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Review: Quintland Sisters by Shelley Wood

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My Interest

Multiple births have long fascinated me–I am a lone twin, so it is natural. I followed the Dilleys and the McCaugheys on their journeys thru Sextuplets and Septuplets in the 90s.

The Story

Emma Trimpany, a local girl whose future is dampened by a large port wine birthmark on her face, helps at the delivery of the famous Quintuplets and stays on to help raise them in their specially built hospital-home. The story is told through her eyes and employs both her diary entries and her letters to one of the first nurses to leave the Quints, to tell the tale.

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What I Liked

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! This is what historical fiction should be! I am astonished that this is a debut! The characters were so real. The conversations were real. The setting–all of it, was real!

Emmas’ voice was sure and strong. Her naivete, her young idealism, all shown thru. It is her true and tender love for the girls, though, that makes the story so enjoyable. She does not become precious in any way–she just loves them like a devoted extra mother.

As the Quints grow, so too does Emma begin to mature so in a sense this is a double coming-of-age story. Emma becomes a full adult as the Quints obviously outgrow the need for the lavish “protection” that even segregates them from their parents and siblings.

There is a dark side here, too. A small, but Oprah-book-like-dark storyline running in the background. Game of Thrones-dark. Beyond the tremendous exploitation of the Quints is another situation ripe for what happens [No Spoliers]. Life was different in the 1930s.

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What I Did Not Like

Honestly, there was nothing I didn’t like. I was disappointed by the very last scene in the book [again, no spoilers], but it “worked”–it just wasn’t what I expected.

 

Error

Canada was a Dominion within the British Empire in 1938. The British Commonwealth was not formed until after World War II when Britain began granting Independence to it’s colonies. The author should have caught this.

 

My Rating

4.0

I listened to the audio version

Quintland Sisters by Shelley Wood

 

More Quints Fiction

For another book, telling a fictionalized version (i.e. names changed etc) of the famous quints, see Louise Penny’s  How the Light Gets In.

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