In a multi-dimensional, intricately wrought narrative, Myla Goldberg leads us back to Boston in the early part of the twentieth century and into two completely captivating worlds. One is that of Lydia, an Irish American shop girl with bigger ambitions than your average young woman from South Boston. She seems to be well on her way to the life she has dreamed of when she marries Henry Wickett, a shy medical student and the scion of a Boston Brahmin family. However, soon after their wedding, Henry abruptly quits medical school to create a mail-order patent medicine called Wickett’s Remedy, and just as Lydia begins to adjust to her husband’s new vocation, the infamous Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918 begins its deadly sweep across the world, irrevocably changing their lives.
In a world turned almost unrecognizable by swift and sudden tragedy, Lydia finds herself working as a nurse in an experimental ward dedicated to understanding the raging epidemic – through the use of human subjects.
Meanwhile, a parallel narrative explores the world of QD Soda, the illegitimate offspring of Wickett’s Remedy, stolen away by Henry Wickett’s one-time business partner, Quentin Driscoll, who goes about transforming it into a soft drink empire.
Throughout the novel we hear from a chorus of other voices who offer a running commentary from the book’s margins, playing off the ongoing narrative and cleverly illuminating the slippery interplay of perception and memory. Based on years of research and evoking actual events, Wickett’s Remedy perfectly captures the texture of the times and brings a colorful cast of characters vividly to life. The triumphant follow-up to the bestselling Bee Season, Wickett’s Remedy is a brilliant novel about the dream of progress- personal, scientific, commercial, and cultural – featuring a charming heroine whose desire for a better life comes up against the sweep of history. Alive with narrative ingenuity and tinged with humor as well as sorrow, this inspired re-creation of a forgotten era powerfully reminds up how much individual voices matter – in history and in life.