The Second Life of Mirielle West

Amanda Skenandore. Kensington, $15.95 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-4967-2651-3
In this superior historical from Skenandore (Between Earth and Sky), the wife of a 1920s Hollywood actor is transformed by the news of a medical diagnosis. Mirielle West, married to movie star Charlie and mother of two, sees her life upended after Charlie insists she have the family doctor look at a spot on her hand that she thought was a burn scar. The doctor refers her to a dermatologist who tests her lesion and concludes she has leprosy. Mirielle is first isolated in the hospital, then shipped off in a boxcar to Louisiana to become a patient at Carville, the country’s leading treatment center for leprosy. The stark conditions, deformed fellow patients, and news that her affliction is incurable almost breaks Mirielle’s spirit, already fragile after the separation from her children, but she endures by bonding with other patients, styling their hair and helping to change their bandages. Skenandore makes plausible Mirielle’s metamorphosis from Hollywood socialite to active, caring member of the Carville community. The author’s diligent research, as well as her empathetic depiction of those subjected to forced medical isolation, make this a winner. Fans of John Smolens’s Quarantine will be pleased. Agent: Michael Carr, Veritas Literary. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 06/25/2021
Release date: 07/27/2021
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-6966-0392-8
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