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New Dionne Quintuplet book being launched at Callander Museum

The Dionne Quintuplets became a more popular attraction than Niagara Falls
20190820 Author Sarah Miller
Sarah Miller. Supplied.

A new book on the Dionne Quints is about to be launched from the Callander Museum.

Eighty-five years ago, the birth of five identical girls captivated the world and altered the landscape of an unremarkable spot along Highway 94, near present-day Nipissing Manor in Corbeil.

On Tuesday August 27, author Sarah Miller brings that story back to life at the Callander Bay Heritage Museum with the release of her new book The Miracle and Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets.

“When the Dionne Quintuplets were born on May 28, 1934, weighing a grand total of just over 13 pounds, no one expected them to live so much as an hour.," according to the Penguin Random House Canada website.

"Overnight, Yvonne, Annette, Cécile, Émilie, and Marie Dionne mesmerized the globe, defying medical history with every breath they took. In an effort to protect them from hucksters and showmen, the Ontario government took custody of the five identical babies, sequestering them in a private, custom-built hospital across the road from their family--and then, in a stunning act of hypocrisy, proceeded to exploit them for the next nine years. The Dionne Quintuplets became a more popular attraction than Niagara Falls, ogled through one-way screens by sightseers as they splashed in their wading pool at the center of a tourist hotspot known as Quintland. Here, Sarah Miller reconstructs their unprecedented upbringing with fresh depth and subtlety, bringing to new light their resilience and the indelible bond of their unique sisterhood.”.

Miller is the author of The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century, hailed as “a historical version of Law & Order” by The New York Times. It was named one of Reader’s Digest's Best Biographies You Should Have Read By Now, and chosen as a Chicago Public Library Best of the Best selection. In addition to her non-fiction work, she is also the author of two historical novels for teens, Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller and The Lost Crown, both ALA Notable Books, as well as a bestselling novel for adults, Caroline: Little House Revisited.

“I thrive on research," says Miller. "Friends have called me a ‘method author.’ I want to stand where my characters stood, eat what they ate, wear what they wore. This is why I’ve brandished a hatchet and laced myself into a corset, why I can read Braille and speak Russian. It’s why I’ve slept in Lizzie Borden’s bedroom, and it’s also how I accidentally left my driver’s license at the public library in North Bay.

The Callander Bay Heritage Museum, located in the former home of the physician of the Dionne quintuplets Dr. Allan Roy Dafoe, will host the book launch event on Tuesday, August 27 along a question and answer period, and the opportunity to meet the author and get your book signed.

Museum entry is free and the book will be on sale in the museum gift shop from 2: – 2:30.

A Q&A session begins at 2:30, with a book signing to follow from 3:15 – 4:30.