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Feather Crowns
Bobbie Ann Mason
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Feather Crowns

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  585 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews

Set in the apocalyptic atmosphere of 1900a time when many Americans were looking for signs foretelling the end of the worldFeather Crowns is the story of a young woman who unintentionally creates a national sensation. A farm wife living near the small town of Hopewell, Kentucky, Christianna Wheeler gives birth to the first recorded set of quintuplets in North America.


Paperback, 464 pages
Published June 1st 1994 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published September 1st 1993)
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(showing 1-30)
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Judy Porter
Mar 12, 2012 Judy Porter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Bobbie Ann Mason. She is a wonderful thoughtful author including much wisdom in her writing. The premise is based on the true incident of quintuplets being born in Kentucky in 1900. I highly recommend this book.
I've always been fascinated by multiple births, as it's such an uncommon event (though it's becoming a bit more common with the rise of fertility treatments). I remember the furor over "Octomom" and her octuplets, and I did agree that asking a human body to carry so many babies is probably not a fair, or even healthy, thing. So as I read this book, about a young woman Christie Wheeler who carried a set of quintuplets to term and gave birth to them in 1900, I began to wonder if this could really ...more
Carol Hardesty
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amanda Fucello
Mar 18, 2011 Amanda Fucello rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in less than a week, I thought it was so captivating. I love a little bit of magic in stories and Feather Crowns feels surreal in some aspects. While it is not as magical and fantastic as other tales, there are definitely elements of wonder woven into this family's story. I often strive to read female authors and I love getting different perspectives from different backgrounds and cultures, and though this is a thoroughly American story, the setting was still quite alien to me, ...more
Sandra Winkle
Mar 20, 2008 Sandra Winkle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. It reminds me of the superstitions my grandmothers forewarned. Especially the ones related to me when I was pregnant. They told me all kinds of things I shouldn't do so I wouldn't "mark" my baby.(I must have done something right; my boys are all wonderful and beautiful)
Since I have twins, the multiple birth storyline was interesting. I really enjoy Bobbie Ann Mason's fiction.
Aug 28, 2011 Cathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book ,an imaginative psychological interpretation of a true story of a woman who has given birth to quintuplets in the early 1900s.
Aug 03, 2008 Marla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is astounding on many levels, not the least of which is that what you think is going to happen doesn't. Great characterization.
Mar 26, 2010 Lori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
She is one of my favorite authors, especially in the short story form. Now that I live in SW Virginia I can actually relate more to her stories. That said, for me this story was too sad. I had hard time reading it as I felt it was a little too raw. I don't know how she comes up with her ideas! This story was about a family in this region of the country who had the first ever surviving quintuplets and how it not only drastically changes her life but that of her community. Well written a masterpie ...more
Jan 14, 2009 Kathleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love everything I have read by Bobbie Ann Mason, and Feather Crowns is no exception. There is something very lyrical and mysterious here. The characters are very real people dealing with extraordinary events. I was very moved.
May 18, 2016 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, books-i-own
Christie Wheeler is carrying quintuplets, only she doesn’t know it. It’s the turn of the last century and medical science isn’t exactly sophisticated enough for an ultrasound yet. All she knows is there’s something inside her – maybe a monster, or a demon, but definitely not a baby. But after she miraculously gives birth to five healthy, if tiny, babies inside her rural Kentucky home, she discovers that her pregnancy is just the beginning. She, the new babies, and the rest of her extended family ...more
Oct 22, 2013 Judith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These days it is almost common to hear of the birth of quintuplets. But in 1900 such an event was literally unheard of. Thus Bobbie Ann Mason imagines it, surrounds the birth with the life of a struggling tobacco farmer in Kentucky, fits it out with superstitions, family conflicts, and the customs of the day. Yet she creates in the mother, Christianna Wheeler ("Christie"), ultimately a strong woman.

When Christie met her husband-to-be, James, she was over the moon. She was in love, in lust, and h
Jan 14, 2014 Anesa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This ambitiously historical novel differs from Mason's other books. Although the geographical setting is, again, rural Kentucky, her cast of down-home folks is transposed from the K-Marts of 1988 to "the apocalyptic atmosphere of 1900" (as the book jacket puts it). So the characters of FEATHER CROWNS might be the ancestors to those of Mason's other fiction, a thought that I enjoyed recalling in the course of reading.

Those who enjoy period details and forays into social history will be in their e
The curious title of this novel refers to an American superstition that concerns crown of feathers found in pillows stuffing which is considered an ill omen. I never heard about this superstition or others which are mentioned in this novel that tells the story of a 1900 humble family who were blessed (?) with quintuplets. I liked the way the author created the characters who were immersed in so many superstition concerning ill omens and the coming of Doomsday since they lived at the turn-of-the- ...more
Jun 05, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
This was a long read and it took me a while to get into it, but I did enjoy it in the end. I always like reading books that are set in the south and have lately been enjoying period pieces as well, so this came at a good time. I still harbor some doubts about the possibility of a woman giving birth to five full-term babies at once; medically I just don't see that happening. (I won't even get into the odds against two sets of naturally-occurring quintuplets.)


I also wasn't expec
This book was fictional about a 1900 family who had the first set of quintuplets and the stir it causes. It was an interesting portrait of Kentucky at the turn of the century. People treated the family like they were a spectacle and the events surrounding their birth were filled with superstition and mystery.

