The Quintland Sisters

The Quintland Sisters

by Shelley Wood
  • debut
  • english-from-canada
  • historical

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 who helps bring them into the world.

Emma Trimpany is just 17 when she assists at the birth of the Dionne quintuplets: five tiny miracles born to French farmers in 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 “Quints” in their custom-built playground; at the height of the Great Depression, money pours in. Emma records every strange twist of events in her journals. As the fight over custody and revenues turns explosive, Emma is torn between the fishbowl sanctuary of Quintland and the wider world, now on the brink of war.

Steeped in research, The Quintland Sisters is a novel of love, heartache, resilience, and sisterhood—a fictional coming-of-age story bound up in one of the strangest true tales of the past century.


Shelley Wood, 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.


  • Meticulously researched and sensitively told, this book is a journey not to be missed. - Heather Young, author of The Lost 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • A historical novel that will enthrall you... I was utterly captivated...." - Joanna Goodman, author of The Home for Unwanted Girls

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: Stephanie Sinclair (Transatlantic Agency)



rights available: World, excl. World English (HarperCollins), French in Canada (Éditions Hurtubise)

Additional Information

age range: Adult

number of pages: 464

publication date: 03/05/2019

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: finished book