The Woman Who Owned the Shadows starts where the rest of the world leaves Indians off: at the brink of death. Ephanie Atencio is in the midst of a breakdown from which she can barely move. She has been left by her husband and is unable to take care of her children. To heal, Ephanie must seek, however gropingly, her own future. She leaves New Mexico for San Francisco, where she begins again the process of remembering and finding a way to herself, relying no longer on men, but on her primary connections to the spirit women of her people and to the women of her own world.