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The Second Life of Mirielle West: Chapter Sampler

by Amanda Skenandore

Published by: Kensington Books

304 Pages

  • ISBN: 9781496736765
  • On Sale: 01/26/2021
  • FICTION / Historical

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Special Extended Excerpt Sneak Peek!
 
Snag your early sneak peek at this thought-provoking novel about a silent film star’s wife whose intoxicatingly glamorous life of star-studded Hollywood parties in the Roaring ‘20s comes to an abrupt end when she’s forced onto a train headed to America’s only leper colony. Inspired by the little-known true history of Carville, a Louisiana institution where thousands of Americans were stripped of their rights and involuntarily quarantined throughout the 20th century, Amanda Skenandore weaves an extraordinary story of resilience, hope, and one woman’s journey from stigma to self-worth.
 
1920s Los Angeles: Socialite Mirielle West’s days are crowded with shopping, luncheons, and prepping for the myriad of 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 the Carville Leprosarium 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’s become? And what price is she willing to pay to protect the ones she loves?
 
Praise for Amanda Skenandore’s Between Earth And Sky
 
“Intensely emotional . . . Skenandore’s deeply introspective and moving novel will appeal to readers of American history.”
Publishers Weekly
 
“Gripping and beautifully written . . . tugs at the heart with its dynamic heroine and unique cast of characters. Though this novel brings alive two historical American eras and settings, the story is achingly modern, universal and important.”
Karen Harper, New York Times bestselling author
 
“This luminous novel examines the complex relationship between love and loss, culture and conquest, annihilation and assimilation.”
Historical Novels Review