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The Whip [Audiobook/audio Cd] [Unabridged]

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Narrated by Robin Weigert ('Calamity Jane' / HBO's "Deadwood") "The Whip" is inspired by the true story of a woman, Charlotte 'Charley' Parkhurst (1812-1879) who lived most of her extraordinary life as a man in the old west. As a young woman in Rhode Island, she fell in love with a runaway slave and had his child. The destruction of her family drove her west to California, Narrated by Robin Weigert ('Calamity Jane' / HBO's "Deadwood") "The Whip" is inspired by the true story of a woman, Charlotte 'Charley' Parkhurst (1812-1879) who lived most of her extraordinary life as a man in the old west. As a young woman in Rhode Island, she fell in love with a runaway slave and had his child. The destruction of her family drove her west to California, dressed as a man, to track the killer. Charley became a renowned stagecoach driver for Wells Fargo. She killed a famous outlaw, had a secret love affair, and lived with a housekeeper who, unaware of her true sex, fell in love with her. Charley was the first known woman to vote in America in 1868 (as a man). Her grave lies in Watsonville, California. Audio Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXqfW...


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Narrated by Robin Weigert ('Calamity Jane' / HBO's "Deadwood") "The Whip" is inspired by the true story of a woman, Charlotte 'Charley' Parkhurst (1812-1879) who lived most of her extraordinary life as a man in the old west. As a young woman in Rhode Island, she fell in love with a runaway slave and had his child. The destruction of her family drove her west to California, Narrated by Robin Weigert ('Calamity Jane' / HBO's "Deadwood") "The Whip" is inspired by the true story of a woman, Charlotte 'Charley' Parkhurst (1812-1879) who lived most of her extraordinary life as a man in the old west. As a young woman in Rhode Island, she fell in love with a runaway slave and had his child. The destruction of her family drove her west to California, dressed as a man, to track the killer. Charley became a renowned stagecoach driver for Wells Fargo. She killed a famous outlaw, had a secret love affair, and lived with a housekeeper who, unaware of her true sex, fell in love with her. Charley was the first known woman to vote in America in 1868 (as a man). Her grave lies in Watsonville, California. Audio Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXqfW...

30 review for The Whip [Audiobook/audio Cd] [Unabridged]

  1. 5 out of 5

    Debbilyn

    I wanted to immerse myself into an interesting story of a stagecoach whip who was a woman impersonating a man, but the book's distracting elemental writing style read like a pre-teen fiction. I would not recommend it to preteens because of the repeated foul language (lots of F's), along with rapes, lynchings, and more rapes. I did not like the book's mini chapters that were 2-4 pages long (child-like abbreviated character and plot development), but after reading more about the creation of this b I wanted to immerse myself into an interesting story of a stagecoach whip who was a woman impersonating a man, but the book's distracting elemental writing style read like a pre-teen fiction. I would not recommend it to preteens because of the repeated foul language (lots of F's), along with rapes, lynchings, and more rapes. I did not like the book's mini chapters that were 2-4 pages long (child-like abbreviated character and plot development), but after reading more about the creation of this book, I found out that it started out as a screen play. As I read it, I thought it read like a trashy soap opera and then I looked at who wrote it-a screen and stage actor-which made sense from the sensational added plot lines. Although the premise of the story could be really engaging, the elemental writing style was annoying and distracted me as I was reading. I would stop reading to notice that sentences next to each other had identical structures. I thought the author's voice was not very authentic for the period. I looked into the documented story of Charlie Parkhurst and found that the author embellished major parts of the story, which did not sit well with my desire to learn more about Charlie's actual history. I was surprised that the book received four different awards (publisher awards for promotion purposes) and that NPR had an interview with the author about the book. Did National Public Radio not read it before they reviewed it to see that The Whip is written on an elementary school level? No one in my book club liked it either. They did not like the writing style. Although the story was engaging in it's interesting general main character, the hyper-embellished story and the distracting writing style left a great deal to be desired.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sharmayne

    I was disapointed by this novel but I'm clearly in the minority. I almost gave up on it but stuck it out till Charley starts dressing as a man and that was the first really interesting and genuine seeming part of the book. The first half is creating a fictional backstory and I felt the author was trying too hard. The second half was more engaging as it imagined how life would be for a transgender person. But the ending, like the first part, sank in overwrought melodrama and unbelievable circumst I was disapointed by this novel but I'm clearly in the minority. I almost gave up on it but stuck it out till Charley starts dressing as a man and that was the first really interesting and genuine seeming part of the book. The first half is creating a fictional backstory and I felt the author was trying too hard. The second half was more engaging as it imagined how life would be for a transgender person. But the ending, like the first part, sank in overwrought melodrama and unbelievable circumstances. Overall I was just kind of offended by the liberties taken in the portrayal of a real life person and would have liked to read something more true to the real persons life.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Inga

