Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa M. Klein
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Release date: October 12, 2010
The greatest unsolved mystery of American history--what happened to all the colonists who landed on Roanoke Island in 1587? This novel traces the fortunes and misfortunes of one Cate Archer, banished to Virginia by a jealous Queen Elizabeth because of her dalliance with Sir Walter Ralegh. What will be her fate in this dangerous New World?
How have I not read anything by the amazingness that is Lisa Klein before? Cate of the Lost Colony was an engaging, original, and very well written novel that had me reading late into the night. Historical fiction has always been one of my favorite genres and I've read about a variety of time periods. The lost colony of Roanoke is something that interests me very much, but it's also one of the only parts of American history I haven't read much about!
The main character, Cate Archer, is such a fantastic heroine. She keeps the story moving and adds so much to the novel. Cate is strong willed, determined, and is never afraid to speak her mind. From the time Cate moves into the palace to serve Queen Elizabeth I was drawn into her story. Queen Elizabeth is one of my favorite historical figures, but Lisa definitely presented her in a new light. During this time, the Virgin Queen is no longer as young and beautiful as she normally is presented. Her life is rough and she is dealing with a variety of issues and struggles, but Cate is luckily one of her favorites. Reading about Cate's experience in court was entertaining and I loved Emme, Cate's fellow maid and loving friend from the start.
Unfortunately things take a turn for the worst when Cate is exiled to the new colony of Roanoke after the Queen discovers her hidden romance with Sir Walter Ralegh. The novel was mainly told from Cate's perspective, but a few chapters were told from the point of view of Sir Walter as well as another character, a Native American named Manteo. It was a great way to discover what the other two were feeling and to see the world through the eyes of two very different people.
The plot was fast paced and kept me constantly wanting to know how things were going to turn out for Cate and the other colonists. The emotions and tensions ran high and I practically felt like I was experiencing everything with the Roanoke colonists. Lisa managed to tie in a variety of historical facts without making it dull. I learned a lot more about the time period from this book than I ever did in history class. It was equally interesting to read Lisa's thoughts on what she thought happened to the colonists of Roanoke and I agree that something similar did occur.
Cate of the Lost Colony was not just the story of Cate Archer and Roanoke Island, there was also a love triangle! Reading about Cate's growing relationship with Manteo and Sir Walter Ralegh was one of my favorite aspects of the book. The two men were so different and came from opposite sides of the world, yet Cate still fell in love with each of them. I definitely supported her final decision :)
Overall, Cate of the Lost Colony was an amazing novel that left me eager to read more by Lisa Klein in the future. She is a fantastic writer and deftly weaves historical facts into an original and entertaining story. Cate is a fantastic main character and every reader will like her from the start. I've already gotten my mom to read this book and can't wait to recommend it to more people!
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars