Monday, March 7, 2011

Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa Klein

Cate of the Lost Colony is a fictional account of the settlement of Roanoke Island in Virginia Colony in 1587.
The story begins in England with Catherine Archer who is taken into the Queen's service as a lady-in-waiting. Catherine's father died during fighting in the Netherlands and she is brought to London, as a favour for the sacrifice of her father to his country.
Catherine soon becomes infatuated with the much older Sir Walter Ralegh, Queen Elizabeth's Sir "Warter". Ralegh was a favourite in the Elizabethan court for many years. Soon Catherine Archer and Walter Ralegh are corresponding and meeting on occasion - an possible scenario given court life in the 1500's. Ralegh in real life, did in fact seduce one of the Queen's maids and ended up marrying her so it's quite possible that he would be interested in a character such as Catherine Archer.
However, when Elizabeth discovers the relationship between Catherine and Walter she imprisons Catherine in the Tower of London and then banishes Catherine to the New World - specifically to the colony Ralegh is setting up on Roanoke Island.
Catherine is thrilled to be going to the New World because she hopes that she will finally be free to be with Walter Ralegh whom she assumes is also making the voyage. She also envisions herself and the colonists making the Indians of the New World good subjects of the Queen. From this point on, Klein explores what might have happened to the 100 colonists who land on Roanoke Island and who are never heard of again.
Klein's Cate is a heroine who is both brave and intelligent. Cate of the Lost Colony is a romanticized fictional account of what happened on Roanoke Island. I found the second half of the book more interesting than Klein's account of life in the Elizabethan court at the beginning of the novel. I appreciated the Cast of Characters at the front of the book but would have also liked a map to help me understand the location of the colony in the New World:

I highly recommend Cate of the Lost Colony for teen fans of historical fiction.

You can read an account of the first colony of Roanoke, which consisted of 100 colonists who settled there in 1585, online. It was written by Ralf Lane who was in charge of the colony under Sir Richard Grenville.

Book Details:
Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa Klein
New York: Bloomsbury 2010

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