Lydia Buckingham is fifteen years old when her parents uproot the family and drag Lydia and her younger sister Victoria across the country to live on the abandoned family homestead in rural Saskatchewan. At first the girls see this as an adventure, a chance to collect prairie relics, take care of animals, learn to drive in the fields, and find out more about the history of Batoche that has Lydia utterly fascinated. Soon the harsh reality of the situation sets in, as Lydia’s father Alex seems unable to secure steady employment at the University and her mother Mary Jane becomes depressed and suicidal. The land which once seemed to hold so much promise has become Godforsaken.
Things become worse for Lydia when she begins attending school in the “hick town” nearby, and she is immediately singled out for her unique fashion sense and disinterest in becoming friends with any of the locals. A battle of wills also ensues between Lydia and her English teacher, and after she writes a scathing poem painting him as a pedophile, her reputation as an ice queen is sealed. The only people who see through Lydia’s hard exterior are a boy from a neighbouring farm, handsome hockey-crazed Brady, and two elderly Francophone neighbours, Grand’Mere and her son Napoleon.
With her parents becoming increasingly neglectful, Lydia hatches a plan for her and Victoria’s escape. They start skipping school and gathering supplies for a trek into the Saskatchewan winter, and soon are preparing to face a blizzard that could prove too much for even an ice queen. Queen of the Godforsaken is a fresh coming-of-age story set in an environment that proves itself both beautiful and brutal. Lydia’s story of adolescent angst and surviving an abusive family is inspiring in its honest portrayal of growing up in rural Canada.