Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Blog Tour: The Woman with the Cure by Lynn Cullen

Pages: 400
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: February 21, 2023
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: Mrs. Poe
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "She gave up everything— and changed the world. A riveting novel based on the true story of the woman who stopped a pandemic, from the bestselling author of Mrs. Poe. In 1940s and ’50s America, polio is as dreaded as the atomic bomb. No one’s life is untouched by this disease that kills or paralyzes its victims, particularly children. Outbreaks of the virus across the country regularly put American cities in lockdown. Some of the world’s best minds are engaged in the race to find a vaccine. The man who succeeds will be a god. But Dorothy Horstmann is not focused on beating her colleagues to the vaccine. She just wants the world to have a cure. Applying the same determination that lifted her from a humble background as the daughter of immigrants, to becoming a doctor –often the only woman in the room--she hunts down the monster where it lurks: in the blood. This discovery of hers, and an error by a competitor, catapults her closest colleague to a lead in the race. When his chance to win comes on a worldwide scale, she is asked to sink or validate his vaccine—and to decide what is forgivable, and how much should be sacrificed, in pursuit of the cure."



Dr. Dorothy Horstmann is a doctor in a world where female doctors aren't really accepted and their ideas are pushed aside. Unlike most females from her time period, she isn't focused on marriage and children, instead she is focused on polio. Yes, you heard it right--polio, the life threatening and disabling virus. She is sick of it having such an impact on the world and is dedicating her life to finding a cure. Slowly, Dorothy is making gains despite the many roadblocks in her way as a woman in science. She makes the discovery that polio spreads via the blood to the nervous system and at first her idea is dismissed. But as the years go by a safe vaccine is developed with Dorothy's help and the world will reap its benefits. The Woman with the Cure by Lynn Cullen is a captivating tale that puts readers behind the scenes of the medical community as they race to find a vaccine for polio.

Dorothy was such an interesting woman in The Woman with the Cure. She came from such a humble background and I believe that is what kept her grounded. She had her chance with love as she had a relationship with Arne Holm, but overall, finding a cure for polio was her main priority. She wasn't going to let anything get her off track from her main goal. I appreciated her self-sacrifice and her determination as she never let the setbacks or the sexism stop her. Oftentimes Dorothy was the only woman in the room! I can't imagine how that must have felt, but I am so thankful for her grit and perseverance.

Cullen really highlights the tension and heartbreak that polio brought to the world. While readers can currently relate to some of the aspects of the polio outbreak, polio felt even more scary as it was targeting children. The descriptions of the children impacted were truly heartbreaking. It made the uphill battle to find a vaccine even more important as these young children's story were just so sad. It's crazy to think that it wasn't that long ago when polio impacted the world; in fact, I have a family member that contracted this horrible disease. 

As someone that is very interested in medicine, I found Cullen's descriptions of the science and what goes into the making of a vaccine not only very timely, but very interesting. It pulled the curtain back on what doctors have to go through to research and develop their theories how a virus spreads, etc. Cullen did a very good job researching this overwhelming topic and made it feel accessible to readers.

If you like powerful historical fiction, pick up a copy of The Woman with the Cure. I think you will come away with such an appreciation for all the people involved in developing the polio vaccine, but especially Dorothy Horstmann. Let me know what you think in the comments below and if you'll be adding The Woman with the Cure to your winter TBR list. 



  1. Wow, she sounds like an incredible woman! Just think of all the things that were either completely passed over or took way longer just because a woman suggested it first.

    1. Yes! Exactly! It was an incredible story that definitely gave me an appreciation for all her efforts. Thanks for visiting, Angela!


I really appreciate your comments. Thank you!

Design by: Designer Blogs