caitysreadviews's Reviews > Cate of the Lost Colony

Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa M. Klein
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Aug 06, 13

Courtesy of Caity's Readviews:

After reading Ophelia, I was eager to read another of Lisa Klein’s novels and found Cate of the Lost Colony. I was not disappointed; in fact, I became more attached to Cate than I had been to Ophelia.

Catherine Archer is the orphaned daughter of a high-ranking soldier when Queen Elizabeth grants her the rare honor of becoming a lady-in-waiting. But court life, with all of its scandals, forbidden romances, and gossip, does not bode well for Catherine’s fate, as she soon finds herself romantically involved with the charming young Sir Walter Ralegh, one of Queen Elizabeth’s “favorites.” Catherine and Sir Walter’s secret is not safe for long, and in a fit of raging jealousy, the Queen banishes Catherine to the unfounded wilderness colony of Virginia Roanoke.

Interestingly, this book is narrated not just by Catherine– or “Cate” as she starts to go by– but also by the two prominent male characters in the story: the ambitious (and fairly shallow) Sir Walter Ralegh, via his journals, letters, and various papers; and Manteo, a young, upright Native American man who aids the colonists as an ambassador. The story takes a sharp turn in a completely different direction as soon as Cate arrives in the New World; the book is no longer about queens and castles and ladies-in-waiting, but becomes a sobering tale of poverty, war, death, and survival in the wilderness. But what drives the story are Cate’s emotions, her willful, outspoken spirit, and her refusal to be ruled by any man.

My complaints would be that the narratives from Manteo’s and Sir Walter’s perspectives interrupted the flow of Cate’s narrative and seemed out-of-place. They gave away too much exposition that would have been more interesting to have learned or wondered about from Cate’s perspective. Also, the story’s drastic change from prim-and-proper court life to the colonists’ fight for survival in the raw New World was off-putting; the two halves of this story almost felt like two separate novels. I unfortunately did not enjoy the second half quite as much as I had been enjoying the first; however, this book was still a very good read, and I would recommend it.

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