Monday, July 26, 2010

Review: Cate of the Lost Colony

Cate of the Lost Colony
By Lisa Klein
Publication date: October 12, 2010

My review:

Orphaned teen Catherine Archer is offered the chance of a lifetime when she is appointed as a Maid of Honor to Queen Elizabeth I. The world of Elizabeth's court is a sophisticated place to be and Cate quickly makes friends and enemies. When she draws the attention of Sir Walter Ralegh, a favorite of the queen and the queen finds out about the relationship, Cate is tossed into the Tower. Fate intervenes and Cate is forced to join the colonists heading to Virginia. Although she is separated from Ralegh, this is not really a punishment because she has longed to travel to Virginia and see its wonders for herself. The journey and life on Roanoke Island are far more difficult than she could have imagined but Cate still manages to thrive. She even builds friendships with members of the Croatoan tribe and she finds the possibility of love. No one knows what really happens to the lost members of the Roanoke Colony but Lisa Klein has imaginatively created her own version of their story.

I have been fascinated by the story of the lost colony of Roanoke since I was a teen so I was excited when I heard about this novel. The story starts out at the court of Queen Elizabeth but I felt that this part of the story moved much more slowly than the part that takes place in Roanoke. Once Cate is banished, the story became more interesting to me even though I enjoy Tudor history. Cate's life in Roanoke is vastly different from the life she enjoyed as a courtier even with all the gossip and backstabbing. The colonists are not really prepared for how hard life will be but Cate adapts pretty quickly. She becomes a leader and a voice of reason even though she is one of the youngest members of the colony. I admired Cate's attitude and the way she wasn't afraid to stand up to some really unpleasant people. The Cate we meet in England and the Cate who lives in Virginia are two very different people but the changes are believable. Cate was already displaying her intelligence and understanding while at court although she wasn't careful enough in her relationship with Ralegh.

The other main characters are Sir Walter Ralegh and Manteo, a Croatoan leader who is also Cate's other love interest. The chapters alternate between their point of view and Cate's. We hear from Sir Walter Ralegh through letters and poems. I did not always like this device because I found Ralegh's poetry annoying. I would rather have read the story from Cate's point of view alone although it was nice to see what was going on in England while the colonists were struggling. It explained the difficulties involved in obtaining supplies and funds to keep the colony going. The fates of courtiers depended on the whims of the monarch and it was very costly for Ralegh to found his colony and then to maintain it. His poems also showed that he still cared for Cate. Manteo's chapters showed the perspective of someone who was trying to avoid war and to bring about peace between the English and the Indians.

There are a lot of real historical figures and although we don't know much about the colonists I think the author did a good job in giving them imagined personalities. I think that Cate was a fantastic character and I was interested in reading about the colonists and the challenges they faced.

Readalikes: Roanoke: The Lost Colony by Angela Elwell Hunt, Jamestown by Angela Elwell Hunt, The Stolen One by Suzanne Crowley, The King's Rose by Alisa Libby, A Sweet Disorder by Jacqueline Kolosov


  1. Did you feel that this book falls into the "historical fiction" category?

    Did you think that the life in VA colony was well researched?

  2. I too really enjoyed this book. I agree it was a little slower paces during the England part but really loved it when it moved to the colonies.

  3. I really enjoyed this book! Glad you enjoyed it as well, very good review.

  4. oh that makes me want to read that book.. will have to add it to my list, nice review !! :)

  5. Awesome review! i've had my eye on this one for awhile!

  6. I'm really excited about this one, even more so after reading your review now!


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