This fictionalized story of real-life heroine Charley Parkhurst inspired me as a little girl. Parkhurst was a woman who, disguised as a man, became one of the most daring stagecoach drivers ever and was the first woman to legally vote. As a lover of horses and a tomboy, this book made me believe I could do anything. Plus, it boasts ink illustrations by none other than Brian Selznick.
Charlotte Parkhurst was raised in an orphanage for boys, which suited her just fine. She didn't like playing with dolls, she could hold her own in a fight, and she loved to work in the stable. Charlotte had a special way with horses and wanted to spend her life training and riding them on a ranch of her own. The problem was, as a girl in the mid-1800s, Charlotte was expected to live a much different life-one without the freedoms she dreamed of. But Charlotte was smart and determined, and she figured out a way to live her life the way she wanted. Charlotte became an expert horse rider, a legendary stagecoach driver, and the first woman ever to vote. And she did these things at a time when they were outlawed for women. How? With a plan so clever and so secret-almost no one figured it out.