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Product Details

  • Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Hansen Publishing Group, LLC; First Edition edition (January 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601823029
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601823021
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (209 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Kondazian's novel unfolds cinematically; you can almost feel the sun's rays and smell the horse sweat. The Whip is a truly fascinating novel of one woman's determination and grit in the heart of the Old West." - Readers' Favorite review by Kayti Nika Raet

Awesome read, excellent narrative, perfect blend of fact and fiction, and though Charley faces an incredibly sad amount of misery and misfortune, the book managed to make me laugh at times as well as shake my head in sympathy....numerous things throughout the book made me chuckle and overall, the book has made a huge impact on me. It's also about a very strong woman, probably one of the strongest women I have ever read about. Life kept beating her down and she kept getting back up, minus one eye or minus a man and a baby, but never without her determination. --Book Babe, August 30, 2011

Charley Parkhurst (1812-79) was one of the finest stage coach drivers Wells Fargo had during the dangerous gold rush days. But there's one thing Wells Fargo never knew about Charley: Charlotte was a woman. In her fiction debut, actress Kondazian (The Actor's Encyclopedia of Casting Directors) dares to imagine the life such a dedicated disguise artist might have lived. Mistreated in an orphanage and sent to live in the stables, where she learned all there was to know about horses, fictional Charley grows up to be a servant in a boardinghouse. When she falls in love with an African American blacksmith, she is ostracized. And when her husband is lynched and her only daughter killed, Charley dresses as a man to apply for work with a stage coach company, aces the hands-on audition, and is sent west. She learns to swear, gamble, and smoke, and her life as a "whip" rewards her well. Yet underneath all the swagger and staunchness, Charley is a broken soul in many ways. VERDICT 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 who enjoyed Gerald Kolpan's Etta. --Keddy Ann Outlaw, LIBRARY JOURNAL, November 2011

One thing I really like about this job is that I get to discover promising new talent far outside of the world of agents, New York publishers, academics, and establishment book reviewers.
Karen Kondazian's debut novel, The Whip, is in that category. Her well-written work, based on a true story, displays all the confidence of a seasoned novelist. I didn't detect one false note.
...I have often been accused of never meeting a book I didn't like. But try THE WHIP on, nevertheless, despite me. I think you will get as caught up in it as I was. This is classic Americana. --Fred Beauford, NEW WORLD REVIEW, vol. 4, no. 27

You won't know what The Whip means until you read this fascinating book. It's a piece of the Old West, a part of America's past, told with amazing authenticity. --Thomas Fleming, New York Times best-selling author of Conquerors of the Sky

Take it from someone who's had firsthand experience with great art exploring the human spirit in a Western setting: Karen Kondazian's The Whip is just that. This is a story that cries out through its adventurous surroundings a call from deep in the human heart, a call for understanding, for love, for identity and it does so through the skill of a magnificent writer. (It also cries out to be a movie. It's that rich, visual, and dramatic.) --Jim Beaver, star of HBO's Deadwood and author of Life s That Way

Karen Kondazian has gathered what exists [about Charley Parkhurst] and allowed her imagination to weave Charley's life into an intriguing pattern. She's done so in a fast-moving tale that quite possibly could be true. The Whip provides an interesting speculative life history for one of the more enigmatic characters of the Old West. Readers familiar with the setting--or who would like to be--will enjoy this tale. --John Manhold, Historical Novel Society
Kondazian weaves fiction and fact together seamlessly into a poignant and profound read. --Dawn Winky, STORY CIRCLE BOOK REVIEW, February 7, 2014.

About the Author

THE WHIP is Karen Kondazian's debut novel. She is an award winning theatre actress and has starred in over fifty television shows and films, including the role of Kate Holliday in the TV movie, The Shootout at the OK Corral. Kondazian is also author of The Actor's Encyclopedia of Casting Directors.

More About the Author

Karen Kondazian's career as an actor, writer and producer 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 San Francisco State College, The University of Vienna and The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA), after which she began her 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.

Her theater career has included starring opposite Ed Harris in Sweet Bird of Youth, Richard Chamberlain in Richard II (dir. Jonathan Miller), Stacy Keach in Hamlet, (dir. Gordon Davidson), Ray Stricklyn in Vieux Carre (West Coast Premiere-Beverly Hills Playhouse, dir. Clyde Ventura, which she also produced). She also starred in Eduardo Machado's off-Broadway play, Broken Eggs (World Premiere, dir. James Hammerstein).

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.

