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!
The thirteen-year-old daughter of an English country knight keeps a journal in which she records the events of her life, particularly her longing for adventures beyond the usual role of women and her efforts to avoid being married off.
In her "witty, irreverent diary," Catherine describes her mother's efforts to turn her into a lady, her father's attempts to marry her off, and her resolve to be who she wants to be and live the life she chooses, despite the conventions governing girls of good family in medieval England.
Available Teacher Guides, Lesson Plans, Novel Units, and Activities for Catherine Called Birdy by Karen Cushman: