As the author wrote in her notes at the end, “the brighter the spotlight, the darker the shadows.” This was a fascinating look into the first five years of the Dionne quintuplets’ lives from the perspective of a girl/young woman who unexpectedly becomes the lone constant in their lives. The book is fiction, but it is based on facts which have been collected and preserved by quint fans for decades – almost a century, really. Emma, the narrator, is naive by her own admission, and it is her search for clarification that shows the reader the dark and the light of what was happening to those five little girls and everyone around them. Her journey from a reluctant nurse to an adoring mother figure was sweet and believable, and it was because I grew so fond of Emma that I was so disappointed by the ending of the book. It was done with such unexpected finality it was as if Ms Wood rushed to finish, leaving me breathless with a need for answers and closure. Emma did so much more in her life – her letters hint at it all – but I wanted to see her at least start out on that path, become what she eventually was. Having said that, the book overall was excellent reading, and I applaud Ms Wood for her unique and insightful approach to this wholly Canadian and yet internationally known story.
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