Other awards and nominations include Ovation, Drama Critics Circle, LA Weekly and Garlands for: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Berkeley Rep.), Orpheus Descending (Fountain Theatre, dir. Simon Levy), Night of the Iguana (Old Globe, dir. Jack O'Brien), Lady House Blues, Freedomland (South Coast Rep, dir. David Emmes), The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore (Fountain Theatre, dir. Simon Levy), Master Class (Fountain Theatre, Odyssey Theatre, Lobero Theater, dir. 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, Frasier, Steal Big Steal Little with Alan Arkin, Yes Giorgio with Luciano Pavarotti, and played Kate Holliday in Showdown at OK-Corral (David Wolper's award-winning series).

Karen 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.

Kondazian is a multi-award winning novelist. Her debut novel, The Whip, won the USA News Award for Best Historical Fiction and also the National Indie Excellence Award for Best Western. It was featured on the cover of Publishers Weekly. She is also the author of the best-selling book The Actors Encyclopedia of Casting Directors, with a foreword by Richard Dreyfuss. Her long running weekly column, "Sculpting Your Own Career" appeared in L.A. STAGE, BackStage, and DramaLogue.

She currently resides in Los Angeles, California.

Customer Reviews

Interesting subject, enjoy reading historical fiction.
lois@5mile
You will never see the ending coming.... you will have to read to the last page and you will want to because it is a great story.
ALR
Ms. Kondazian did a fantastic job of making the characters come alive with her witty stories and entertaining writing style.
Jay Johnson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Charlotte M. Liebel on February 11, 2012
Format: Paperback
`THE WHIP' by Karen Kondazian

[Charlotte M Liebel Review]

Brilliant and memorable are the lasting impressions you have after reading the final chapter of the debut novel, "THE WHIP" by Karen Kondazian. It is a novel commemorating a true legend of the Gold Rush Era in the person of a woman who survives the struggles of joblessness by reinventing herself.

Charlotte (Charley) Parkhurst was left in a basket at the door of an orphanage in Massachusetts on a cold day of March 1812. It is the baby's good fortune that the lonely boy Lee Colton, a four-year-old, enters her dark room and rocks the baby to sleep. For four years, the children are inseparable.

Management changes at the orphanage result in harsh disciplines that affect the personalities of the two children over the years. Charley is removed from the sewing-room, beaten, and escorted to the barn to break her spirit. Her mentor and surrogate father, the black stable-hand named Jonas, guides Charley. Her greatest success is caring for the strong-willed horse Beelzebub who challenges her with fiery eyes. She leaves the orphanage at age 16.

Mysterious events lead to a relationship and the birth of a beloved infant. Her joy is short-lived when Vigilantes murder her black partner and baby. Charley recognized one of the men fleeing and vowed to kill him.

Charley disguises as a man and applies for a job as stagecoach driver for Wells Fargo. Extremely skilled at the whip and handling the team of horses, Charley wins a competition and trip to San Francisco to even the score with that nameless vigilante.

The historical novel `The Whip' by Karen Kondazian is a page-turner with drama that is unpredictable. The language and situations are focused and thought provoking. The book and ebook are available at all booksellers at an attractive price. Amazon: [...] The Whip
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By the Bam on February 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book introduced me to a real person who lived a most interesting life working for the Pony Express. It highlights the difficulties of living in the Old West under extremely unusual circumstances. It's a remarkable story of finding one's strength to cope with life's tragedies and remaining a caring, responsible citizen.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Catherine Fiore on April 11, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
i enjoyed this book because it was a true story and it held my interest. we are reading this for out book club. glad someone requested that we read it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kiddles on April 10, 2014
Format: Paperback
I give Karen Kondazian's Whip a five plus. From the moment I started Whip I could not put it down. Karen really got the life of Charley Parkhurst from the image of her horses. her character and the life at that time for a woman working as a stage coach driver. I could see Karen's depth of research that she put into the development of her character. Karen's knowledge of horses is amazing. Truly a magnificent novel. I look forward to seeing the Whip as a film. Judi Hochman
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kelly Finley on April 9, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was definitely a book for adults due to the language but the twists of the story were unexpected and the historical references made it a great read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tracey on April 1, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My daughter had to read a book from the 1800's west. She chose this book and really enjoyed reading it. I read it too and it was really good. Very interesting and keeps your attention.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Patricia on April 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A beautifully crafted story based on the real life story of Charlotte/Charley who lives her life as a man. She is not a transsexual, or lesbian, this is not a story about sexual identity, rather just a woman born into a time, when to be a woman meant home, hearth and babies. Partly the need for financial support, part need for a wilder type of freedom, which rather than free, was just a new type of box, albeit a larger one.

I'm not at all a western fan, but this book is very well done, a quick and easy read, but with surprising depth.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joan Spalding on April 13, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting story developed about an intriguing true historical character. Enjoyed the author's ability to create an entire life story for the person featured in the book from seemingly little information available. I appreciate the research that obviously was done to write in such detail about that period of time in California history and the role of the stagecoaches and their drivers.
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