    My review: The Whip, a debut novel by Karen Kondazian was an excellent book! The Whip is historical novel which is based on a woman who lived as a man working as a stagecoach keeper – Charlotte Parkhurst. The Whip was well written and captivating book. Regarding the plot: The Whip introduced you to Charlotte who grew up in the orphanage in Massachusetts. Charlotte’s mom abandoned her and she has had a complicated and hard life from very early age. She was abused, beaten and to break her spirit she My review: The Whip, a debut novel by Karen Kondazian was an excellent book! The Whip is historical novel which is based on a woman who lived as a man working as a stagecoach keeper – Charlotte Parkhurst. The Whip was well written and captivating book. Regarding the plot: The Whip introduced you to Charlotte who grew up in the orphanage in Massachusetts. Charlotte’s mom abandoned her and she has had a complicated and hard life from very early age. She was abused, beaten and to break her spirit she was sent to the barn. When 16 she moves from orphanage, meets a mysterious man and find love which is unfortunately short. Her husband is lynched and her baby killed. After moving to the west coast, she tries to make a living there and the only way for her is to do it as a man. She is disguising herself as a man and gets a job as stagecoach driver. She is excellent at her work and is challenged more than once as the story develops. It is a dramatic novel, filled with action, extraordinary description about Charley’s life as a man. It’s a page-turner and the novel draws you from the first page until you have turned the last page. Regarding the characters: Charlotte/Charley is a charismatic and complex person. I think the author has done a wonderful work with the main character. When Charlotte is living like Charley, she has a lot of turmoil with herself and she misses being a woman. Her identity problems also lead her to act like a man – she drinks, talks and walks like a man, so while reading you sometimes tend to forget that he is really a she. At the same time inwardly she is still a woman a desires to be a woman. It’s out of necessity that she has chosen to live her like like a man, not because she wants to. I think she had an extraordinary life and the author has done well by bringing her into a real person. I truly enjoyed reading about her. Generally: The Whip by Karen Kondazian was a wonderful novel with lots of drama, action, interesting historical setting and with the main characters that had an extraordinary life. I would highly recommend this book and not only to readers, who love a good historical novel, but to all readers. I loved it!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Peggy

    3 stars, but only because I'm so intrigued by the person Charley Parkhurst. When I first heard about this book and of Charley Parkhurst, I couldn't wait to read it, and I had high expectations. I love historical fiction centered around someone who really existed (especially if there's an afterword explaining what is truth and what is fiction), but is not well-known, and I was looking forward to learning all about Charley Parkhurst's life. Unfortunately, the book is not well-executed. First, ther 3 stars, but only because I'm so intrigued by the person Charley Parkhurst. When I first heard about this book and of Charley Parkhurst, I couldn't wait to read it, and I had high expectations. I love historical fiction centered around someone who really existed (especially if there's an afterword explaining what is truth and what is fiction), but is not well-known, and I was looking forward to learning all about Charley Parkhurst's life. Unfortunately, the book is not well-executed. First, there's the writing, which is just plain bad sometimes. While reading I thought that this would be how I would write a book, which is why I'm not writing books. Also, the chapters. There are more than 80 chapters in 300 pages, and they start and end at the strangest moments. I'm all for short chapters, but they have to be functional. And then there's the degree of truth in the book. I know this is fiction, and I know not much is known about Charley Parkhurst and the decisions he made and the life he led. However, some things are documented, and when you write historical fiction based on someone who actually lived, you should stick to the facts that are known and not change those too. Sure, go ahead and use your imagination for what is not known, and feel free to think about what could have been and make that your story (but specify at the end what's true and what's not), but do not change facts around. I do not feel the book left me with an idea of who the real Charley Parkhurst was, I got more of that from the obituary at the end of the book and googling a bit. So, although this book has several flaws and could have been so much better, I read it until the end without considering giving up, largely because Charley and his life interested me so much. For this, it still gets 3 stars.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Camilla

    There are very few books these days that I devour in a single sitting. Too many things pull me away from reading, sadly. But tonight, I let all of my mom-duties lapse and left a sink full of dirty dishes so that I could lose myself in the world created by Karen Kondazian. This story is amazing, gripping, and completely captivating. I, literally, couldn't put it down. I don't want to give too much away, but it makes you wonder - how many people in the Wild, Wild West were not what they seemed?

