23 October, 2010

Book Review: Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa Klein


Published: October 2010, BLOOMSBURY

I received this book for review from GOOD GOLLY MISS HOLLY BOOK TOURS (ARC edition)

From Good Reads:
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?

My Review
My interest in CATE OF THE LOST COLONY was piqued immediately by the idea that Lisa Klein had created a fictionalized account of the events leading up to the disappearance of the missing colony of Roanoake. Obviously, because the history was indisputed, I knew that she would have done a great amount of research to get the details right; the British involvement with the native peoples of America, the royal court and the background of the Queen, and even the people that lived in her orbit. These are important facts that done right could make a great novel, but done wrong could turn the read sour for me.

But, Klein's result is so much more than just an accounting of history. Her characters, be they created, or real people who lived at the time are so three-dimensional, it was fairly breath-taking. I really enjoyed the insight into the Queen and Ralegh. Even though it is fictionalized, the inclusion of their personal reactions to love, their own jealousies, and their persuasive qualities speak to how, no matter the title or position in society, all of humanity is similar in very base ways.

I was even pleasantly surprised by the native people that Klein wrote into her novel. Manteo especially, turned out to be a key character, and his point of view enriched the book for me by having him as a representative, figuratively and literally, of the native inhabitants that lived in the area before the British arrived. Through his eyes, she shows a people rich in culture, and far from being savages. Yes, he has a foil in Wanchese. But, the idea that all of the natives were war-crazy or brutal is dispelled here.

CATE OF THE LOST COLONY brings a fresh perspective to what it might have been like, on both sides, to experience the birth of a new era for North America, and the difficulties that were endured and overcome by the colonists that departed from European soil.

4.5/5 for plot
5/5 for characters
4/5 for language

My Rating: 13.5/15 Must Read

Find more about Lisa Klein, and her other books, at the following links:

Lisa Klein website
Facebook Page

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