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.
Blending historical fact with a fictional coming-of-age story, Wood has crafted 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.
Fascinating and heartbreaking ... Emma is a wise choice to tell the quintuplets’ story ... As Woods effectively conveys, everyone around the quintuplets greatly benefits from the girls while no one focuses on their well-being as children; they are treated like a commodity instead of like human beings. The inclusion of Emma’s fictional character to narrate the story and comment on the events adds some neutrality to the tale ... The inclusion of photos would have added to the story significantly. However, upon finishing this novel, readers can comb the Internet and locate hundreds of photos of the girls and Quintland and follow the rest of their stories ... 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. Wood is careful to place the quintuplets’ story into context and to demonstrate what frequently and repeatedly occurs in history: greed eventually overshadows even the best intentions.
Although a fictional telling of an historical event, The Quintland Sisters is admirably bolstered by author Shelley Wood’s decision to include diary entries, journalistic research, and clippings from contemporary news articles covering the true lives of the Dionnes ... The structure of the novel, combining history and imagination, provokes renewed fascination with the babies’ actual lives, ensuring the quints’ eternal place in the annals of fact that is stranger than fiction.