Riveting and action propelled. This researched work flows naturally, incorporating historical detail without detracting from the story. True-to-life description and a meticulous depiction of Parkhurst bring this gritty period to a degree of vividness rarely seen. The cinematic style utilizes all the senses; the world in which she survived unimaginable tragedy can be felt as well as seen in the mind’s eye. Witty dialogue, along with an intentional focus on reality, as opposed to excessive dramatization of the Wild West, make this book appropriate for an academic environment, not just mainstream entertainment.
-ForeWord Reviews, Review by Julia Ann Charpentier. Read the full review
5 Stars. Best book for me in 2014, I had so many Omg moments. It had abandonment love hate murder everything you can think of. The chapter’s are very short . A very easy read .Great book.
– Amazon.com Review by Càrmen Johnson – February 20th, 2014 Read the review
Kondazian leaves the complexities of Charley Parkhurst’s life of adventure and secrecy to the reader’s imagination. There is an openness about her writing that encourages the reader to expand on these complexities, rather than diminishing them with answers. Kondazian’s deft hand and sophisticated touch invites these complexities to live in the imagination…. While the setting of “The Whip” takes place over a century ago, the questions raised about the choices we make and their consequences on our lives remain pressing and relevant today….Kondazian weaves fiction and fact together seamlessly into a poignant and profound read.
- Story Circle Book Reviews, Review by Dawn Wink. Read the full review
Charley Parkhurst makes for a compelling main character. The Whip is very well researched (I loved all the historical tid-bits about piano legs, cat-hauling, and the stagecoach business itself), and Kondazian’s novel unfolds cinematically; you can almost feel the sun’s rays and smell the horse sweat. A truly fascinating novel of one woman’s determination and grit in the heart of the Old West.
- Reader’s Favorite, Review by Kayti Nika Raet. Read the full review
The Whip is a striking tale. Author Karen Kondazian created an epic. My heart soared and tore to pieces.
– Robgirlbooks Blog, Review by Robyn Jones. Read the full review
Kondazian has written a novel about the old West that feels authentic in almost every sweaty detail… Her background as an actress helps her to convincingly render Charlotte’s transformation.…An engaging and authentic depiction of life in the California Gold Rush–era.
- Kirkus Review. Read the full review
“The Whip” is a beautifully written story of the Old West that moves between the exploits of Charley and the heartbreak of his/her secret. This is a very entertaining and emotionally moving reading.
- Bookviews by Alan Caruba. Read the full review
Robin Weigert is able to portray Charlotte as both a man and a woman with very slight changes in her voice. She clearly defines the interesting set of characters in Charlotte’s life with changes in pitch, tone, and regional accents. In addition to Charlotte’s inner struggles and gender switches, the story hints of other women in the Old West who could not be self-reliant, respected, and independent as females. This ambitious plot, well performed, is based on a true story.
– AudioFile Magazine. Read the full review
5 Stars… By far this is my favorite audio book… It’s not only true, but an exciting story. Narrator Robin Weigert is incredibly convincing in her performance of each character.. She’s brilliant. A must listen.
- Audible.com Customer Review of Audio Book, by Sherlock. Read the review
The Whip is simply amazing. I expect author Karen Kondazian to turn this into a screenplay. Bravo to her and to strong women who survive against all odds in a man’s world!
- by Vanessa Kachadurian. Read the review
The journey of Charlotte “Charley” Parkhurst’s life is interesting reading but Karen Kondazian goes well beyond that. This is a book about values and about social issues. You will enjoy listening to (or reading) this well written and moving tale.
- It Matters Radio, Review by Kenneth Weene. Read the review
An extraordinary tale of transgender courage in the wild west, mixing fact with fiction!
- WeHo News, Review by Rick Sandak. Read the review
I don’t 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. Charley Parkhurst, the book’s central character, 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 is inspiring.
- Sher BonDurant, Goodreads.com. Read the review
A gripping page-turner explores themes of self-identity, forgiveness, and survival, and captivates the reader from multiple perspectives.
– Advocate.com The Whip: Straddling Gender Roles in the Wild West Review by Nick Pachelli. Read the review.
The theme I found the most interesting was Charley anti-racism. Near the beginning of the book, we see Charley arguing for rights for black people, and challenging anyone who says otherwise. An engrossing read.
– The Lesbrary. Read the review by Danika.
Five Stars. From the moment I started Whip I could not put it down. I could see Karen’s depth of research that she put into the development of her character. Truly a magnificent novel. I look forward to seeing the Whip as a film.
– Amazon.com Review by Judi Hochman – February 12th, 2013 Read
5 Stars. I usually don’t care for Westerns but from the first page I couldn’t put the book down – I was hooked! I had to know more of what had happened to Charley Parkhurst.
