I read this book somewhere between eight to fifteen years ago. I believe it may have been a young adult book, but cannot be certain. I do not recall the length of the book. It was definitely medieval setting, not modern. I do not recall what the cover looked like, though it might have been a closeup of a girl's face.

The protagonist was a young girl who lived in poor conditions working for someone, possibly her uncle, creating dolls or crosses. I believe she slept in a drawer or shelf in the booth where she sold her products. In particular, she made dolls near the start of the story but slowly switched to making crosses as events in town got worse.

Her products were believed to be lucky or helpful in some way, but eventually she was suspected of being a witch, forcing her to flee the town. There may have been a fire involved.

  • The girl is not a real witch? Would you call the story fantasy or historical fiction? The question might be better suited to the Literature Stack Exchange.
    – user14111
    Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 3:58
  • I'm very sure it is a fantasy story. If not the girl, then another character in the story used magic.
    – GrenadeFox
    Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 4:08

1 Answer 1


I found it. The book is Plain Kate by Erin Bow.

Katerina "Kate" Svetlana is an orphan who lived in the small eastern European market town of Samilae. She was called "Plain Kate" because her father introduced her to a butcher as Katerina Svetlana "but I just call her plain Kate" (Plain Kate, Bow 1). Her mother died in childbirth and her father, a master woodcarver, took care of her until he died of a sickness known as ‘witches Fever’.

Kate is too young and too poor to join the woodcarving guild and is forced to live in her father's market stall, seeking out a living from her carvings.

A stranger, Linay, offers Kate her heart's wish in exchange for her shadow. She initially refuses, but later agrees when he causes rumours of her witchcraft spread and she feels she must escape the town to survive. Linay provides her with basic necessities, and her wish to not be alone results in her pet cat Taggle gaining the power of speech.

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