May 17, 2011
Riding to freedom
by Pam Muñoz Ryan
A fictional account of the life of Charlotte Parkhurst, who as Charley Parkhurst, became a stagecoach driver and the first woman to vote in California in 1868.
Charlotte grew up in a New Hampshire orphanage before running away to Worcester, Massachusetts, where she worked as a stable boy. Good with horses, she became an expert driver even after losing the sight of one eye.
This fast-paced historical novel portrays Charlotte as a determined girl who knew her own mind and wasn't afraid to pursue her dream (of owning her own ranch).
A very satisfying read that sheds light on the little-known perils of stagecoach driving, seen when Charlotte has to drive a coach over a collapsing bridge (she ensured the safety of the passengers first).
Good for ages 7 and up.