Tag Archives: Shelley Wood

Pamela’s Picks: The Quintland Sisters by Shelley Wood




As someone who loves reading historical fiction and is fascinated by the Dionne Quintuplets (the first identical quintuplets to survive babyhood) I had to read this fictional story, The Quintland Sisters, about them as told by midwife in training Emma who is there when they are born and then spends several years with them as their nurse. Emma thus has an inside look at the feud between the Dionne parents and the Quintuplet’s doctor and guardian Dr. Dafoe. As the years go by she is torn between loving the little girls as individuals and the circus surrounding them as they are put on display for visitors to gawk at. As Emma grows both emotionally and mentally she slowly comes to realize the part she plays in their exploitation, the same kind of exploitation that the Quintuplets were taken away from their parents in the first place to avoid. The exploitation that would change the lives of the Quintuplets for the worse as they and their parents and other siblings would never be able to bridge the gap left from those years of separation. Even though I already knew the story of the Dionne Quintuplets from biographies (like The Dionnes by Ellie Tesher and The Dionne Years: A Thirties Melodrama by Pierre Berton) and their autobiographies it was fascinating to read a fictionalized version of their story which is as much about Emma’s journey in life as it is about the Quintuplets.

See also this post: The Dionnes by Ellie Tescher.