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! 336 pages
Recommended by: Katy Manck, Librarian-at-Large (retired academic/corporate/school librarian), Gilmer, Texas, USA