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Thompson

    I'm not usually a fan of historical fiction, but my mom recommended it and I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Kondazian is a very visual writer -- as I read, I was casting the movie in my head. Her characterizations are well-thought out and you get a complete picture of each key player. The way she wrote about Charley's life is poignant and real -- I even cried once (okay, twice). I can't say enough about this book. It's not so much a western or a historical romance as it is a study in the human cond I'm not usually a fan of historical fiction, but my mom recommended it and I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Kondazian is a very visual writer -- as I read, I was casting the movie in my head. Her characterizations are well-thought out and you get a complete picture of each key player. The way she wrote about Charley's life is poignant and real -- I even cried once (okay, twice). I can't say enough about this book. It's not so much a western or a historical romance as it is a study in the human condition, running the full gamut of emotions. Read, and enjoy.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte Liebel

    `THE WHIP' by Karen Kondazian [Charlotte M Liebel Review] Brilliant and memorable are the lasting impressions you have after reading the final chapter of the debut novel, "THE WHIP" by Karen Kondazian. It is a novel commemorating a true legend of the Gold Rush Era in the person of a woman who survives the struggles of joblessness by reinventing herself. Charlotte (Charley) Parkhurst was left in a basket at the door of an orphanage in Massachusetts on a cold day of March 1812. It is the baby's good `THE WHIP' by Karen Kondazian [Charlotte M Liebel Review] Brilliant and memorable are the lasting impressions you have after reading the final chapter of the debut novel, "THE WHIP" by Karen Kondazian. It is a novel commemorating a true legend of the Gold Rush Era in the person of a woman who survives the struggles of joblessness by reinventing herself. Charlotte (Charley) Parkhurst was left in a basket at the door of an orphanage in Massachusetts on a cold day of March 1812. It is the baby's good fortune that the lonely boy Lee Colton, a four-year-old, enters her dark room and rocks the baby to sleep. For four years, the children are inseparable. Management changes at the orphanage result in harsh disciplines that affect the personalities of the two children over the years. Charley is removed from the sewing-room, beaten, and escorted to the barn to break her spirit. Her mentor and surrogate father, the black stable-hand named Jonas, guides Charley. Her greatest success is caring for the strong-willed horse Beelzebub who challenges her with fiery eyes. She leaves the orphanage at age 16. Mysterious events lead to a relationship and the birth of a beloved infant. Her joy is short-lived when Vigilantes murder her black partner and baby. Charley recognized one of the men fleeing and vowed to kill him. Charley disguises as a man and applies for a job as stagecoach driver for Wells Fargo. Extremely skilled at the whip and handling the team of horses, Charley wins a competition and trip to San Francisco to even the score with that nameless vigilante. The historical novel `The Whip' by Karen Kondazian is a page-turner with drama that is unpredictable. The language and situations are focused and thought provoking. The book and ebook are available at all booksellers at an attractive price. Amazon: The Whip

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    Imagined life of Charlotte "Charley" Parkhurst who from 1849-1879 and disguised as a man became one of the most renown stage coach drivers on the California frontier; her secret only discovered on her deathbed. Interesting story. Reads like a serial--lots of short, snappy chapters. Readers interested in the Old West will I am sure enjoy this novel.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    Karen Kondazian’s new novel THE WHIP is a fantastic discovery and an important addition to great, historical reads. THE WHIP, set in the uncompromising Old West is inspired by the true story of an extraordinary woman, Charlotte "Charley" Parkhurst who lived most of her tumultuous life as a male stagecoach driver. As a young woman in Rhode Island, she fell in love with a black man and had his child. He was lynched, her baby killed. The destruction of her family drove her west to California, dressed Karen Kondazian’s new novel THE WHIP is a fantastic discovery and an important addition to great, historical reads. THE WHIP, set in the uncompromising Old West is inspired by the true story of an extraordinary woman, Charlotte "Charley" Parkhurst who lived most of her tumultuous life as a male stagecoach driver. As a young woman in Rhode Island, she fell in love with a black man and had his child. He was lynched, her baby killed. The destruction of her family drove her west to California, dressed as a man, to track the killer. Charley became a renowned stagecoach driver for Wells Fargo. She killed the famous outlaw Sugarfoot, had a secret love affair, and lived with a housekeeper who, unaware of her true sex, fell in love with her. Charley was the first woman to vote in America in 1868 (as a man). Her grave lies in Watsonville, California. This extremely moving, thrilling, equally witty and heartbreaking book so perfectly illustrates the social and racial turmoil during this pivotal moment in American history. Although a complicated and flawed character, Charley is a fascinating, inspirational woman we care for. This compelling narrative of her personal journey will not be easily forgotten and I recommend that you pick up a copy of THE WHIP asap. Also check out the Official Website, lots of great articles/interviews http://www.thewhipnovel.com/ Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The...

