Lisa Klein is fast becoming one of my favorite YA historical novelists. I thoroughly enjoyed Lady Macbeth’s Daughter and was even more excited to read Cate of the Lost Colony to see what tale Klein could spin from the fate of the colonists.
Knowing our history, we know the colony is doomed to fail. So what will happen to Cate?
This book just pulled me along. The story is told from Cate’s point of view and from that of Manteo, the Croatoan native brought to Elizabeth’s court to learn English customs and eventually act as a go-between. It also shows Ralegh’s point of view, primarily through letters and poems. Each voice comes across as authentic, but it is Cate’s that truly shines. She grows from an insecure but proud girl to a confident and wise young woman.
Just as an aside, the book reminds me of a novel published in 2006 that was somewhat similarly themed but for a younger age group, My Lady, Pocahontas, by Kathleen V. Kudlinski, which tells the story of the Jamestown colony. I reviewed this book for The Historical Novels Review, Issue 39, February, 2007. My review is as follows:
Pocahontas sees visions which lead her first to spy on the settlers in order to protect her people, then to believe she herself will prove a peaceful link between the two disparate cultures. Neetah stands by her friend through many trials, even when she begins to suspect Pocahontas’s visions might be clouded by love for Captain Smith. She remains steadfast when it appears Pocahontas’s machinations have not been protecting the Pamunkey from the newcomers but inadvertently bringing death and destruction.
Steady and true, Neetah understands Pocahontas’s heart and presents to young readers a sympathetic account of this Pamunkey woman whose life can be seen as both tragic and inspiring. Well-researched and engaging, this book is recommended, although it may be a bit mature for some ten-year-olds.