Tuesday 9 November 2010

Plain Kate - Erin Bow

Plain Kate
Erin Bow

Arthur A. Levine Books

an imprint of Scholastic

ISBN 9780545166645

This story is written in a Russian or Eastern European Fairy Tale style. In some ways, for older readers, it will be reminiscent of Jerzy Kosinski's The Painted Bird. The story at times is dark, charming, and wistful, and at all times it is extremely entertaining. This debut novel will leave its mark on the reader, much as Kate's knife leaves her marks on wood.

For Kate is a wood carver; she is not yet in the guild, but her father is a guild master and it looks like it will only be a matter of time before Kate is a master also. All that is holding her back is her age. But then tragedy strikes - her father falls to the witch fever and passes away. The new guild master expels her from the only home she has ever known. She takes to sleeping in the bottom drawer of her father's stall in the market. She ekes out a living on the slight generosity and tolerance of the town. Yet soon a white witch comes to town. He has power and he stirs up trouble against Kate. She finally agrees to his demand and sells her shadow. Kate soon realizes she cannot live without her shadow and she needs to find out what the stranger Linays wanted it for and if there is a way she can stop him.

In a world of superstition, curses and cures, Kate must find her way alone and lonely. The story is compelling and the readers will find themselves not wanting to put the book down. The world created by Erin Bow is familiar to tales of old, with a young woman coming of age and finding her place in the world. It is an amazing story that is very well written, especially for a first novel.

Erin Bow is a particle physicist, who formerly worked at both CERN and Los Alamos labs, who has now become a poet and author. She resides in Kitchener, Ontario. She has written two volumes of poetry, and now a novel for young adults. Erin will be giving a lecture at UWaterloo on November 12th, titled Poetry for Physicists, 2:30-4pm EV2 room 2002. Her Husband James Bow is also a local author.

Books By Erin Bow:
Plain Kate
Sorrow's Knot

Prisoners of Peace:
The Scorpion Rules 
The Swan Riders

As Erin Noteboom:
Ghost Maps: Poems for Carl Hruska
Seal up the Thunder
The Mongoose Diaries

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