  10. 5 out of 5

    ✿Sandra

    On the back cover, it shows this book as Historical/Romance/Western. It hit on all of those areas nicely for me and had a great flow from the beginning to the end. I was never bored and couldn't wait to see what would happen to Charlotte "Charley" next. Some of it was heartbreaking, while some of it warmed my heart immensely. This book was inspired by a true story of a woman who lived most of her life in the 1800's as a man. There were people she had worked with for years as a whip driving stagec On the back cover, it shows this book as Historical/Romance/Western. It hit on all of those areas nicely for me and had a great flow from the beginning to the end. I was never bored and couldn't wait to see what would happen to Charlotte "Charley" next. Some of it was heartbreaking, while some of it warmed my heart immensely. This book was inspired by a true story of a woman who lived most of her life in the 1800's as a man. There were people she had worked with for years as a whip driving stagecoaches that were surprised upon her death to find out she was actually a woman. She had to be one tough woman to live in those times as a man! Also, I am from California, and a lot of this book took place in California during the Gold Rush days. Sacramento and San Francisco were mentioned a lot, and I felt I was transported back to life in the 1800's. This book also peaked my interest enough to research more about Charlotte "Charley". For these reasons, this book was definitely a 5 star read for me.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Robyn Jones

    4 STARS! Stagecoach drivers, or whips, were heroes of the old west, and Charlie Parkhurst was one of the best. The world knew Charlie as a man until her obituary announced the truth. The Whip throws us into this amazing woman's life from the moment her infant body was left at church door steps in 1812 all the way to her death in 1879. With tenacity and a gentle heart, she survives childhood, falls in love with horses, hides away in the doldrums of life as an unmarried woman in that day, and fina 4 STARS! Stagecoach drivers, or whips, were heroes of the old west, and Charlie Parkhurst was one of the best. The world knew Charlie as a man until her obituary announced the truth. The Whip throws us into this amazing woman's life from the moment her infant body was left at church door steps in 1812 all the way to her death in 1879. With tenacity and a gentle heart, she survives childhood, falls in love with horses, hides away in the doldrums of life as an unmarried woman in that day, and finally ventures into uncharted territory with no map. Author Karen Kondazian somehow created an epic in 302 pages because my heart soared and tore to pieces. I cheered and cried and boy did I blush. I wanted so badly to know Charlie. The Whip is a striking tale of a girl who always went the way of her heart. She's a new hero of mine that's for sure.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mrs Mommy Booknerd http://mrsmommybooknerd.blogspot.com

    There are stories and books that to come to you by chance and when you turn the very last page you feel invigorated because you found such a poignant and moving story, that is what happened with THE WHIP. Karen Kondazian weaves a story of American history where love crosses boundaries and where heartache and love is represented at it truest and rawest form. As a woman, I admired Charlotte "Charley" Packhurst. I was incredibly moved by her struggle and her will to make her own life, at some great There are stories and books that to come to you by chance and when you turn the very last page you feel invigorated because you found such a poignant and moving story, that is what happened with THE WHIP. Karen Kondazian weaves a story of American history where love crosses boundaries and where heartache and love is represented at it truest and rawest form. As a woman, I admired Charlotte "Charley" Packhurst. I was incredibly moved by her struggle and her will to make her own life, at some great costs. Charley kept on trudging forward despite the obstacles she faced. Kondazian really caputured the essense of what it must have been like for Charlotte to be Charley for all those years. Written in a nicely paced and engaging style, you will become so entrenched in the story and become emotionationally invested in Charley and the supporting characters. I have to admit that I am not normally drawn to historical/romance/western, but after reading what THE WHIP was written about, I could not turn it away. I feel ever so grateful to have read THE WHIP and to share this raving review with you. I have to agree with the other reviewers saying they could see this becoming a big screen hit. THE WHIP will not disappoint and I highly recommend it!!!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    After everything that happened to her in her lifetime, I am not sure how Charley made herself get out of bed in the morning, let alone all she did with her life. Amazing read about a little known character in history, as well as interesting character studies of those who made up the old West. Kondazian does a fantastic job relating all the incidents in Charlie's life, without excess words to wring emotions from the reader, quite frankly what happened to her in her life is enough to make the read After everything that happened to her in her lifetime, I am not sure how Charley made herself get out of bed in the morning, let alone all she did with her life. Amazing read about a little known character in history, as well as interesting character studies of those who made up the old West. Kondazian does a fantastic job relating all the incidents in Charlie's life, without excess words to wring emotions from the reader, quite frankly what happened to her in her life is enough to make the reader sympathetic without those. She is great at dialogue and her research was impeccable. Th book includes actual obituaries and newspaper articles from that time. Anyone who wants to read about the history of stagecoach drivers and a strong woman with great amounts of spirit and fortitude will love this book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sher BonDurant

