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.