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The Quintland Sisters

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  498 ratings  ·  132 reviews
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 Northe
ebook, 464 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  498 ratings  ·  132 reviews

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Lindsay - Traveling Sister
5+ stars!

Heartwarming and heartbreaking emotion. Brilliant and beautiful narration. Shocking and unforgettable detail.

This story is a stunning look into the lives of the world’s first quintuplets born in Callander, Ontario, Canada in 1934. Yvonne, Annette, Cecile, Marie and Emilie Dionne shock their parents and the attending doctor and midwives on the day of their birth – five babies instead of one!?!? So tiny and frail, they are not expected to survive the night of their birth.

Emma Trimpany is
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
What a mixed bag! The writing itself is excellent and the plot is compelling as all get out. I didn't want to put it down...except for when I wanted to throw it out the window.

Two reasons I couldn't truly enjoy The Quintland Sisters:

Reason 1:
The portrayals of the quints' parents are one-dimensional, often inaccurate, and occasionally downright hurtful. Two big examples:

a. Oliva Dionne was NEVER in favor of charging the public admission to see the quints. I don't understand how you could do as mu
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic! Not only a very compelling novelization of the birth and early lives of the Dionne Quintuplets, but a very moving coming of age/love story that was dazzlingly handled/revealed in the last 50 or so pages. What an epic look at human nature and fate. This book is enjoyable on many, many levels. I don't think anyone will be disappointed if they pick it up. Loved it!
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I had never heard of the Dionne Quintuplets until this book. I did some research and reading up on these famous sisters after reading this book. There was not a lot of details on the sisters and thus for what little details there were, I thought author, Shelley Wood did a good job with this book. It helped explain why there was not a lot of details spent on the sisters in this book. That was one factor that had left me craving more. I wanted to get to know more about each sister and their person ...more
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
The heart-wrenching story of five identical little girls born to a poor family in Ontario, lovingly told through the eyes of a young woman who was present at the birth and stayed on to help these girls grow and thrive, despite the fact that hundreds of people came every day to see this miracle of birth. These French Canadian girls were the first quints known to have survived infancy, against the overwhelming odds. They were removed from their parents' home, as it was thought the parents had neit ...more
Stephanie Fitzgerald
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beautiful novelization of the first five years of the Dionne quintuplets, a story that is quickly fading from history because it began in 1934. So glad the author chose this subject for her debut novel! The details of the girls’ daily lives were fascinating; I’m sure if I’d been around in the 30’s I would have kept a scrapbook of articles and pictures of them!😊 I did knock off a star for the ending scene on the train; it just didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the book and I surely did not expe ...more
I have heard of the Dionne Quints but didn't realize how the sisters were put on display like zoo animals and the money that was made from their existence. This is a heartbreaking and hard to put down debut novel. I ended up doing some research of my own to read about their lives after the book ended.
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018, 0-reviewed
I'm not wild about an early review here being a negative one, because of me, but...


This started out strong, then gradually drifted off the rails. This genuinely just felt like a personal project, unplanned, unedited, that Wood wrote and wrote and wrote for fun until she got bored and then dropped the thing. It was nice and relaxing to read about this cozy, charming little life, but it never had a point, and that gets exhausting when your book is nearly 500 pages. I lost my patience (but
Tracy Trofimencoff
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
When I first saw this novel I was intrigued by the cover because of the history and the sensationalism of the story in Canadian history and around the world. Wood does a really good job of blending a fictional story with the factual account of the Dionne quintuplets born in the 1930s at a time when their survival rate would have been slim. Wood creates the wonderful and interesting character Emma Trimpany who finds herself at the Dionne house the night the quints are born. The novel is a series ...more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
"The Quintland Sisters" tells the story of the Dionne quintuplets, a famous set of siblings born in Canada in the 1930s. While quintuplets are still not common, they were really not common back then as this was well before the age of fertility interventions like IVF and the like. The Dionne sisters become celebrities of a sort almost from the time that they were born. They

If you've followed my reviews or my blog for any length of time, you may know that I have twin girls. They are identical and
Long before Kate Plus Eight or the Octomom, there were the Dionne Quintuplets, the first quintuplets to survive their infancy. They were born in French-speaking, rural Canada in 1934. Their parents had five other children. They were shamed for it. People also sent money and fan mail. The government took custody of the girls, leading to many disputes over the years. A doctor and his crew of nurses took over care of the girls.

The Quintland Sisters tells the story of the first few years of the qui
Ashley Howard
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I knew almost nothing about the Dionne Quintuplets before reading The Quintland Sisters, so I devoured this book as a novel, not as historical fact.

I loved it—the mix of diary entries and newspaper articles (which I gather were real) made for a fascinating blend of fact and fiction and it made me, as a reader, have to do some of the work to fill in the gaps, which I always love in a book. The plot is fast and compelling, with a constant hint of foreboding, and the characters were beautifully dr
As a Canadian, I’ve grown up knowing SOMETHING about the Dionne quintuplets. I knew they were important. I knew they were famous. I knew they were French Canadian. But they were born long before I was, and test tube babies were the excitement when I was old enough to think about babies - and that was about it for the Dionne Quints for my Canadian consciousness. Shame on me.

