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Book Club

Suggested Questions for your Book Club discussion on The Whip:

1) The river or theme that runs through The Whip is the question regarding  forgiveness… What would you do if someone destroyed the person you love most? Could you forgive them..? And if not, what would you do?

2) The book is also about strength and survival and putting your arms around life, no matter what life gives you – to make something ‘good’ out of it. Do you believe that “in every problem there is a ‘gift’ in it’s hand, and that we create the problem because we need the ‘gift’?” Give examples of this to be true in your own life.  What gifts did Charley discover in her life that came out of her suffering? How did it change her?

3) As a woman in the Old West, it was impossible to live your dreams – unless you were happy to be a wife, teacher (only if you could read) or prostitute. Knowing your own personal dreams—could you have survived as some women did, living part or all of your life as a man in exchange for the freedom that men had then? Could you have kept that secret and handled the loneliness and emotional isolation that that kind of life engendered?

4) If Charley didn’t put on ‘britches’ and go to California to track down Lee, what do you think might have happened to her?

5) Who were your favorite characters in the book and why?

6) What did you take away from the book to perhaps inspire you to go after a secret dream you’ve hidden away?

If you have any questions, or would like your book club’s photo included in the gallery,  you can contact Karen Kondazian here

(If your Book Club likes the book, we would love your review on Amazon and or Barnes and Noble).

See what others book clubs are saying about “The Whip”:

We had a lot of fun discussing the book… and learned that cracking a whip was a lot harder than we thought. Loved The Whip!
– Sandy Rogers, Hags on Nags Saddle Club – Wisconsin.

I just finished reading “The Whip” and I have to tell you how much I absolutely loved your book.  My wife read it too and has recommended it to her book club. Other than Larry McMurtry, Brian Garfield and a few others, I rarely read fiction. I am a history buff. It’s a curse. But “The Whip” had me from the start. I believe what I liked best is your books honesty. It is not necessarily a western; it’s about a person that happened to exist in that time period. It’s about feelings, emotions, anger, confusion, and even hatred; But mostly about forgiveness. I love your style of writing. For me it holds a simple rhythm that makes it a friendly read. Thank you so much for Charley and sharing her wonderful adventure.
– Peter Conway, Los Angeles, CA

“The Whip” was the read for our March book club discussion – we all loved it! The story is adventurous, romantic, tragic, happy, and sad. And, it was so easy to get caught up in the history, experiences, and characters as described from the Old West. Charley had guts for a woman of her era and her day to day living, although heart-breaking at times, was very inspiring to the women in our group. When will the movie be coming out? Can’t wait!!!
– Sue Peterson, Richland, WA

I just finished reading The Whip. My book club picked this one. Just wanted to tell you that it was a wonderful read. I enjoyed it very much as I love historical fiction. But this was special because it was taken from a true story. I think it would make a great movie….hopefully some director will pick it up for you. Good Luck!
– Edie C

Our book club just finished reading your book and thoroughly enjoyed it! We really appreciated your discussion questions.
– Joan Baker

I loved your book! I’m picking it for my book club in January 2014. This book makes me happy that I’m a woman every day! Go Charlie!!! Thank you for writing this fantastic book.
– Stacy McAloon

Last month our book group read The Whip. Everyone in the group so enjoyed the read and its historical fiction content that we took it a step further than most meetings and wrote to the author, Karen Kondazian, who pleasantly surprised us all by accepting our invitation to join our meeting here in Malibu. We loved meeting with Karen – she inspired us all as “wanna-be” writers and revealed some of her secrets to success. We recommend The Whip to all men, women and young adults who enjoy a great read, while learning some historical facts they might never discover otherwise.
– The Malibu Book Club

I had the privilege of picking your book for our November 2013 book club read. I just wanted to drop you a note and tell you how terrific I thought the book was. I could not put it down – it took me less than a day on my kindle. Everyone I have talked to so far loved it as much as I did. I compared your wonderful descriptive writing style to Pat Conroy. You write in such a beautifully visual way. I thought I should write a note just to let you know how much fun it was to read. Thanks for becoming an author. Perhaps if you are ever in the Mesquite, NV or St.George, UT. area, you would consider visiting our book club. I am now researching more avenues to continue finding out about this amazing woman who dared brave a man’s world.
– Otti Schmitt, St. George, UT