    I'm honestly not a person who would typically go for a historical/Western style novel; however, I loved every single page of The Whip. The story and writing is so engaging, that it was hard to put down every time I started reading it. The main character, Charley Parkhurst, is so full of emotion and determination that you find yourself feeling all of her ups and downs, and cheering her on as though she were a friend. Her never-ending determination inspires me. I enjoyed reading this book so much th I'm honestly not a person who would typically go for a historical/Western style novel; however, I loved every single page of The Whip. The story and writing is so engaging, that it was hard to put down every time I started reading it. The main character, Charley Parkhurst, is so full of emotion and determination that you find yourself feeling all of her ups and downs, and cheering her on as though she were a friend. Her never-ending determination inspires me. I enjoyed reading this book so much that I started it a third time since purchasing it in January of 2012. I am wildly excited for Karen Kondazian's next book. Lastly, I think The Whip is THE perfect novel to be made into a film. It would be so gratifying to see such a fascinating story about an extraordinary woman played out on the big screen. Fingers crossed that it happens!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tara Chevrestt

    Charley Parkhurst was a stagecoach driver for 30 years. Charley Parkhust was really Charlotte. She started out as an abandoned baby in on an orphanage step and became a drinking, shooting, tobacco spitting, revenge getting stagecoach driver. This is her story. The orphanage: A cruel headmistress goes too far with her punishments. On one hand, she accidentally introduces Charley to her lifelong love: horses. On the other hand, she turns a kind and caring boy into the makings of a monster. This boy Charley Parkhurst was a stagecoach driver for 30 years. Charley Parkhust was really Charlotte. She started out as an abandoned baby in on an orphanage step and became a drinking, shooting, tobacco spitting, revenge getting stagecoach driver. This is her story. The orphanage: A cruel headmistress goes too far with her punishments. On one hand, she accidentally introduces Charley to her lifelong love: horses. On the other hand, she turns a kind and caring boy into the makings of a monster. This boy was Charley's protector and will soon become her enemy. For full review, please click on the link: http://wwwbookbabe.blogspot.com/2011/...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Betty

    I so enjoyed this girly western story. Based on a true person, Charlee Parkhurst who was a stage coach driver in Sacramento California in 1860. Charlee was a woman living as a man. She lives as a man so long that she often forgets herself that she is a woman. She suffers many losses and lives a lonely life protecting her identity. She is not alone in her masquerade, many women went West to follow the gold dressing like men, doing a mans job. Fascinating historical fiction.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bette Crosby

    Although this novel is based on a true story, certain aspects of it come off as unbelievable and the main character, while sympathetic, is not easy to get into. If swearing is something that turns you off, avoid this one.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cathrine ☯️

    The Whip This was a mostly fictional story about a real person, Charlotte “Charley” Parkhurst, a woman living out her adult life as a male stagecoach driver, then logger, in the late 1800s. Very little is known about her since she took her secrets to the grave. Karen Kondazian managed a well written and entertaining story woven around what few facts are known, imagining how this might have come to be, so it’s main value is entertainment, much like many of the Hollywood ‘based on’ movies. St The Whip This was a mostly fictional story about a real person, Charlotte “Charley” Parkhurst, a woman living out her adult life as a male stagecoach driver, then logger, in the late 1800s. Very little is known about her since she took her secrets to the grave. Karen Kondazian managed a well written and entertaining story woven around what few facts are known, imagining how this might have come to be, so it’s main value is entertainment, much like many of the Hollywood ‘based on’ movies. Still, what a fascinating story. It would make a great movie. For a first time author whose lifetime career has been as an actress, it was a satisfying read. A favorite passage: ‘She rode on, past the crumbling brick buildings and the peeling white houses. Everything temporary; she understood that now. All of this was temporary. It would all be snatched away. It was all on loan. Even the people we love. They were all on loan. One day you see their face across a rickety table or you pass them hurrying from here to there, or you see them leave your bed; and their profile passes you by…and you don’t know…your thoughts somewhere else. And then they are snatched away forever and you did not know to say goodbye. You did not know. It was going to be a bracing autumn day. The leaves were glimmering in the early light; they’d been turning crisp in the cold nights and rattled now with the breeze. They were orange, gold, and red. In her old life she might have called it glorious. But now she knew the truth about all this beauty.' I rate it a solid three and a half stars.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    The Whip grasps your attention and doesn’t let go. The story is very engaging. The short chapters keep the story moving quickly, and the plot takes unexpected twists. What I loved about this book was Charley’s character. Kondazian created a woman who was likeable, vulnerable and complicated. The Whip, successfully gives the reader a sense of what it was like to be a stagecoach driver, and it left me wanting to know more about the real life of Charley Parkhurst. After I did a little research, I w The Whip grasps your attention and doesn’t let go. The story is very engaging. The short chapters keep the story moving quickly, and the plot takes unexpected twists. What I loved about this book was Charley’s character. Kondazian created a woman who was likeable, vulnerable and complicated. The Whip, successfully gives the reader a sense of what it was like to be a stagecoach driver, and it left me wanting to know more about the real life of Charley Parkhurst. After I did a little research, I was disappointed to find out that Karen Kondazian created a back-story for Charley that contradicts what little is known about her. I think Kondazian should have framed book one to be more consistent with the known facts. The storyline in book two is improbably, but I don’t think that it contradicts the historical record. I’m a history teacher; so maybe that accounts for my desire to have less fiction in my historical fiction. As a debut novel, The Whip is, particularly, impressive. I will be looking out for Karen Kondazian's second novel.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sheri Meshal

