Cate of the Lost Colony
When her father is killed fighting in the Netherlands, young Catherine Archer is left alone and penniless – until Queen Elizabeth invites her to become a lady’s maid at the royal court in London. Catherine is mesmerized by the splendor of the court, especially the handsome Sir Walter Ralegh, who entertains her with tales of the colony he has founded in the New World. Catherine dreams of traveling to Virginia at Ralegh’s side. But when the jealous queen discovers their secret romance, she banishes Catherine to the colony of Roanoke, never to see England or Ralegh again.
The New World is far from the paradise Catherine expects – food is scarce, dissension divides the colonists, and war breaks out between the English and the native tribes. As Catherine waits for Ralegh to come to her rescue, she does her best to keep the peace, learning the Algonkian language and befriending the native people. But as her comfort with the Indians grows – along with her attraction to Manteo, the young Croatan ambassador – Catherine must decide where her true loyalties lie. Is she Lady Catherine Archer of England? Or is she Cate of Virginia, ready to leave her old life behind?
In this latest novel, Lisa Klein moves away from her previous derivative fiction (Ophelia, Lady Macbeth’s Daughter) to tell the story of the Lost Colony of Roanoke. Expertly negotiating the challenges of 16th-century research, Klein works firmly within the historical record while crafting an engaging narrative of how the first English settlers in the Americas met their fate. Catherine’s transformation is honest and believable, and the shifts in setting – from the Tower of London to the thick forests of Virginia – are seamless. This is Klein’s best novel yet – and hopefully a harbinger of many more to come.