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Wickett's remedy : a novel
Myla Goldberg
Adult Fiction GOLDBER

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From Publishers' Weekly:

The author of the bestselling Bee Season returns with an accomplished but peculiarly tensionless historical novel that follows the shifting fortunes of a young Irish-American woman. Raised in tough turn-of-the-century South Boston, Lydia Kilkenny works as a shopgirl at a fancy downtown department store, where she meets shy, hypochondriacal medical student Henry Wickett. After a brief courtship, the two marry (Henry down, Lydia decidedly up) in 1914. Henry quits school to promote his eponymous remedy, whose putative healing powers have less to do with the tasty brew that Lydia concocts than with the personal letters that Henry pens to each buyer. After failing to pass the army physical as the U.S. enters WWI, Henry quickly, dramatically dies of influenza, and Lydia returns to Southie, where she watches friends, neighbors and her beloved brother die in the 1918 epidemic. A flu study that employs human subjects is being conducted on Boston Harbor's Gallups Island; lonely Lydia signs on as a nurse's assistant, and there finds a smidgen of hope and a chance at a happier future. A pastiche of other voices deepens her story: chapters close with snippets from contemporary newspapers, conversations among soldiers and documents revealing the surprising fate of Wickett's Remedy. And the dead offer margin commentaryAby turns wistful, tender and corrective (and occasionally annoying). Yet as well-researched, polished and poignant as the book is, Goldberg never quite locks in her characters' mindsets, and sometimes seems adrift amid period detritus. While readers will admire Lydia, they may not feel they ever truly know her. Agent, Wendy Schmalz. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Irish shopgirl Lydia marries doctor-to-be Henry Wickett, who promptly quits medical school to sell a patent medicine called Wickett's Remedy. And then the Spanish flu hits. More excitement from Bee Season author Goldberg; with a national tour. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Lydia Kilkenny
Female
Irish American
Works at a fancy downtown department store.
Clerk

Henry Wickett
Male
Married
Well-to-do; frail; attends medical school to please his parents; dreams of becoming a journalist; comes up with a mail-order package that contains an elixir and an encouraging letter intended to heal.
Medical student



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