Plain Kate, by Erin Bow (book review) – lose her shadow, lose her life?

When your family is all you have, what can you do when they are gone?
How do you decide who you can trust?
What happens if you make the wrong decision?

On this Mysterious Metaphysical Monday, we find young Kate orphaned and alone in a superstitious world. Her fine woodcarving skills are ignored by the Guild, yet sought-after by the townsfolk who want charms against evil. But being different is more than just a bit dangerous here – it could be deadly.

Desperate to escape, Kate bargains with a mysterious stranger and finds herself on a perilous journey with a talking cat, a dwindling shadow, and frightening glimpses of the past that might be the future.

A haunting book that will have you checking your shadow now and again, it’s recently been released as Wood Angel in the United Kingdom.

Book info: Plain Kate / Erin Bow. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2010. [author’s website] [publisher site] [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Ny Book Talk: Skilled as a woodcarver, Plain Kate lost her place at the workshop when her father died, and the guild gave it to another. No mother, no kin, Kate was alone in the world at age 12, a world of superstitions and talismans and witches burned.

When mysterious Linay appears in the village, few trust the albino minstrel. He promises Kate “the wish of her heart” in exchange for her shadow, and when rumors swirl that her carving skills are witchcraft, she takes up Linay on his offer.

Suddenly, Kate has a talking cat as she travels up the river to escape the village. She and Taggle meet up with a clan of performing Roamers, with their bright wagons and acrobatic graces, and are allowed to travel with them until danger comes near and all are threatened.

As Kate’s shadow slowly disappears day by day, the fever which struck down her father and many others begins to make its way up the river, too.

Why did Linay need her shadow?
How can a talking cat be Kate’s dearest wish?
Will the Roamer clan and her friend Drina survive the fever and the witchburnings?
Are real witches darkening the daytime sky and sending frost across the summer day?

An exciting and suspenseful tale of yearnings and journeys, of superstitions and the supernatural! (One of 5,000 books recommended on

One thought on “Plain Kate, by Erin Bow (book review) – lose her shadow, lose her life?

  1. Pingback: Scorpion Rules, by Erin Bow (book review) – hostages for peace or pawns in greater game? | BooksYALove

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