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The Quintland Sisters

A Novel
Written by: Shelley Wood
Narrated by: Tavia Gilbert
Length: 11 hrs and 24 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (32 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In Shelley Wood’s fiction debut, 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. 

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. 

More than 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.

©2019 Shelley Wood (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Beautiful

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 the whole however, very much worth the listen.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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A brilliant approach to this story

As a Canadian, I have long known about the Dionne quintuplets, and have thought it a sad and disturbing story. In recent years I have heard bit of news about the surviving sisters and their difficulties later in life. So, I wanted to read an account, to understand more. I was initially hesitant about a fictional account but Shelley Wood has done the story justice ~ and it really works. The history of what actually happened has been woven into the fictional story of a young nurse who was with the girls from birth to girlhood. It's rather clever, and a great listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Narrator brings characters alive

I could tell who was speaking by their voice even before we were told their name.

Very fascinating story for a Canadian born after the phenomenon which was Quintland!

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  • mom2seven
  • 2019-07-08

such a personal story shared with humor and tears<br />

tender picture of an incredible piece of quite often misunderstood history. I felt like I was there actually part of the scene. highly recommended.

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  • Elle Knowles
  • 2019-05-08

Learned a lot about the quints I never knew

Very interesting book with lots of details not widely known. Well written and researched. Made me want to know more.

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  • sharon
  • 2019-04-21

Interesting but Tragic Story of the Dionne Quints

This is a fictionalized account of the birth and first 6 years of Dionne Quints.The It was well written and interesting.
I assume it was based on accurate research. If The portrayal of the Dionne Parents was accurate they were TERRIBLE people.The Father was a beast and the mother was a religious fanatic firmly under the control of her husband.
The main character Emma was also a tragic figure who was absolutely devoted to welfare and well being of the Quints.
The Narration was very good.
Even though the story was very sad in parts I enjoyed the book.