– Amazon.com Review by Blair’s Reviews – February 12th, 2013 Read
5 Stars. Awesome, cinematic historical fiction – “The Whip” is an engaging, thrilling novel narrated beautifully, it’s evident that “The Whip” would make a wonderful Academy Award Winning film.
– Amazon.com Review by Elizabeth Simmons – January 20th, 2013 Read
5 Stars. Epic cinematic story that shows that love comes in many forms and that it is not bounded by convention or marriage.
– Amazon.com Review by Stephanie Barko – January 11th, 2013 Read
Both Louis L’Amour and Karen Kondazian show us people in the dusty whirlwind of change and how they travel through it, headlong into the dust with hope for something better on the other side.
– Reading the Truth. Review by Katherine Hauswirth – September 26th, 2012 Read
Kondazian did not have an easy job turning Parkhurst’s “stranger than fiction” story into fiction, but the “The Whip” proves to be an entertaining, intense and well-wrought piece of western world building.
– Bookotron.com Review by Rick Kleffel – August 31st, 2012 Read
“The Whip” explores all the deep inner turmoil that Charley Parkhurst must have felt being a woman of her time and making a living for herself as a free man.
– Geekerydo Blog review by Kristina Pino – June 21st, 2012 Read
A great story– strong, colorful, relevant and exciting… I look forward to continuing my connection to this wonderful novel, and above all, the fascinating character of Charley Parkhurst. I read the entire book in three days. I saw the movie all the way through it.
– From the Page to the Screen by Jan Wahl – NBC (KRON 4) San Francisco – June 14th, 2012 Read
Pick of the month! This is a very entertaining and emotionally moving read.
– Bookviews by Alan Caruba – May 29th, 2012 Read
Karen Kondazian brings forth a narrative flare to the story, making for a fun read that should prove all too difficult to put down, making “The Whip” a choice and much recommended read.
– Midwest Book Review – May 10th, 2012 Read
Karen Kondazian has allowed her imagination to weave Charley’s life into an intriguing pattern and done so in a fast-moving tale that quite possibly could be true.
– Historical Novel Society Review by John Manhold Read
5 Stars. Brilliant and memorable are the lasting impressions you have after reading the final chapter of “The Whip,” a page turner with drama that is unpredictable.
– Amazon.com Review by Charlotte M. Liebel – February 11th, 2012 Read
If you find yourself reading this novel believing that you can easily predict what will happen next, watch out – you are in for a big surprise.
– Book Pleasures.com Review by Norm Goldman – February 4th, 2012 Read
Two thumbs up! Readers will enjoy the ability to read quickly along with the exciting action of the novel.
– The Coffee Pot Chronicles. Review by Kim – January 30th, 2012 Read
Kondazian writes with incredible sympathy for all of her characters, even the villains, which left me wanting to do some research of my own about Charley Parkhurst and gain a better understanding of her incredible story.
– Frabjous Flamingo Blog Review by Sharayah Pranger – January 24th, 2012 Read
4 Stars. 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.
– Amazon.com Review by Sally (Bending the Bookshelf) – January 17th, 2012 Read
5 Stars. Multi-layered magic – “The Whip” surprised me – beyond fine prose, you have the opportunity to delve into hearts and minds you would never expect to think of.
– Amazon.com Review by Cris Carl – January 14th, 2012 Read
I have to admit that I am not normally drawn to historical/romance/western, but after reading “The Whip” I could not turn it away.
– Mrs. Mommy Booknerds Book Reviews Blog by Emily Lewis – January 6th, 2012 Read
Kondazian treats Charley’s gender identity with care and complexity, demonstrating a character that defied the norms of any gender while occupying the role of both.
– Balancing Jane Blog Review – January 5th, 2012 Read
A thrilling and soul-searching read, raises questions about revenge and forgiveness; above all, this novel captures brilliantly the zeitgeist of the stagecoach era.
– San Francisco Books & Travel—January 2012. COWBOY UP: Art Kusnetz reviews Karen Kondazian’s The Whip. Read
The excellent audio version of this book takes a great story and raises it to the level of a captivating story. I really enjoyed this.
- Library Thing review by username Iudita – Read
Interesting fictional account of Charlotte “Charley” Parkhurst (1812-1879) who spent much of her adult life posing as a man in California driving for Wells Fargo. Wish there was more factual information on her life. Good, fast read.
- Library Thing review by username pjhess – Read
Kondazian’s well-written work, based on a true story, displays all the confidence of a seasoned novelist – I didn’t detect one false note.
– New World Review by Fred Beauford – December 2011 Read
This quick-paced, wily tale is a fascinating blend of both fact and fiction that is sure to engage Western and historical fiction fans and readers.
– Library Journal review by Keddy Ann Outlaw – November 1st, 2011 Read
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.
- Library Thing review by username Beamis12 – Read
5 stars. Awesome read, excellent narrative. A perfect blend of fact and fiction.
– Book Babe Blog Review by Tara Chevrestt – August 30th, 2011 Read