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The Quintland Sisters

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  3,865 ratings  ·  634 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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Dorothy Smith YES. I actually had to go back and re-read the ending! Couldn't believe it was going to end like it did.
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Barry Davidoff There are allegations that several of the quints were sexually abused as teenagers by their father.

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Average rating 3.64  · 
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Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
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
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
4.5 stars

My 315th read of the year! Quite honestly, 2019 has been one for the record books because my shelf has been a majority tilt towards fantastic reads. Definitely getting better at shaping my yearly TBR!

In her historical fiction debut, Shelley Wood takes readers to 1930's Canada in the height of the Great Depression and exclusively through her fictional protagonist, Emma, a young midwife and later nurse/artist relates the sad tale of the first five years of the Dionne Quintuplets. It's a
Stephanie Anze
Emma is seventeen and dreams about being an artist. Her parents, however, wish she has a more practical career and arrange for her to have an apprenticeship with the midwife. One night, she is called to help with a delivery in the Dionne farmhouse. Matters turn dramatic when five tiny baby girls are born premature. These babies require round-the-clock care as their health is fragile. Emma falls in love with the quintuplets and signs on as a nurse as they defy the odds and survive. As the quintup ...more
Check out all of my reviews on my blog

This can be nothing more than 5*

It’s written with such truth and in part actual letters and manuscripts from the past.

Imagine, May 1934 and 5 baby sisters are born, one after the other.

The reporters went mad, the publicity was enormous. Everyone wanted a peek, everyone wanted a piece, curiosities of this proportion became other’s curiosity.

Mostly narrative from the viewpoint of the nurse looking after the babies was a hu
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!
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
* THIS BOOK IS ON SALE THROUGH BOOKBUB ON AMAZON FOR $2.99 Kindle edition possibly free on unlimited Kindle
March 28, 2020

I listened to the unabridged novel of THE QUINTLAND SISTERS written by Shelley Wood, read by Tavia Gilbert and published by HarperAudio and BLACK STONE Publishing. In this fiction debut of Shelley Wood, listeners 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.
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
Pointing out why I have chosen to abandon Shelley Wood's The Quintland Sisters about half way through is indeed extremely easy for me, and yes, it in my opinion therefore also makes utter and very much perfectly logical sense for me to only consider but one star.

Because when I am reading historical fiction, not only must a given author's writing style and general penmanship be engaging and readable, but equally importantly so, what the author in question actually writes, his or her featured and
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
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 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a fiction story of he Dionne quintuples born in 1934, I have read several books and articles about the quints and have always been interested in them. This story was told from the point of view of an untrained girl who started helping with the quints because her mother wanted her to be a midwife. She talks about the daily routines and how no one was seeing the girls as little girls but more as test cases. She also was cut off from what was going on in the world since they were kept sepa ...more
Ashli  W
May 30, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book started out strong for me, I really enjoyed the factual information presented and the way the story was written in a diary form. Unfortunately the story became repetitive and dull about halfway through and the ending came out of left field. Another reviewer said that it felt like the author got bored and needed to end the book quickly which hits the nail on the head. I can handle sad endings but this was an ending that just comes out of nowhere and feels abrupt. I felt extremely cheate ...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
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
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.
Amelia Strydom
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelley Wood decided to fictionalize the story of the Dionne quints, born two months early in 1934 in Canada, because she feared it was in danger of being forgotten and wanted to reach a wider audience than readers of non-fictional accounts. She did a wonderful job!

Her narrator, Emma, is only 17 when she accompanies a local midwife to the Dionne farm, where a French grand multipara (a woman who has given birth 5 times or more before), is in premature labour. Emma isn't that keen on midwifery, sh
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had not heard about the Dionne Quintuplets before I read this book (which has caused me to be on Google a lot at the moment, lol). I thought this novel was well written and I think Shelley Wood is an excellent storyteller, I'm anxious to read anything else she writes. I love how this book is told in diary format. What these babies went through during the depression is very upsetting and tugged at my heart strings. I will definitely read some nonfiction about them soon.
Genevieve Graham
As the author wrote in her notes at the end, "the brighter the spotlight, the darker the shadows." This was a fascinating look into the first five years of the Dionne quintuplets' lives from the perspective of a girl/young woman who unexpectedly becomes the lone constant in their lives. The book is fiction, but it is based on facts which have been collected and preserved by quint fans for decades - almost a century, really. Emma, the narrator, is naive by her own admission, and it is her search ...more
Diana Green
Jul 30, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a complicated novel to review. On the one hand, it was well-written and well-researched, about an interesting if also heartbreaking subject. I was engaged for most of the book, despite an overabundance of repeating details. Somehow the quality of the writing and the main character's voice kept me hooked. And then I came to the final section. YIKES! The story completely derailed in a way that didn't feel consistent with the rest of the narrative. It all happened so fast and was so depress ...more
Christina Boulard
Apr 07, 2019 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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
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
This was an extraordinary story based on true events!
This was a book club pick, and I was the lone outlier in not appreciating this book. For me, it comes down to the fact that Wood wanted to write a book about the five Dionne quintuplets that showed how they were exploited, and how almost all of the adults around them made a lot of ethically and morally questionable decisions, but I feel like she just ended up exploiting them all over again. Not to say that this book couldn't have been written in a respectful way, but it makes me a bit queasy kno ...more
Robyn Markow
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
My mom "introduced" me to Canada's Dionne Quintuplets when I was a kid & the more I've learned about them ,the more amazing their story is to me. I saw a TV movie about "The Quints " but never read many of the non-fiction books about them. This book is Historical Fiction so it does take a biased POV but I kept that in mind while reading it. Told in a series of journal entries by a fictional young mid-wife named Emma who's there to assist in their delivery at the Dionne's farmhouse; Emma at first ...more
Kristen Ashley
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
This was pretty bad and I am honestly surprised at the amount of positive reviews here.

I will start off with the positive which is that the author captured what Quintland was like pretty well. You could clearly imagine all the people trying to get a glimpse of the girls and Shelly Wood really did highlight how both the parents and their other guardians (the doctors and government) were only looking out for their own self interest and not the girls. This is the only reason I'm giving it two stars
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