Praise for The Quintland Sisters
“The Quintland Sisters is an impeccably researched historical novel that will enthrall you. . . . I could not get this story out of my head long after I finished reading it.”
— Joanna Goodman,
author of The Home for Unwanted Girls
“Wood deftly captures the fascinating collisions between faith and science, powerful and poor, and the tensions that arise when a rural town and its inhabitants are cast under the relentless scrutiny of the public’s obsession with one extraordinary family.”
— Elise Hooper,
author of The Other Alcott and Learning to See
“Meticulously researched and sensitively told, this book is a journey not to be missed.”
— Heather Young, author of The Lost Girls
“Fact and fiction are seamlessly blended and a beautiful, tragic mystery is unspooled. This is a gorgeously written novel about miracles, love, and resilience.”
– Marissa Stapley, author of Mating for Life and Things to Do When It’s Raining
“A charming and well-researched . . . tale of love and survival.
“Wood cleverly combines fact and fiction in a fast-paced novel that will leave readers contemplating how the best intentions of government intervention can have dire, unanticipated consequences.”
– Publishers Weekly
In Shelley Wood’s fiction debut, readers are taken inside the devastating true story of the Dionne Quintuplets, told from the perspective of one young woman who meets them at the moment of their birth.
Reluctant midwife Emma Trimpany is just 17 when she assists at the harrowing birth of the Dionne quintuplets: five tiny miracles born to French farmers in hardscrabble Northern Ontario in 1934. Emma cares for them through their perilous first days and when the government decides to remove the babies from their francophone parents, making them wards of the British king, Emma signs on as their nurse.
Over 6,000 daily visitors come to ogle the identical “Quints” playing in their custom-built playground; at the height of the Great Depression, the tourism and advertising dollars pour in. While the rest of the world delights in their sameness, Emma sees each girl as unique: Yvonne, Annette, Cécile, Marie, and Émilie. With her quirky eye for detail, Emma records every strange twist of events in her private journals.
As the fight over custody and revenues turns increasingly explosive, Emma is torn between the fishbowl sanctuary of Quintland and the wider world, now teetering on the brink of war. Steeped in research, The Quintland Sisters is a novel of love, heartache, resilience, and enduring sisterhood—a fictional, coming-of-age story bound up in one of the strangest true tales of the past century.
Have a bookclub? I’d be delighted to join you over Skype. Contact me for details at shelley [at] shelleywood.ca and stay tuned for the Reading Group Guide.