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Posted on: August 31, 2021

The Second Life of Mirielle West

The Second Life of Mirielle West

From the acclaimed author of The Undertaker's Assistant comes a powerful novel of fact-based historical fiction in which a 1920s Hollywood socialite is forcibly quarantined in the real-life Carville leper hospital in Louisiana-a story of resilience and courage that will resonate with fans of Kristina McMorris and Ellen Marie Wiseman.

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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