Every year since 1904, when the ice breaks up on the North Saskatchewan River, Edmonton has crowned a Melting Queen—a woman who presides over the Melting Day spring carnival and who must keep the city’s spirits up over the following winter. But this year, something has changed: a genderfluid ex-frat brother called River Runson is named as Melting Queen. As River's reign upends the city's century-old traditions, Edmonton tears itself in two, with progressive and reactionary factions fighting a war for Edmonton's soul. Ultimately, River must uncover the hidden history of Melting Day, forcing Edmonton to confront the dark underbelly of its traditions and leading the city into a new chapter in its history.
Balancing satire with compassion, Bruce Cinnamon’s debut novel combines history and magic to weave a splendid future-looking tale.
Praise for The Melting Queen:
"Happy Melting Day! This naughty love-and-hate letter to an imagined version of Edmonton is fabulous, whether you know every corner of the actual place or you’ve never been there. You will want to live in Cinnamon’s city."
~ Todd Babiak, author of The Garneau Block and The Empress of Idaho
"Set amongst the landmarks and rituals of a magical Edmonton, this fantasia compels the reader to look at our city – and the feminine forces that subtly but firmly guide it – in a new and thrilling way. The newest Melting Queen, whose gender is as fluid as the green summer river that weaves its way through Edmonton’s rigid grid, signifies transformation, rebirth, and reconciliation.”
~ Darrin Hagen, author of The Edmonton Queen
"Heartfelt, flawed, and beautiful, The Melting Queen is a modern fairy tale. Cinnamon creates a lost history, writing a legacy for River Runson that honors missing ancestors and gives Edmonton a second chance to confront the truth of its hypocrisy around oppression and expression."
~ Letitia Montgomery-Rodgers, Foreword Reviews
"... a worthy, interesting read based on the essential idea that now is the time to unmask history and change what no longer serves us."
"The novel, much like its protagonist and, I suspect, many of Edmonton's inhabitants, has an ambivalent relationship to the city it imagines: calling out its failings ... yet insisting on finding and, if necessary, inventing stories that reveal the extraordinary."
~ Jason Wiens, Alberta Views
Combining history and satire, this debut aims to lay a foundational mythology for Edmonton."
~ Becky Toyne, The Globe and Mail
"Bruce Cinnamon doesn't put a foot wrong in The Melting Queen, his fantastical debut novel. In addition to providing humour and a surreal plot, the author examines some serious themes: identity, friendship, betrayal, and politicians creating alternative histories."
~ Margaret Goldik, Prairie Books NOW