Friday, October 22, 2010

Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa Klein

This book will be available this month. 

Grade: A+


Note: If I were you, I would read the book before the synopsis. This will make it far more interesting.

Lady Catherine is one of Queen Elizabeth's favorite court maidens--until her forbidden romance with Sir Walter Ralegh is discovered. In a bitter twist of irony, the jealous queen banishes Cate to Ralegh's colony of Roanoke, in the New World. Ralegh pledges to come for Cate when he sails for the settlement with supplies, but as the months stretch out, Cate begins to doubt his promise and his love. Instead it is Manteo, a Croatoan Indian, whom the colonists--and Cate--increasingly turn to. Yet even as Cate's longings for England and Ralegh begin to fade and she discovers a new loe in Manteo, Ralegh will finally set sail for the New World...


Character Development: 10/10
Originality: 9/10
Overall Enjoyment: 8/10
Ending: 10/10
Voice: 8/10
Plot: 10/10
Setting: 10/10
Total Score: 65/70

Obtained: Free ARC provided by publisher.

Age Appropriate? PG-13

Cursing: None, if any.
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: None
Sexual Content: Mild references only, some infidelity in minor/background characters
Disturbing Images/Violence: Some graphic violence, starvation, and poverty.


In the typical style of the talented Lisa Klein, Cate of the Lost Colony is a highly adventurous, exciting work of historical fiction. She makes a story we all learn in American History -- the story of Roanoke, the lost colony of legend -- five times as interesting and a lot more meaningful. She effortlessly brings to life the contrast between the dramatic and luxurious English court under Queen Elizabeth I and the harsh, wild, uncivilized Americas on the brink of colonization.

This was an incredibly original tale. Though occasionally tedious, the narration was smooth and the action constant. I particularly loved the integration of historical documents like letters and diary entries that assisted in telling the tale. On a more literary note, I found it refreshing that our heroine, the spunky and passionate Lady Cate, is not part of a typical "love triangle". That is, she is not the object of two equally dashing young men's affections, but is instead a corner in a love square that is as full of confusion, doubt, and human error as any real-life relationship.

This novel really opened my eyes to the struggles of the earliest Americans in a way that no history teacher could ever accomplish, but that is really a side note to the real drama playing out: one of love, betrayal, banishment, and survival. Klein's characters are complex and human, each a delicate mixture of flaws and strengths that added infinite dimension to the story. The plot continues effortlessly, with every chapter bringing more trials and more triumphs for our heroine and her companions. Lisa Klein is a gifted writer, and this book, more than perhaps any of her others, truly embodies what a historical fiction novel can--and should--be.


Lisa Klein
A Picture Slideshow Relevant to the Novel
Lady Macbeth's Daughter by Lisa Klein (review)

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