Friday, 31 January 2014

Catherine Called Birdy by Karen Cushman

cover art

Reviewer: Liza Perrat, author of Spirit of Lost Angels and Wolfsangel (

What we thought: Amusing and thought-provoking. Set in 1290, Catherine Called Birdy is told through 14-year old Catherine’s quirky diary entries. The daughter of a minor nobleman, Catherine would prefer to play outdoors with the wild peasants, rather than pursuing the usual occupations of a noble girl, such as embroidering and sewing. In fact, she truly wishes she’d been born a boy. But Catherine is approaching the age of marriage, and her hateful father invites one suitor after another, all of whom the girl finds repulsive. She wants none of this marriage lark, and makes a game of turning away each potential husband. That is, until she meets her match – the ugliest of all the men – who seems determined to make Catherine his wife. Catherine’s life is starkly different from that of a modern child, though her reactions are spookily familiar.

You’ll enjoy this if you like: Books for age 9 upwards, Beowulf, Robin Hood & his Merry Men.

Avoid if you don’t like: Medieval tales, arranged marriage, horrible fathers.

Ideal accompaniments:
A mug of ale with a trencher of heron roasted with pepper and cloves.

Genre: Historical Fiction

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