Lady Catherine is one of Queen Elizabeth's favorite court maidens--until her forbidden romance with Sir Walter Raleigh is discovered. In a bitter twist of irony, the jealous queen banishes Cate to Raleigh's colony of Roanoke. (goodreads.com)
Every once in a while I'll come across a nice book. Just something that when you finish reading it you go, "that was nice." Something that isn't overly thrilling or phenomenal but it definitely wasn't bad either. It was nice. CATE OF THE LOST COLONY was a nice, pleasant read that had a good voice I could get hooked into, just interesting enough of a plot line to be engaging and a satisfying ending. Nice.
Cate is a fallen child once of nominally prominent parents who are both dead and have left her with relatives that look at her as nothing more than a burden. When Queen Elizabeth calls her to court to be a Lady, Cate's life starts looking up, until the love interest comes along.
Cate isn't too much of a character that steps outside of the society's role for a woman. She's well-educated, as someone of her standing would be, but she's also timid, she falls in line and she's everything a well-meaning Lady should be. I didn't find any of her actions prior to her exile to be out of character for the setting and actually it was quite nice to NOT read something like that. Usually you end up with a character that totally bucks the system despite how unnatural it looks and how unlikely it should have been. Enter Ralegh (spelled without the 'i' in the story) and she gets a little more brazen, gets a little bit more of a mouth but really it was only in a situation where she knew she pretty much had nothing left to lose. She was smart too. Really, I liked Cate. She was real and I believed every ounce of her curious character.
I loved her even more for how she handled the relationship with Ralegh. It could have gone so many ways, many of which would have had be ripping out my hair and screaming into a pillow. I still have a full head of hair. That should be telling. The relationship culminates, officially, at the end of the story and it ends up being REALISTIC. Dear god, I loved it. I do not want to spoil but I was definitely going YES!!! reading it. I couldn't help myself. It was another testament to Cate's strength, and her weaknesses, and I loved it.
Klein painted such a vivid picture of the time that I could see every little piece of story going on as it unfolded before me. From the wrinkles at the corners of the queen's eyes to the conditions in the Indian camp, I saw, felt, breathed it all. Again, it was real and oh so nice. Nothing was glamorized or romanticized, although Cate's head was a little bit in the clouds before she got to Roanoke but that balloon was quickly burst once winter came.
The ending also made an intriguing possibility to the mystery behind Roanoke and why or how all those people disappeared. Not going to spoil but this ending totally made sense. Men and their pride, let me tell you. And no, it has nothing to do with a demon virus.
So yeah. It was just a nice book. Not too heavy on action or suspense or romance. But there was enough of all of that to string the plot along in a good, easy read that was intriguing until the end. I really don't think anyone would be disappointed in CATE OF THE LOST COLONY, especially if you like historical fiction. A well-built world with heinously realistic characters, the past will pop right off the page the second you start reading.
Ban Factor: Low - No sex, no swearing and there's a virgin queen. Unless banners have something against Native Americans (which they very well could), this one should be on the safe list.
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