Monday, May 14, 2012

Review of The Whip by Karen Kondazian - 5 stars!

Happy Monday!

Welcome to my stop at The Whip Blog Tour. This tour is organized by WOW! Women On Writing and by the author Karen Kondazian. My stop includes some information about the book and author and a review of The Whip.

Author: Karen Kondazian

Title: The Whip
Release date: 1st of November 2011
Published by: Hansen Publishing Group
Reading level: FICTION – Adult: Historical
Pages: 302 pages
Source: Book provided by the WOW! Women On Writing and author for reviewing


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.

As a young woman in Rhode Island, she fell in love and had a child. Her husband was lynched and her baby killed. The destruction of her family drove her west to California, dressed as a man, to track the murder.

Charley became a renowned stagecoach driver. 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 woman to vote in America (as a man). Her grave lies in Watsonville, California.

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.

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!

5 Flowers!
5 stars.

Thanks goes to WOW! Women On Writing and to the author for providing me with the review copy!

About the author:

Karen Kondazian's career as an actor, author and journalist is as diverse as it is long. She was born in Boston, Massachusetts. At the age of eight Karen was chosen to be one of the infamous children on Art Linkletter's KIDS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS. The opportunity to miss school during tapings was all it took for Karen to abandon her life's goal of becoming a CIA spy and focus on acting.

She completed her schooling at The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA), The University of Vienna and San Francisco State University, where she received her B.A., after which she began her acting career in New York. Her first professional work was in the award winning production of Michael Cacoyannis' THE TROJAN WOMEN at the Circle in the Square Theatre.

In 1979, she won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Actress in THE ROSE TATTOO, (in which her work as actor and producer so impressed Tennessee Williams that they became friends, and he gave her carte blanche to produce any of his work in his lifetime).

Her theater career has included starring opposite Ed Harris in SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH, Richard Chamberlain in RICHARD II (dir. Jonathan Miller), Stacey Keach in HAMLET, (dir. Gordon Davidson). She also starred in the world premiere of MIXED BLESSINGS with Raul Esparza, and in Eduardo Machado's off-Broadway play, BROKEN EGGS (world premiere). Her latest awards have been through her work at the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles where she played Maria Callas in the Ovation Award winning, MASTER CLASS, ORPHEUS DESCENDING, NIGHT OF THE IGUANA, and THE MILK TRAIN DOESN'T STOP HERE ANYMORE, all directed by Simon Levy.

She has appeared as series regular lead in CBS's SHANNON and guest starred in over 50 television shows and films including, TNT's JAMES DEAN with James Franco (dir. Mark Rydell), NYPD BLUE, FRAISER, YES GIORGIO with Luciano Pavarotti, and played Kate Holiday in THE SHOOTOUT AT OK CORRAL.

She is a lifetime member of the Actors Studio and a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She is also a member of Women in Film. She occasionally teaches at the Lee Strasberg School of Theater and Film in Hollywood.

Kondazian is a published writer. She is the author of the best-selling book THE ACTOR'S ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CASTING DIRECTORS. Her long running weekly column, "Sculpting Your Own Career" appeared in BACK STAGE WEST. THE WHIP, published November 2011, is her debut novel.


Read The Whip! It's truly an interesting book!

Happy reading!


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