Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Book Review: Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa Klein

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 Raleigh. What will be her fate in this dangerous New World? (From Goodreads)

There have been quite a few books about the Tudors over the last few years, and they've all told similar stories. Klein's book takes place during Elizabeth I's reign, but the story focuses on Cate, a lady-in-waiting who falls out of favor. She's sent to the new world, and struggles to survive.

I've definitely expressed my love for intelligent, strong female characters in YA fiction. By the end of the book, Cate won me over. She's faces her problems head on, and shows better leadership abilities than the men in the Roanoke colony. She isn't afraid to meet with the Croatoan Indians, and even learns their language so that she's able to communicate with them. She's also open with her opinions. It may have been unwise, but it takes a lot of courage to stand up to the queen. I also thought Klein did a good job switching back and forth between characters. While the story is told mostly through Cate, there are letters and poems from Sir Walter Raleigh, and the native Manteo. While I would have liked a bit more about Manteo from his chapters, I enjoyed the different perspectives.

While I'm a huge fan of historical fiction, I tend to have very high expectations in this category. Some stories focus solely on the facts, and don't provide any depth to the characters (real or fictional). Other books do a good job drawing me into the story, but don't always describe the standard of living, and social rules of the time period. Klein writes in a way that satisfied my need to describe life during Elizabeth's reign, and a compelling story. While she created her ending to the Roanoke colonists, her story did seem plausible. Cate was also the creation of Klein, but it was easy to imagine her as a real attendant to the queen.

Overall, it was a nice mix of historical fiction, adventure, and romance. I'm looking forward to more from Klein.

Cate of the Lost Colony
By Lisa Klein
Published by Bloomsbury USA
Release Date: October 12, 2010
Rating: B

Check back tomorrow for a guest post from Lisa Klein, and a contest for a copy of her book!


Andrea said...

I did a project way back in high school on the Lost Colony so this sounds interesting to me. I'll have to check it out.

Tales of Whimsy said...

Thanks for the great honest review :)

Bloomsbury Teens said...

Thanks for the review! We've posted a link on our official Facebook page:

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