Blog Tour Review: The Second Life of Mirielle West

The Second Life of Mirielle West
by Amanda Skenandore

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?

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My Review


Mirielle West has it all: a loving husband, small children and a life in California in the 1920’s for which other women would kill. Her husband is a silent film star and the life they lead in Los Angeles is what we’ve all read about in novels depicting the lives of the rich and famous. Mirielle also has something else—an annoying pale patch of skin on her hand she can’t figure out.

When her doctor delivers the devastating diagnosis- leprosy- she is shuttled off to a leper home in Louisiana called Carville.  There, she is introduced to the residents, some who have been patients for decades.  The author does a fantastic job of not only describing the absolute terror Mirielle feels as a patient, but of her life she left behind as well.  When can she leave and see her children again?  How will her husband handle the day-to-day while keeping her condition a secret? Will her secret get out?  And if it does, what does that mean for her husband and her family’s future?

The repulsion Mirielle feels as she is taken into Carville is described so well.  She is repulsed, avoiding touching anyone or getting too close.  Sure that she will only be there for a short time, she stays to herself and tries to figure out a way to get back home.  As she starts to come to terms with the fact that this disease has no cure, she decides to do whatever it takes to prove the doctors wrong.  She WILL beat this and be home in time for her daughter’s birthday.

However, as the days turn to weeks and her condition does not improve, Mirielle is forced to consider the possibility she will never leave.  Will she continue to push everyone away, or finally accept this new life?

Author Amanda Skenandore has done her research; old accounts of those afflicted show that they were taken from their homes and locked up, most shunned by their family and friends for the rest of their lives.  The stigma associated with this condition was one few would be able to shake during their lifetime, should they be so lucky to be released.

Heartbreaking at times, this book allows us a look into the world of leprosy- a condition that is still very much present in our world.

A five star read I would recommend it to ANY ONE who I know would love a great book!

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

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


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

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