The Woman with The Cure

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The Woman with the Cure book cover

by Lynn Cullen

Publication date: February 21, 2023
Publisher: Berkley
Paperback: 432 Pages

Publisher Description

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.

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About the author

Lynn Cullen is the bestselling author of The Sisters of Summit AvenueTwain’s End, and Mrs. Poe, which was named an NPR 2013 Great Read and an Indie Next List selection.

Read more about Lynn ON HER WEBSITE


The Woman with the Cure is a scrupulously researched history lesson wrapped up in a modern exploration of the evolving role women have played in society. Dorothy Horstmann and her contemporaries deserve their place in America’s medical hall of fame and Lynn Cullen’s resurrection has done them justice.” —Atlanta Journal Constitution

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“Everyone knows Sabin and Salk created the polio vaccine, but without the work of Dr. Dorothy Horstmann, there never would have been a vaccine in the first place. So huge applause to The Woman With the Cure for bringing Dorothy’s brilliant work to the forefrontand for reminding us that women have always been in sciencedespite those who would pretend otherwise.” Bonnie GarmusNew York Times bestselling author of Lessons in Chemistry

“In The Woman with the Cure, Lynn Cullen illuminates the story of Dr. Dorothy Horstmann, a scientist who was instrumental in discovering the polio vaccine. Through meticulous research and elegant prose, Cullen pens an important and timely story of one of the previously unheard voices of medical history in the race to cure a pandemic and the result is a rewarding read that both enlightens and entertains.” —Pam Jenoff, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Woman with the Blue Star




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