    Whatever you're doing, put it down this instant. Go get a copy of The Whip. I mean it. Karen Kondazian has a way with words that just about takes your breath away. She's smart, funny and unapologetic. Honestly, this is one of the best novels I've ever read. Heartbreakingly beautiful characters and truly unpredictable twists and turns had me panicked, repeatedly checking how many pages I had left. Ever cry because you've reached the end of a book? Have your tissues ready.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Durkee-erwin

    My friend Jeff DeCola did the cover art so I read the book...and I will read ANYTHING else of Karen Kondazians! This book is enticing, intriguing, and colorful! I picked it up intending to slog through it so I could say I read it - and it's WONDERFUL! I shouldn't be surprised but I was. What a great, high-speed ride along with the Stage Coach Drivers of old.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sally

    This is a short story 'loosely' based on the life of Charlotte 'Charley' Parkhurst 1812-1879. An American stagecoach driver who for the most part of his/her life spent it living as a man. I think that Charley's story holds a good deal of fascination and information about social history during this period, however the book reads too much like a fictional work to be taken to seriously.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amy R

    I loved this book! It was hard to put it down whenever I picked it up. Ms. Kondazian really hit a home run when she chose to write about Charley Parkhurst and the life of a stagecoach driver.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    A real and interesting historical person gets a cheesy Hallmark movie treatment from a first-time author, an actress, adapting her own unproduced screenplay, Every time I found myself getting drawn into the book, the author would do something to throw me out again. The prose gets pretty purple throughout, especially during the sex scenes. And the whole conclusion relies upon several stupid coincidences, a predictable revelation, and the inevitable death of a side character that are just way too A real and interesting historical person gets a cheesy Hallmark movie treatment from a first-time author, an actress, adapting her own unproduced screenplay, Every time I found myself getting drawn into the book, the author would do something to throw me out again. The prose gets pretty purple throughout, especially during the sex scenes. And the whole conclusion relies upon several stupid coincidences, a predictable revelation, and the inevitable death of a side character that are just way too much to accept.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sally

