Something different: The Whip

The Whip by Karen Kondazian has patiently been waiting its turn on my bookshelf for ages now (yes, a paper book…I’m old-fashioned that way).

It tells the story of Charlotte “Charley” Parkhurst (b. 1812, d. 1879) who grew up in an orphanage where circumstances gave her the opportunity to learn about horses until she was old enough to leave. Falling in love with a former slave and having a baby together, she vows revenge when they are brutally taken from her. However, she realises that only as a man will she have the means and freedom to accomplish this. So she becomes Charley and ultimately one of the best Wells Fargo stagecoach drivers (whip).

While it is classified as fiction, there really was a Charley/Charlotte Darkey Parkhurst aka One Eyed Charley (towards the end of her life). Only on her death was it discovered that “he” was really a woman. It was thought that she may have been the first woman to vote in the United States, although, as a man (there are some arguments against this as I believe some States allowed women the vote already).

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and polished it off in a matter of days. It has been criticised as being poorly written but I found myself so caught up in the story that I didn’t really notice. Yes, it may be very easy to read and have short chapters (between about 2 to 6 pages max) but that worked for me. I’ve had a lot on the go lately so was actually grateful for a book like this. One where I didn’t have to concentrate too hard yet still holding my attention.

An easy but interesting read that had me cringing while she was in the orphanage, almost in tears when her family was murdered and plain fascinated by her life.

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