"A historical novel that will enthrall you... I was utterly captivated..." — Joanna Goodman, author of The Home for Unwanted Girls
AN INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
For fans of Sold on a Monday or The Home for Unwanted Girls, Shelley Wood's novel tells the story of the Dionne Quintuplets, the world's first identical quintuplets to survive birth, told from the perspective of a midwife in training who helps bring them into the world.
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.
About the author
Shelley Wood is a writer, journalist, and editor. Her work has appeared in the New Quarterly, Room, the Antigonish Review, Causeway Lit, and the Globe and Mail (UK). Born and raised in Vancouver, she has lived in Montreal, Cape Town, and the Middle East, and now has a home, a man, and a dog in British Columbia, Canada.
“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
“...an ambitious, meticulously researched, and imaginative debut novel that is engrossing and compelling. Exploring the shared sisterhood of the quintuplets’ caretakers and the trouble with unwanted celebrity, this heartwarming novel will win over loyal readers of Patricia Harman, Jodi Picoult, and Carol Cassella.” — Booklist
“The Quintland Sisters is an impeccably researched historical novel that will enthrall you. From the moment Shelley Wood introduced the remarkable Dionne quintuplets, I was utterly captivated...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
“This gorgeously written novel about miracles, love and resilience is perfect for fans of Joanna Goodman.” — Marissa Stapley, bestselling author of Mating for Life and Things to Do When It’s Raining
“...a stunning novel...Meticulously researched and sensitively told, this book is a journey not to be missed.” — Heather Young, author of The Lost 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
“A charming and well-researched… tale of love and survival.” — Kirkus Reviews
“As only the best historical fiction can, The Quintland Sisters transports the reader to another time period and shines a light on an event that has an impact on its era and about which the actual details are little known.” — New York Journal of Books
“An engaging and thoughtful fictionalized account of the early lives of the Dionne quintuplets . . . Wood’s research is woven into the fabric of the story and her characters are well dimensioned and human.” — Yakima Herald