Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa Klein

October 20th, 2010 by Debbie's World of Books

Source: Received for review

Publication date: October 12, 2010

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars

Description from 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 Ralegh. What will be her fate in this dangerous New World?

I have always been fascinated by the question of what happened to the Roanoke colony since the first time we read about it in History class so this book immediately caught my eye.  While not horrible it did not live up to my expectations.  The story alternates from being told from Cate’s point of view, a Native American named Manteo’s point of view and various correspondence from Sir Walter Raleigh.  I enjoyed reading Cate’s and Manteo’s POVs but I just could not get into the format of hearing Walter Raleigh’s POV based on letters to his brother and other pieces of writing.  It just did not have the nice flow of events and seemed too disjointed.

The characters

Cate was an interesting mixture of proud, naive and stubbornness.  She makes some phenomenally stupid mistakes but you have to keep in mind that she was not raised at court and apparently even after four years living at court still committed some monumental faux pas.  Even when she reaches America her naive stubbornness that the natives would not harm her gets her into more trouble but you do have to admire her spunk.

Sir Walter Raleigh was harder to get into because as I mentioned I did not care for getting his POV through letters.  He definitely does not come off as the hero type and you have to wonder what Cate really sees in him.

I wish we had gotten more of Manteo’s POV.  He had the potential to be the most interesting character as he traveled from America to visit England and then returns home to be the guide and ambassador for the colonists.    We get to see some of his thoughts about the differences in the two cultures and how his view changes from awe and seeing the white folks as almost gods to seeing them more as petty children who can’t get along or know even the most basic survival skills.

The story

I found the portion that takes place in England to be just too long and I was wondering when would we actually see anything take place in Roanoke.  Once the colonists arrive in Roanoke the story picked up and definitely caught my attention.  I enjoyed seeing how the colonists go from the conquering adventurers out to make a fortune to having to face the reality of building a new world in an unfriendly environment.  I can only imagine how difficult it must be especially when you figured many of the initial colonists left England because of their own problems and not because they thought they could work well together.

The romance

I was glad that although Cate falls for Walter Raleigh and this leads to her downfall the book wasn’t a pure romance story and focused more on the evolving character of Cate.  I did find it hard to see why she would fall in love with Walter Raleigh based on what we see of his actions but I suppose it can be chalked up to her being so naive.  Who she ends up with in the end is not a surprise but I would have liked to see more build up instead of the sudden declaration that she loves this man.

Overall if you enjoy hearing different theories of what happened to the Roanoke colonists this is an enjoyable read

Posted in 3 Star Books, Books, Historical Fiction, Young Adult

6 Responses

  1. Vee

    Thanks for the review — very balanced and thoughtful. This looks really intriguing, so I might pick it up :)

  2. dsuzuki

    I hope you enjoy it Vee!

  3. Danya

    Hmmm, it sounds like Cate’s character is a bit annoying with her being so naive! I’ve heard mixed things about this one, I think a lot of people also couldn’t really get into Walter Raleigh’s POV. Anyway your review was well done and structured nicely – thanks for being honest! :)

  4. Natalie

    I think I enjoyed this one more than you did, but I understand the parts you had trouble with. Oh well! Some things aren’t for everyone. Thanks for sharing your thoughts though!

  5. Emily

    I have this one and I’ve been meaning to read it. Sounds like I’m going to enjoy it – thanks for the review!

  6. Bella F.

    hmmm, this sounds like it might be a hard one for me to get into. I tend to have trouble with historical fiction. still might pick it up though.
    stopping by via sunday blues:)

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