The orphanage: A cruel headmistress goes too far with her punishments. On one hand, she accidentally introduces Charley to her lifelong love: horses. On the other hand, she turns a kind and caring boy into the makings of a monster. This boy was Charley's protector and will soon become her enemy.
Rhode Island: Charley falls in love, but the rest of society, and namely, her "brother" don't agree with her choice of love interest. The loss of her man and her baby lead to the loss of her femininity as she dons male attire and becomes a stagecoach driver in order to travel to California to hunt down and kill her husband's killer. But will she get her revenge before the man can do her, her life, and her loved ones more damage? Will she be able to do what needs to be done? Life hasn't been good to her as a woman that's for sure. Will it treat her better as a man?
California: Charley becomes one of the best damn stagecoach drivers around, starts a family of sorts, has weekend trysts in San Francisco where for just a few days every now and then she can wear a dress again and lie with a man and just feel like a woman. But all good things must come to an end.
Conclusion: 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. Her flirtations with Edmund, Anna's Cleopatra scene, the Wells Fargo Stagecoach rules, numerous things throughout the novel 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.
Five stars. I received this from the publisher. The book is due out November 1st, 2011. Be sure to mark it as to read.