Everyone calls Kate by her nickname “Plain Kate.” As a female woodcarver, she’s an outsider. After her father dies, Kate becomes even more of an outcast.
To make matters worst, an albino witch convinces Kate to give him her shadow. Kate foolishly agrees to give Linay her shadow in exchange for fish hooks and supplies. She does not realize the full implications of losing her shadow.
Since Kate and Taggle, her cat, cannot survive on their own, they tentatively finds a place among the roamers. The roamers (Roma) are a group that travels by caravan. Daj and Drina protect Kate though some of the roamers are fearful of outsiders.
When Drina learns Kate’s secret–her hasty bargain with Linay– she becomes determined to help her. Drina’s own mother was a healer who was tragically burned as a witch.
In Toila, all of Drina’s efforts, however, backfire. Instead of rescuing her friend from the false charge of witchcraft, the town accuses Drina of witchcraft. The girls barely escape with their lives.
Bow’s prose is poetic yet the action moves swiftly. The characters are strongly delineated against a backdrop of fear and suspicion. Kate is a heroine in the truest sense and strong role-model for girls.