Monday, November 1, 2010

Plain Kate by Erin Bow

Plain Kate is an orphan who live in a market town by a river. Kate was raised by her woodcarver father afer the death of her mother from childbirth. She was named Katerina Svetlana after her mother but when she is intoduced to the butcher, he says that he calls her plain Kate. The butcher laughs and says that judging by her appearance, Plain Kate is a good name and it sticks.

From an early age, Plain Kate is taught woodcarving skills by her father until she is quite good. Growing up in a superstitious village with the odd appearance of having two different colored eyes and the ability to carve with a knife, Plain Kate is viewed upon by the villagers as an oddity. When a sickness referred to as "witch fever" strikes the village, fingers begin to point her way. Her situation goes from bad to worse when her father falls ill and dies before Plain Kate can become his apprentice. Soon a new master carver from the guild arrives and Plain Kate finds herself homeless.

Plain Kate decides to live in the bottom drawer of her father's market stall. She is soon joined by three motherless kittens whom she cares for. Plain Kate earns some money by carving amulets and other items for the townspeople who don't wish to patronize the master carver. Two kittens go off on their own but the one she named Taggle becomes her companion. Soon several visitors arrive in the town. Linay, who could be described as an albino, sells trinkets to ward off witchcraft in the village square. Turns out Linay is a witch. He offers Plain Kate her fondest wish for the price of her shadow She turns him down. When devasting situations occur in her village, the townspeople begin pointing fingers her way. Harshly awakened by an axe destroying her stall one night, Plain Kate decides her luck has run out. She turns to Linay for help leaving the town. He will help her, for the price of her shadow. She agrees and Linay warns her to find a place to fit in before someone realizes her shadow is gone.

Plain Kate is shocked to discover that her cat Taggle can now talk. He tells her that her greatest wish was a companion to talk with and now she has him. They go off to find the supplies Linay provided them with. Plain Kate decides she must take the woodcarving she made for the baker to him. When she goes to drop it on his doorstep, she has forgotten that he would be up at the early hour. The baker is concerned about where she will go and offers to take her to the Roamers, who are leaving the town, to see if Plain Kate can go with them. When Mother Daj learns that Plain Kate is a woodcarver and her cat a mouser, she tells her that they can travel with them for one month. Plain Kate sees this as a test and is eager to please.

Will Plain Kate be able to find her place in the world? Can she be accepted by the Roamers before someone notices her shadow is missing or will her secret be discovered? And what does Linay want her shadow for?

No comments:

Post a Comment