Cate of the Lost Colony is a rare jewel in the historical fiction world. With fresh prose, an intriguing historical mystery and a sprinkle of romance, this novel can do no wrong. The story takes off at a clip from the very first page, and the pace only increases as Cate navigates her way through the stormy waters of Queen Elizabeth's court. Never fear, before all the noble's mind games become too tiresome, Cate sets sail for Virginia with a heart full of courage and hope.
Catherine Archer is one of my favorite heroines of 2010. She has such spirit, generosity, courage, and open-mindedness. Cate narrates the story perfectly. Her ability to see the truth sets her apart from the others in both Queen Elizabeth's court and Roanoke colony. Cate really goes against the grain with her beliefs. She doesn't go along with the crowd, and she isn't afraid to speak out, and that is saying something for a women in the 1500s. I feel like Cate and I would be really good friends if we lived in the same world, and I hope she would feel the same about me.
Joining Cate is a caste of unforgettable characters, including one Native American named Manteo. Manteo, along with many of the other Croatoan Indians, make the difference between life and death for the colonists. As the Colonists become more and more dependent on the Croatoan, England seems to drift farther and farther away, until their old home is almost forgotten. Cate even begins to forget Sir Walter Ralegh, the man whom she loved and who's apparent affection triggered her banishment. New affections and old become mixed, and Cate must make a choice between England and Virginia and all they hold.
Cate's foray into the world of Queen Elizabeth's court was intriguing, but I have to say that it was her life in Roanoke that really captured my imagination. At first it was quite the opposite, I was so interested and caught up in court life that I didn't want Cate to fall out of favor with the Queen. I would find myself with thoughts like: Please just burn Sir Walter's letters Cate! After all that worrying, I actually enjoyed the story more after Queen Elizabeth banished Cate. I immediately became wrapped up in the lives of the colonists. Their triumphs were my triumphs, their losses and foolishness (which presented itself in abundance) were mine as well.
Lisa Klein has a remarkable ability to weave fiction and history together. I have never read a book quite so satisfying. It has lovely descriptive passages and a plot that moves at a good pace. I have already enthusiastically recommended this book to all of my friends, and I recommended it to all of you as well!