After reading the book, I felt like it was slow moving and the author could have condesed the story considerably. I am glad that I read the book, it was for a book club. We had a great disc
Feb 22, 2013 Iamshadow rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I read this book back in 1998 when I was sixteen, thinking based the catalogue entry at the university library I borrowed it from that it was about the Dionne quintuplets. While there is a reference to the Dionnes at the very end, most of the story is about a completely different fictional family and community, and as a result, I was left a bit baffled and disappointed. I don't know now, fifteen years later, if that was due to my false expectations, or if the story was lacking. I'd like to read ...more
Apr 19, 2010 Kyra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a big fat slow moving book and may not be everyone's cup of tea. It tells the story of Christianne Wheeler, who gave birth to live quintuplets in 1900 in a small town in Kentucky, and the subsequent hoopla attending the event.
More than anything else, this novel reminded me of the importance of family - that in the days before television and easy transportation, families were bound together by proximity and habit and the minutiae of day to day life in a way that most of us cannot even ima
Apr 04, 2013 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s Kentucky and the year is 1900. Christianna Wheeler, a pregnant, young farm wife gives birth very unexpectedly to the country’s first quintuplets. It would be criminal to give too much of this fascinating, wonderfully written story away. So I won’t. Suffice it to say that this is historical fiction at its best, based on actual events. Bobbie Ann Mason was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award for this novel. I found it riveting, haunting and beautifully imagined.
Sep 10, 2008 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: kim, michelle, karen, joy
Christianna Wheeler found herself in the middle of an "earthquake" by giving birth to quints in her little Kentucky town long before the advent of fertility drugs. Her saga is compelling. Her thoughts and actions prove her to be intelligent, compassionate, and complex. I like that a "simple" farm woman can be overwhelmed at times but not defeated. Great writing, great read, well worth the time.
Sep 11, 2011 Nedda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hard to imagine having quintuplets in the 21st century, unfathomable to think about it happening in 1900. Of course, the miraculousness of it at the time is the whole point of the book.

I really enjoyed this book until the last chapter, which is told as a recollection from the main character, many years later. It just didn't seem to go with the rest, and left me liking the book a little less.
Sep 20, 2012 Jan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A young Kentucky farm wife, already the mother of three, gives birth to five live babies in 1900. The first set of quintuplets in North America are big news, put their small town on the map, so to speak, and everybody wanted a piece of the them. A beautifully told story, complete with very complex characters, precise details, occasional dark humor, many supersitions and ill omens so common at the turn of the century.
Jul 25, 2010 Kath rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An ok book on a topic in which I am not very interested. It is a "memoir" [style only, it is a novel:] of the mother of quintuplets born in Kentucky in 1900. As a story of the farm-life at the turn of the century, too much time is spent on these babies. Taking care of the babies is not interesting enough for 250 pages. Then the book goes on for 200 more pages, attempting to tell how the birth affects the community.
Dec 28, 2009 Audrey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Feather Crowns, Mason creates a wide array of believable, complex characters that work to drive the plot. The story is interesting and caught my attention immediately, as was the backstories into the past with Christianna and the religious revivals in the turn of the century. However, as much as I enjoyed the characters and the plot, this book seemed to drag on forever and there was a great deal I felt could have been cut out without much detriment to the story.
Emily Peck
Jan 18, 2008 Emily Peck rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Samantha
A very interesting and enlightening book. It is set through 4 crucial points in one womens life. This book contains all the prominent moments of life including birth, sex, marriage, and death. It also offers an intersting perspective of human greed and ignorance. At times you may even question if this story is true or not as it seems so possible. It is a touching story and highly recommended.
Thea Block
Jan 25, 2016 Thea Block rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I did not enjoy the majority of this book. It moved slow, which I can handle in some books, but this book never picked up the pace. I felt like the story lacked a good arc, and I finished the book feeling less than satisfied. I did appreciate the end of the story - the connections that Christie Wheeler makes with other families, but other than that, I would not recommend this book.
Dec 12, 2010 Pam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first one of hers that I have read. What a masterful storyteller! This is one of those books that sucks you in and you can't stop reading it. I love it that the narrator's voice is so unusual yet so powerful. I liked it so much I found another one of hers at the funky library I go to.
May 24, 2015 Sparkle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting to read one of Mason's "lesser known" works. I identified with Christie living away from home in a strange family very much.

The sudden events midway through the book left me wondering where the remainder could possibly go, but Mason dealt wonderfully with it.

Recommended for readers looking for "country charm" and turn of the century events.
Apr 18, 2008 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting book, beyond the obvious storyline of birth/death there is the question of how the media (which at this time would be much more rudimentary) can take advantage of and sensationalize stories of heartbreak.
Suzi Baum
I spent all afternoon and evening reading this...from my hammock to bed and what a wonderful story it is. Bobbie Ann Mason has been a long time favorite author of mine. Her descriptions of chickens throughout tell me she and I have something in common. xo S
Aug 03, 2009 Holli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this one so long ago that I don't remember details. I just remember the basic storyline and I remember wondering how Bobbie Ann Mason ever came up with the idea to write such a book. And I remember that I really liked it.
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Bobbie Ann Mason has won the PEN/Hemingway Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the American Book Award, and the PEN/Faulkner Award. Her books include In Country and Feather Crowns. She lives in Kentucky.
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