    First of all, before I get into the review, I have to point out that The Whip is an honest to gosh, cross my fingers, true story. It’s based on the life of Charley Parkhurst, a young woman who, following the death of her husband and child, spent much of the 19th century tracking down their murder . . . as a man. This is an authentic old west tale, complete with a lynching, stagecoach chases, gun fights, and more. It’s the story of a woman who is so successful at being a man, not only is she allow First of all, before I get into the review, I have to point out that The Whip is an honest to gosh, cross my fingers, true story. It’s based on the life of Charley Parkhurst, a young woman who, following the death of her husband and child, spent much of the 19th century tracking down their murder . . . as a man. This is an authentic old west tale, complete with a lynching, stagecoach chases, gun fights, and more. It’s the story of a woman who is so successful at being a man, not only is she allowed to vote (oh, the horror – LOL!), but she successfully takes her secret to the grave – or so close that it doesn’t really matter. There are, admittedly, some liberties taken with her story, but more to flesh out the grey areas than to significantly alter or misrepresent anything about her. That’s an important distinction to make, because she is most definitely not your typical heroine. In fact, at times, she is downright nasty. Reading Charley’s story, you really get a sense of what life was like for a young, widowed woman in 19th century America. In hindsight, it’s all too easy to see her as a kind of social rebel, a precursor to the feminist movement of the mid 20th century, but the truth is she was guided by two things – the need to survive, and the desire to avenge her family – and advancing women’s rights wasn’t one of them. Charley’s life was a difficult one, both before and after losing her family, with one obstacle after another forced into her path. I daresay most men wouldn’t have been able to continue under such conditions! The early scenes at the orphanage, with the cruel headmistress and boy-cum-monster are a bit over-the-top, but not so much as to detract from the overall story. They really help to set up Charley as a young (wo)man with potential, while her budding romance with an African American blacksmith is a nice touch, further establishing her as an early outsider. I must say, Charley’s transformation certainly doesn’t paint the men of the time in a very flattering light, but it’s honest and down-to-earth. It’s about more than just dressing the part – it’s about walking the walk, talking the talk, and acting the role 24X7. She learns to smoke, chew tobacco, cuss, and fight with the best of them, but to Kondazian’s credit, she never comes across as some ‘butch’ character – we know there’s a woman at the heart of Charley, but the necessities of life dictate a different path. Very well-written, this has the feel of something like Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven – a raw, realistic, powerful western that stays well away from the spaghetti roots.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Criss

    I bought the book because of the subject matter, thinking this would be a "historical fiction" with more of an emphasis on the "historical" then the "fiction." The author does make it clear she took liberties with the story (started out with the idea of the character, kept some important events from hir life, but made up a bunch of it), so I don't feel "deceived." This is an enjoyable read, a good story with interesting characters, but I don't know how much of it is true to Parkhurst's life. How I bought the book because of the subject matter, thinking this would be a "historical fiction" with more of an emphasis on the "historical" then the "fiction." The author does make it clear she took liberties with the story (started out with the idea of the character, kept some important events from hir life, but made up a bunch of it), so I don't feel "deceived." This is an enjoyable read, a good story with interesting characters, but I don't know how much of it is true to Parkhurst's life. However, now that I know about Charley Parkhurst, I'm definitely going to be researching hir to find out what was true, what was artistic license -- mainly, whether Parkhurt was a cis woman living as a man because women in those times had so few options for survival, or whether Parkhurst was actually a trans man (which is what I originally thought when I read the description). (view spoiler)[Kondazian presents Parkhurst as a cis woman who decides to live as a man mainly to take revenge on someone; she needs a job that would not have been given to a woman, so she disguises herself as a man and lives as a man, but the author refers to Charley with female pronouns (when the story is on Charley's POV; when it's in someone else's POV, Charley is referred to with male pronouns because the character thinks Charley is a man). There is even a "romance" where Charley goes to another town and dresses as a woman to meet her (cis male) lover. I really want to know how much of this is true, and if the lover is a real person, if he was attracted to Charley the man or the woman (or both -- I guess I want to know if when they had relations the lover wanted Charley dressed as a man or a woman). (Then again maybe I need to realize that gender and sexual orientation are spectrums, not binaries...) (hide spoiler)]

