched novel about strength and resilience no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. It was a learning experience for me  - I had no idea that there was a leper colony in Louisiana that existed from 1894-1999. Carville housed people who had leprosy and thousands of people were stripped of their civil rights, branded as lepers, and forcibly quarantined throughout the entire 20th century

Mirielle was the wife of a silent movie actor and lived an extravagant lifestyle in California in the 1920s.  When she found a lesion on her hand, she thought it was from a burn that she got the day before. She saw her doctor and he immediately put her in isolation at the local hospital and then transferred her hundreds of miles to the leper colony in Louisiana. Life at the colony was totally different from her life in California -- no parties, no fancy clothes, and no champagne. Instead, she was living in a stark place full of sick people.  She knew that her stay would be temporary and that she did NOT have leprosy but felt the need to change her name so that she wouldn't cause bad publicity for her husband.  She had to reinvent herself to fit in with the rest of the patients. When she first arrived, she kept her distance from others because she knew that she'd be going home soon. When she finally accepts her diagnosis, she realizes that she's no different from the other people and begins to make friends, and become part of the community.

It was interesting to watch Mirielle's transformation. When she first arrived at Carville, she was a bit of a snob and knew that she wasn't like the other people there.  As she finally begins to realize that she WAS like the other people, she becomes passionate to help others.  She worked in the clinic and pharmacy to do what she could to help cure the disease.  Even though she still wants to go home to her movie star husband and her two daughters, she begins to make the best of her new life at Carville,

This novel is an in-depth look at the people who were quarantined to the leper colony.  It's emotional and you may shed a few tears but by the end of the book, you will feel like you've met characters who cope with a serious disease but lead happy and useful lives by helping other people,  Mirielle and her strength and resilience made this a fantastic book to read.

About Amanda Skenandore

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 You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, BookBub, and Goodreads.

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina with her husband of over 50 years.  She grew up in Michigan but now calls North Carolina home. Since her travel plans had to be canceled for this year, she is starting to make plans for travel in 2021. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and historical fiction. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter.

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  1. I was curious about this title, thanks for sharing your thoughts

  2. Thank you for your review! I'm so glad you enjoyed the story.

  3. Thank you for this wonderful review and blog tour support!

    HF Virtual Book Tours