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. Based on little-known history, this timely book will strike a chord with readers of Fiona Davis, Tracey Lange, and Marie Benedict.
Based on the true story of America’s only leper colony, The Second Life of Mirielle West brings vividly to life the Louisiana institution known as Carville, where thousands of people were stripped of their civil rights, branded as lepers, and forcibly quarantined throughout the entire 20th century.
For Mirielle West, a 1920’s socialite married to a silent film star, the isolation and powerlessness of the Louisiana Leper Home is an unimaginable fall from her intoxicatingly chic life of bootlegged champagne and the star-studded parties of Hollywood’s Golden Age. When a doctor notices a pale patch of skin on her hand, she’s immediately branded a leper and carted hundreds of miles from home to Carville, taking a new name to spare her family and famous husband the shame that accompanies the disease.
At first she hopes her exile will be brief, but those sent to Carville are more prisoners than patients and their disease has no cure. Instead she must find community and purpose within its walls, struggling to redefine her self-worth while fighting an unchosen fate.
As a registered nurse, Amanda Skenandore’s medical background adds layers of detail and authenticity to the experiences of patients and medical professionals at Carville – the isolation, stigma, experimental treatments, and disparate community. A tale of repulsion, resilience, and the Roaring ‘20s, The Second Life of Mirielle West is also the story of a health crisis in America’s past, made all the more poignant by the author’s experiences during another, all-too-recent crisis.
Mirielle has burned her hand. She calls the doctor in for a house call. She is immediately sent to the hospital. Then, within 24 hours, she is placed on a train and shipped from California to Louisiana. Her life, as she knows it, is over.
Mirielle leaves behind a husband in the movie business plus two young daughters. She is only allowed to write to her family. There is no phone service. She feels like she is in prison not a hospital.
This story tore my heart out in places. The patients, including the children, the horror of the illness and the lack of family interaction, really bring about all your emotions. The rigors of the treatments and the threat of this disease, create a different kind of life for all involved.
I love, love, love a book in which I learn something or a book that is unique and I have not read much about the subject. This one covers both of those things. Being in the medical field, I enjoyed learning about all the strange treatments for leprosy. Also, how the infected patients were actually treated. Add in all the wonderful characters and location and you have a fantastic read!
Nicole Poole is excellent as the narrator of this audiobook. She is now on my list as one to watch for!
Need a book that will keep you captivated from start to finish…THIS IS IT! Grab your copy today.
I received this audiobook from the publisher for a honest review.