  27. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    high school & up Charlotte was left on the steps of an orphanage when she was just a baby. Her only friend and protector was a boy 4 years older. When a new administrator arrives she takes an immediate dislike to "Charley" and her friend Lee. Charlotte is banished to the stables until she decides to begin acting more ladylike. Instead, Charlotte loves working with horses and falls in love with a man working in a livery. Unfortunately, it is the 1800s and the man she loves is black. After he and t high school & up Charlotte was left on the steps of an orphanage when she was just a baby. Her only friend and protector was a boy 4 years older. When a new administrator arrives she takes an immediate dislike to "Charley" and her friend Lee. Charlotte is banished to the stables until she decides to begin acting more ladylike. Instead, Charlotte loves working with horses and falls in love with a man working in a livery. Unfortunately, it is the 1800s and the man she loves is black. After he and their child is killed by a lynch mob, she decides to move out West and become a stagecoach driver. In order to do this, she must dress, act, and live like a man. She keeps the secret of her gender from almost everyone until her death. Soooo very fascinating. Back then it was next to impossible for a woman to live independently. So what's a girl to do? Say to hell with society's rules and make your own. Of course, like with any historical fiction you have to remember that not all conversations are accurate and that most times the author doesn't have first hand knowledge of the person's true motivations. I loved the part about Charley being the first female to vote in an election. The author does a great job of helping us imagine her/his reaction to hearing about suffragettes. Information and details about the stagecoach era were great. My absolute, hands-down, favorite part was the list of rules issued by the stagecoach company. I had to read them aloud to everyone in the room. So funny. All in all, I greatly enjoyed this book. Fantastic historical fiction about a lesser known historical female.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    The 411: I finished this book last night after starting it just the night before. Who would have thought you could make a book about a stage coach riders back in the 1800s and make it interesting. Wow, it is not only interesting but any book that forces me to research deeper in the main topic of the book is at the top of my list. The better part of my morning was spent researching more information on Charley Parkhurst the most famous stage coach driver. Upon her death when neighbors came to prepa The 411: I finished this book last night after starting it just the night before. Who would have thought you could make a book about a stage coach riders back in the 1800s and make it interesting. Wow, it is not only interesting but any book that forces me to research deeper in the main topic of the book is at the top of my list. The better part of my morning was spent researching more information on Charley Parkhurst the most famous stage coach driver. Upon her death when neighbors came to prepare "his" body, it was established that he was in fact a she and that she had given birth at one time. Born Mary, Charley ended up in an orphanage when her father remarried. She left when she was 12. She wore a patch over one eye and was refer as One Eyed Charley or according to another website, cockeyed Charley or Mountain Charley. In The Whip, author Karen Kondazian takes some liberties with the story and mixes in some fiction with the real story of Charley for a wonderful ride that actually feels very real. Whether Charley had an accomplice at the orphanage who kills people she loves, I am unsure. If Charley loses her eye because of a horse accident, I don't know....what I can tell you is that The Whip, makes perfect sense. I can completely imagine that life as Charley Parkhurst was lonely however she was the first woman to vote! Well, it was as a man but whatever. You will love the story of Charley Parkhurst. Would love to see someone make this a movie which in my head, I havve already cast Hilary Swank! Great book!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Donna Brown

    Is it a poor review that starts “I really don’t know where to begin”? It probably is but it is the truth. There is so much to Karen Kondazian’s historical fiction novel, The Whip, that I don’t know how to get it on to paper. Let’s start with the facts. This is based on a true story and the central character is Charlotte “Charley” Parkhurst, a woman who found herself disguising herself as a male during her life on several occasions for different reasons. The Whip tells her story from childhood unt Is it a poor review that starts “I really don’t know where to begin”? It probably is but it is the truth. There is so much to Karen Kondazian’s historical fiction novel, The Whip, that I don’t know how to get it on to paper. Let’s start with the facts. This is based on a true story and the central character is Charlotte “Charley” Parkhurst, a woman who found herself disguising herself as a male during her life on several occasions for different reasons. The Whip tells her story from childhood until death and covers some extraordinary events. Set in the Wild West in the 19th century, this is a rapid-paced tale of fast horses, deadly weapons and loose women but amongst all those things Kondazian has managed to weave some unbelievable tenderness and poignancy. Parkhurst is portrayed beautifully as fiercely independent, strong and stubborn but also loving and courageous and a survivor. The book depicts Pankhurst’s life as both a man and woman and the change in persona that accompanies her outward portrayal of both sexes. It is all at once a story of adventure, romance, tragedy, humour, love, loss, psychology and expectation. I greatly enjoyed this ‘fact into fiction’ portrayal of a remarkable woman and hope to read more from Kondazian in the future. This review was originally published on Book Bags and Cat Naps. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review. I did not receive any additional compensation and all views are my own.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Phair

    As I was reading The Case of the Deadly Desperados this book fell into my hands. Since the time frame is similar as well as the western setting I decided to give it a go. This bio-novel is one of those fascinating stories of a woman who disguised herself as a man in order to make a life for herself in the "man's world" of the Wild West [see also the film Ballad of Little Jo for a similar story, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106350/]. The Whip is based on Charlie Parkhurst, a real person and, who As I was reading The Case of the Deadly Desperados this book fell into my hands. Since the time frame is similar as well as the western setting I decided to give it a go. This bio-novel is one of those fascinating stories of a woman who disguised herself as a man in order to make a life for herself in the "man's world" of the Wild West [see also the film Ballad of Little Jo for a similar story, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106350/]. The Whip is based on Charlie Parkhurst, a real person and, who knew, one who hailed from Little Rhody (at least from her adult years). I was very pleasantly surprised by the author's writing skills- excellent flow. You got the flavor of the times without rampant dialect. It also had nice short chapters- something I love, especially now that my reading time is often broken up into stolen moments where short chapters make it easier to pick up & put down. Too bad Glenn Close just made the film Albert Nobbs. I could almost see her as Charlie although perhaps a second actress would be required to play the earlier years. Maybe the way this novel made it easy to visualize the story as a movie is owing to the fact that the author herself is an actress. An excellent first novel.

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