Review: Charley’s Choice – The Life and Times of Charley Parkhurst

Posted by Sherrie Wilkolaski
Published On Sep 27, 2014

Reviewed by Kim Bagato

Originally published and courtesy of

Charley’s Choice – The Life and Times of Charley Parkhurst resized 600Fern J. Hill authored a compelling tale about Charley Parkhurst. This made for a believable account based on historic fact fused with fiction. Charley was a trailblazing woman, who despite difficulties, forged a fulfilling life.

Charley lives in a home for orphans where she pals around with Fish, her best buddy. Charley loves horses and is determined, even at a young age, to someday drive the stagecoach. Often Fish would keep watch while Charley secretly rode horses at the home.

Charley never let circumstances or people get in the way of her dreams. She moved from one part of the country to another alone – a daring move for a young woman in that era. She was not harsh or boorish, but composed and confident.

Snakebites, robberies, injuries and danger only strengthened Charley. She could fire a rifle, shoot a pistol and drive a carriage with greater precision than anyone. When it came to horses, she was an expert. She transported cargo and people, often defying the odds of natural disasters. Passengers and friends felt safe in her company.

A family-like bond developed with Eb and Tilly, the first to really treat her like family. Charley leaves them due to unexpected circumstances. Her life takes a surprising turn and we learn about a softer side of her. Eventually, she returns to the only roots she knows, Eb and Tilly’s place. After a brief stay she heads to California where she works as a stagecoach driver.

This is an inspiring story of one brave woman beating the odds and realizing her dreams despite the naysayers. Hill has done her research and effectively told the tale of one amazing horsewoman in early America.

Armchair Interviews says: An inspiring story about a strong and determined women who started with nothing but a dream.

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