Dear Ms. Bow,
First, let me say, I bought four copies of PLAIN KATE and gave them out to people I thought should read this book. I am in the process of purchasing more. (For all of my friends reading this, please promptly forget this, as one will be coming to you in the form of a birthday/anniversary/Christmas/just-got-a-new-car present.) This fact is not to make you like me, or feel like you have to be grateful in any way for my purchases. On the contrary. It is the rest of the world that should be grateful to you for writing this lovely, lovely book. Thank you.
I must admit, even though I live only a few short hours from you, I’d never heard of you until I picked up a copy of Quill & Quire at work. There you were on the cover. After flipping through and reading every article with great care, I read the one extolling the virtues of your special book, PLAIN KATE. With a talking cat, it wasn’t quite the type of book I would normally pick up, but because I was looking for something to begin reading to visiting students, it went on my order list.
And for some reason, without even cracking it open, I couldn’t get this book out of my mind. I wondered what an author with a poetry background would do with a book that had so many dark themes. Once the book arrived, I promised myself I would only read it a chapter at a time, and only in front of the students I was saving it for. What a foolish promise!
For those who haven’t read it, the blurb reads like the rest of the book…gorgeous!
Plain Kate lives in a world of superstitions and curses, where a song can heal a wound and a shadow can work deep magic. When Kate’s village falls on hard times — crops fail, and even Kate’s father falls victim to a deadly fever — the townspeople look for someone to blame, and their eyes fall on Kate.
Enter Linay, a stranger with a proposition: In exchange for her shadow, he’ll give Kate the means to escape the town that seems set to burn her, and what’s more, he’ll grant her heart’s wish. It’s a chance for her to start over, to find a home, a family, a place to belong. But Kate soon realizes that she can’t live shadowless forever — and that Linay’s designs are darker than she ever dreamed.
This book was not only a joy to read, but a joy to read out loud. The beautifully crafted sentences made me feel like an actress, and sometimes, I would forget I was reading to an audience. They sat in pure silence, not a shuffle, or a cough, or a bored yawn amongst them as I told them the tale of poor Plain Kate. I only wish every book enthralled young readers this way.
So, thank you for sharing this story with the world. I truly cannot wait to share it with others, and I look forward to making your books a regular part of my reading schedule from now on.