The Quintland Sisters

Shelley Wood

Genre: fiction

In Shelley Wood’s fiction debut, readers are taken inside the devastating true story of the Dionne Quintuplets, believed to be the first set of identical sisters born alive, told from the perspective of an aspiring young midwife witnessing her first delivery. 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 removes 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 dollars and endorsement deals 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.