Catherine feels trapped. Her father is determined to marry her off to a rich man—any rich man, no matter how awful.
But by wit, trickery, and luck, Catherine manages to send several would-be husbands packing. Then a shaggy-bearded suitor from the north comes to call—by far the oldest, ugliest, most revolting suitor of them all. Unfortunately, he is also the richest.
Can a sharp-tongued, high-spirited, clever young maiden with a mind of her own actually lose the battle against an ill-mannered, piglike lord and an unimaginative, greedy toad of a father? Deus! Not if Catherine has anything to say about it!
Catherine, a spirited and inquisitive young woman, narrates in diary form the story of her fourteenth year—the year 1290.
In an appreciation in the New York Times, illustrator Vera Brosgol spoke for many fans of this beloved book: "I fell hard for Karen Cushman's Catherine, Called Birdy the second I opened it. More than any other heroine I'd read, this one sounded like me. For Catherine, and for me, there is no easy solution to the cages life makes for you. Sometimes the power is in deciding to be yourself in whatever cage you're in."
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"This unusual book provides an insider’s look at the life of Birdy, 14, the daughter of a minor English nobleman. The year is 1290 and the vehicle for storytelling is the girl’s witty, irreverent diary. . . . Superb historical fiction."— School Library Journal, Starred
"The period has rarely been presented for young people with such authenticity; the exotic details will intrigue readers while they relate more closely to Birdy’s yen for independence and her sensibilities toward the downtrodden. Her tenacity and ebullient naiveté are extraordinary; at once comic and thought-provoking, this first novel is a delight." —Kirkus Reviews, with Pointers