So when I spotted Shelley Wood’s novel, “The Quintland Sisters”, I quickly jumped on the chance to refamiarize myself with
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I listened to this on audio. The entire time I thought I was listening to a nonfiction story. Unfortunately, the main character Emma who is telling the story is not real! But the quintuplets were real. So it was based on a true story. The story is of the first 5 years of the quintuplets life born in Canada. The government took the quintuplets away from their parents and put them on display like a zoo animal for nine years. It was so heartbreaking how the girls were treated for that many years. A ...more
Shannon Dyer
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
This was an extraordinary story based on true events!
Leslie Lindsay
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Historical debut about the famous French-Canadian quintuplets born during the Great Depression, THE QUINTLAND SISTERS (William Morrow, March 5 2019) is about love, heartache, and resilience

I am stunned and amazed that I never knew so much as a peep about the first surviving identical quintuplets. Journalist and debut author, Shelley Wood, tackles the vast amount of research in bringing these tiny miracles to life.

Born in 1934 to French farmers in a hardscrabble area of Northern Ontario, reader
Christine Folan
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I listened to the audiobook version of this story, performed by Tavia Gilbert. This is a gripping story to be sure, and it was made all the more powerful by Gilbert’s masterful narration and emotive performance. She made an effort to create distinct voices without being ridiculous. The only reason I’ll rate 4 stars rather than 5 is because her pronunciation of French words and names was often quite off, which I, as a native French speaker, found to be distracting and sometimes aggravating. On th ...more
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reality television – or any television – hadn’t been invented yet when the Dionne Quintuplets were born in Canada in 1934, but if it had been, their lives wouldn’t have been any less tragic, or crazy.

Their story, as told by Emma Trimpany, a seventeen-year-old midwife-in-training, is the dichotomy of the the fish and the fishbowl. Inside, Emma sees each of the five “Quintland Sisters” – ripped from their family by the doctors who saw them as a means to fame and fortune – as a unique person, each
Sarah Davalt
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this book from Goodreads in a giveaway, it is to be released March of 2019.
This is historical fiction of the lives of the Dionne quintuplets from the point of view of their nurse Emma Trimpany. At four months of age they were made wards of the state for the next nine years under the Dionne Quintuplets' Guardianship Act, 1935. The Ontario provincial government and those around them began to profit by making them a significant tourist attraction. Almost 3,000,000 people walked through t
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
The story of the Dionne Quintuplets—five identical baby girls born in rural Canada in the 1930s whose uniqueness captured the attention of their own country and beyond—is endlessly fascinating. In this fictionalized version, their story is told through a fictional midwife's assistant who helps deliver the babies and stays on for years to help tend them. Through our heroine's eyes, we see the tension, conflict, and criticism that stalked the five girls and their family throughout all of their liv ...more
Lori Willett
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!! I was fortunate enough to win an ARC of this book and I am so happy that I did! It follows the story of the real life Dionne quintuplets in Canada, born in the 1930s. This book was written from the perspective of a young nurse who was there from the time they were born until they were around 5 years old. It is in the format of journal entries, letters and newspaper articles and is written so lovely that I was seriously saddened when I reached the last page. If you are a fan ...more
Robert Duncan
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Easily the best book I have read in the last few years!
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Quintland Sisters is a fascinating look into the lives of Canada’s famous Dionne quintuplets. Born in the midst of the great depression, the Dionne quintuplets soon became a public obsession that lifted the public’s spirits during trying times. But at what cost to the girls?

Emma Trimpany is a seventeen-year-old local girl who attends the birth of the Dionne quintuplets with the midwife to learn the trade. Madame Dionne did not know she would have five babies and Emma did not realize she was
All I really know about the Dionne siblings was from watching a late 1930s documentary that aired on them late one night when I was in college. I had forgotten most of the story, even when they were born.

About 10% into this book -- and not particularly enjoying it anyway as it's not that skillfully written -- it suddenly occurred to me that one or more of the Dionne sisters might still be alive. I checked Wikipedia, and discovered that not only are two of them still living, but that they had al
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Not sure how I felt about the ending like did the nurse ever talked to the girls again? It ended so abruptly and I just need MORE.
But I really really liked this and I am not disappointed.
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've always found the story of the Quints fascinating and tragic. Nobody had their best interests at heart, really. This historical fiction is written from the viewpoint of one of the nurses. It was a real page turner and I can highly recommend it.
Meredith Spidel
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I can't say how obsessed I was with this story! I now, of course, want to watch and read everything published about the Dionne quintuplets--truly an epic cultural phenomenon that awed on many levels and was perfectly crafted by its time and place in history. Wood offered the incredible true tale so artfully through the voice of Emma highlighted with letters and verified news articles of the time. While I personally didn't favor the ending of Emma's story, it did nothing to detract from the awe o ...more
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting read. I was captivated within the first 10 pages. I love fiction based off of real things like this too and this was really well done!
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
First, I would like to say I was incredibly lucky to be given the opportunity to read an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. I knew I wanted to read this book because, though I didn’t mention it to anyone except some family members, I actually grew up incredibly close to where the Dionne quintuplets (Yvonne, Annette, Marie, Cecile, and Emilie) were born, and so I’ve heard about them in passing my entire life. This includes seeing the old log cabin that was the family’s home turned in ...more
Brenda Benny
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Historical fiction has never felt more contemporary!

The Quintland Sisters is a captivating tale of historical fiction which holds up a mirror to today’s celebrity-focused world by reflecting back upon the appropriated lives of these helpless young quintuplet girls, as told through the naïve eyes of their fictitious midwife/nurse, Emma Trimpany, in the WWII era. Shelley Wood cleverly shines a light on our society’s fascination with “reality entertainment” long before the spawning of television s
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