The Whip is wonderful. It was hard for me to put it down and I completely abandoned the mystery that I was reading before I bought it. Charley is my idea of a “Real Woman.” I fully expect The Whip to be my next Book Club program. As a horsewoman who, incidentally, once spent a week in Nova Scotia taking driving lessons, I appreciated the attention to detail in Charley’s equine interactions.
– Kay Killian, North Carolina

Our Book Club in Roseville CA read your book and we are meeting Oct 14th. We all loved your book.
– Barbara Serafin, Roseville, CA

Everyone should read this book. It was our book club selection for the month and certainly not a disappointment! I am not an avid reader and would prefer to watch movies anytime, but this story is about a woman who had to pose as a man in order to get a job in the man’s world and become the best of the best. It is based on a true character in the 1800’s.
– 5-Star Amazon.com User Review by Mupster

From a tragic background, this woman managed to travel to California in the 1800’s and pass as a man to support herself and take revenge on the man who wronged her. Charley excelled in her career but not in her personal life. It would have been extremely hard to do the things she did and not give herself away. Hats off to the women who survived the traumas of life in those days, one way or another. This book was chosen by me for our book club. It was well written and researched. It was based on a true story. This might make a very good movie if they could find an actress who wouldn’t mind not looking glamorous through most of the movie.
– 5-star Amazon.com User Review by Marion Bulette

As someone who absolutely loves historical fiction but has never had an interest in Westerns, I was delighted to find in The Whip a captivating, colorful, and authentic story. Karen Kondazian captures the spirit of Charley Parkurst, a legendary and extraordinary person about whom I had known very little. I would never have guessed that this was Karen’s first novel, and I sincerely hope that she continues to write in this genre. I’m recommending this to my book club.
– 5-star Amazon.com User Review by Donna Gulotta PHD

I purchased this book because a book club was reading it. I thought, ‘Oh I may not like this.’ But once I started reading the book I could not put it down!! Excellent story — I would definitely recommend this book!
– 5-star Amazon.com User Review by Deb T

The Whip is well written, entertaining and as a bonus somewhat educational. I know it is fiction but it was based on a true story. Whether you like adventure or love stories, this book has something for everyone. I can’t wait to discuss it with my book club.
– 5-star Amazon.com User Review by Vickie Joseph

Read this book with our book club on recommendation of a friend. No one had even heard of it before but we all loved it!
– 5-star Amazon.com User Review by Sue P. Roberts

A most enjoyable and fast read. Good character development based on a “real” person but fictional “in nature”. Both memorable and thought provoking and good for a stimulating “Book Club” discussion!
– 4-star Amazon.com User Review by Laura

I read this for my book club. Had concerns on if it would be the type of book I would enjoy. To my surprise it was a book I couldn’t put down. I recommend this book to anyone who usually reads mystery and/or romance novels. It has a little bit of everything including suspense!
– 4-star Amazon.com User Review by Karen Zevchik

Living in northern CA near Sacramento now, previously in the Santa Cruz area, I was drawn by this story and its location. Also, the life of a woman dressed as a man and working as a stage coach driver in those days when women were in the kitchen and having babies. Our book club is reading this book now and will be reviewing it soon. I recommend this book.
– 4-star Amazon.com User Review by Kathy A. Reuter

My book club picked this book to read or I’m sure I never would have tried it. I got it on my Kindle Fire and could hardly stop reading it. It’s an easy and quick read and I found it fascinating from cover to cover. This is a good picture into the life of a woman in the gold rush days and how her life disguised as a man changed everything. I love that it’s a true story and that “Charley” was actually the first woman to vote in these here United States of America! Way to go, Charley!
– 5-star Amazon.com User Review by C. Olson


The Whip audio book trailer

Interview with Karen Kondazian on a Wells Fargo Stagecoach by NPR’s Peter Robinson

Karen Kondazian on The Jan Wahl Show – April 20th, 2013