• The Second Life of Mirielle West

  • By: Amanda Skenandore
  • Narrated by: Nicole Poole
  • Length: 12 hrs and 37 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (778 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Los Angeles, 1920s: 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 overindulgence 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.

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?

©2021 Amanda Skenandore (P)2021 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What listeners say about The Second Life of Mirielle West

Average Customer Ratings
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Unique historical fiction not often told

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this novel to read for my honest review. I also listened to the audiobook.

I found The Second Life of Mirielle West to be a terrific read. Amanda Skenandore, through thorough research, transports the reader back to simpler times, while showcasing how the human spirit is similar both today and a century ago in The Roaring 20s. I enjoy historical fiction, particularly when well researched, and found this book to be a gem. Beginning with a 30ish female socialite who never worked or was expected to be anything except beautiful, the author takes the reader through the socialite’s diagnosis, admission to the leprosarium, stages of grief (which are never in a linear path), and lives of those interned beside her while enlightening her audience on the treatments (medical and otherwise) and daily life within the institution. If some readers find too much disdain with the main character’s actions, I recommend they remember the times and her upbringing. As a healthcare administrator, I enjoyed indirectly gaining a greater awareness about the historical aspect of the evolution of informed consent (in this case, once a member of the camp) and medical trials. As frightful and outlandish as some medical trials are (especially as much as they were by modern standards of medicine), these trials tend to lead to cures or solutions, such as for Hansen’s Disease. I felt the pain and joy of the characters and highly recommend this novel. Next up, a visit to the National Hansen’s Museum once it reopens from COVID-19 and a search for more books to read by this author.

36 people found this helpful

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fantabulous book 📖

fantastic 👏 book 📖 absolutely loved it!❤💯 as a nurse for 51 years was completely absorbed by the medical side of the story thanks for a great read!

26 people found this helpful

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Pronunciation

Reader Needs to research how to pronounce towns, medicine, parishes and pirogue! With accent please

21 people found this helpful

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An Education

This was an amazing book. I cannot imagine being torn apart from family and all I know for an indefinite period of time. Knowing my return either hinged on a cure or 12 consecutive clear tests. Amanda Skenandore showed that leprosy touched rich and poor lives, young, old - it did not discriminate. She made her characters very real and described the camp with much detail - made you feel you were right there. Thank you for sharing this wonderful book with everyone and I can't wait to read the next one.

The narrator, Nicole Poole, I'm not sure if it was her sound system, microphone, etc. but her voice sounds very mechanical and at times clipped. As if it was a computer doing the talking. I didn't notice it when she voiced the other characters but it was especially noticeable when she did Muriel's voice.

15 people found this helpful

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good listen

I thought this was a touching story. I even found myself tearing up a few times.

14 people found this helpful

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Educational

Eventful, descriptive and dramatic this book reminded me of a movie made in the ‘50s. I learned much more about Hansen’s disease than I thought I would.

12 people found this helpful

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Worth the credit

I like the narrator despite complaints about her narrating style and/or pronunciation of some words. Yes there were as few mispronounced words but not to distraction. The subject could have been tedious but the author does well at balancing the technical info with the personal stories. This world be a good book club selection.

10 people found this helpful

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well thought out story

I loved this story. it was well researched and thought out. it gave a lot of insight to what the people living in the leper colony may have felt and experienced, and why many of th r m stayed after a cure was found. I look forward to hearing more from this author.

9 people found this helpful

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Great Book

Great book and great narration! I enjoyed it and it was about a topic that I knew nothing about.

7 people found this helpful

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Heartbreaking, but wonderful story!

very well written and narrated. an enjoyable read! I will definitely be interested in looking for other books by this author.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-09-22

Great history but predictable and too flowery.

too flowery too many adjectives and metaphors. 15 words? To paraphrase sorry many review is so long I hadn't time to write a short one

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  • Tommy Flanagan
  • 01-30-22

An Emotional and Educational Experience

An evocative story that highlighted that the stigma of leprosy was often more debilitating than the disease itself. A beautifully balanced tale that avoided the risk of slipping into sentimentality yet provided an emotive account of people who were isolated and confined, torn away from their families and forced into adopting an alternative lifestyle. An author with a lyrical style with a clear sense of righting an injustice along with a fine beautifully read performance. A very impactful narrative.