The death of Catherine Archer’s father in 1583 prompts Queen Elizabeth to invite her to Whitehall to be one of her maids of honor. While in London, Catherine (nicknamed Cat by the Queen) meets Sir Walter Ralegh and becomes enchanted by him. The two secretly begin writing poems of love to each other, and Catherine dreams of joining him in the New World.
However, Catherine and Ralegh’s clandestine relationship comes to a quick end when the queen finds the letters and abruptly sends Catherine to the Tower of London as punishment for her betrayal. Later, thinking that she has found an even stiffer penalty, Queen Elizabeth orders her prisoner to the Virginia settlement. Although the queen believes this to be a hard sentence, Catherine is excited to see America – even if she is without Ralegh.
After enduring months at sea, Cate (as she likes to be called now) and the rest of the Roanoke Island settlers arrive in the New World. Unfortunately, relations between the English and the Native Americans are tense. Conditions are not what were expected, and the expedition leaders return to London for aid, promising to return quickly. Cate works with Manteo, the Croatan translator, in trying to mediate between the two groups. Manteo and Cate feel a mutual understanding, and a trusting relationship develops between them. Although the English fight in the beginning, they soon realize that while they wait for rescue they must live peacefully among the Croatans to survive.
Three years after Cate and her fellow settlers arrived on Roanoke Island, an English ship carrying their rescuers arrive. However, they are happy living among the Croatans and refuse to return to England. Although their rescuers, including Sir Walter Ralegh, do not understand why they are determined to stay, they depart without them. It is agreed that the Englishmen will not speak of their interaction with the settlers, simply saying that they were not found and their fate is a mystery.
This story is recounted through the perspectives of Catherine Archer, Sir Walter Ralegh, and Manteo. Lisa Klein provides an interesting ending to the tale of the Lost Colony.
Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.