Young Hélène St. Onge and her older sister Catherine are orphans. When King Louis XVI orders all men in New France to marry, Catherine becomes a "fille du roi," one of the many young women sent to the new world as brides. Hélène will accompany her on the long sea voyage and live with her sister's new family. But Catherine dies during the gruelling journey, and Hélène finds herself alone in a strange new country. New France is a far harsher place than she imagined, with bitter winters and threat of attack from the Iroquois. Will the few friendships she has made on her long voyage enable her to survive?