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Karen Cushman: Catherine, Called Birdy

 

Crescent Blues Book Views Clarion Books (Hardcover), ISBN 0-395-68186-3

Book: Karen Cushman, Catherine, called birdy
Originally published in 1994, Catherine, Called Birdy, the diary of a spunky nobleman's daughter living in medieval England, continues to stand the test of time. Now in its eleventh printing, this Clarion re-release provides a great opportunity to curl up in a comfortable chair and enjoy an enchanting tale.

Commanded by her brother Edward to write an account of her days to keep her at her desk and away from trouble, Catherine refuses. However, when her mother, Lady Aislinn, strikes a bargain which allows Catherine to forego spinning threads, the ink flows from her pen with little difficulty. Catherine fills her diary with humorous accounts of saints, inimitable sarcastic wit, humor, an entertaining cast of characters and delightful follies, which results in fantastic luck for the reader. Not only does the reader get an eye-opening historical look at life in the Middle Ages, but many doses of laughter, which only a spitfire like Catherine can dish out.

As Catherine approaches her fourteenth year, her father Rollo (the "beast who never speaks to me except with the flat of his hand to my cheek or my rump") begins his search for a suitable husband. Unfortunately for Catherine, that does not always include teeth, good personal hygiene, intelligence or other admirable attributes. Fueled by greed, Rollo offers his daughter's hand to anyone willing to fill his pockets. He accepts several proposals, but of course, cunning Catherine refuses to let her fate be according to other than her own wishes.

This is one of those exceptional books that you will never forget reading, one that you can read again and again and still laugh the whole way through.

Lynne Marie Pisano

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