Book summary: "At once an epic account of an improbable romance and a retelling of an iconic American tale, The Last Woman Standing recalls the famed gunfight at the O.K. Corral through the eyes of a spunky heroine who sought her happy ending in a lawless outpost—with a fierce will and an unflagging spirit." (back cover)
Josephine (Marcus-Behan) Earp Approximately age 20 years old
A whole lot more information and pictures available at Wikipedia.
You can also read about the real-life Josephine Earp at
My thoughts: Marrying historical facts with the imagined emotions of a woman on the frontier, Last Woman Standing by Thelma Adams is an interesting tale of Josephine (Marcus-Behan) Earp, common-law wife for 46 years of legendary Wyatt Earp.
A bit of historical perspective on this book: In 1976 a man named Glenn G. Boyer published a book titled, I Married Wyatt Earp which was to be a non-fiction book about Josephine Earp. For many years I Married Wyatt Earp was considered a true historical text with the book even being used in college courses to teach Wild West history. Thirty years after it was published, Boyle admitted in 2006 that he couldn't verify any of the facts he used in his book. These days I Married Wyatt Earp is used to teach people about fraudulent books and historical hoaxes.
Probably for this very reason, Last Woman Standing is billed as historical FICTION. Last Woman Standing is author Thelma Adams' imagining of how the events in Josephine Earp's life transpired. It is obviously based on real-life historical figures that roamed the Southwest in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Wyatt Earp still faces the showdown at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. Author Adams deftly imagines what Josephine saw, felt and reacted to the historical times.
On that note, one hangup with this book is the use of first person narrative. It's a personal preference by the author to rely on first person narrative, but it's a tricky beast that can lead the story astray. In this book, A LOT of known history circulates around the title character of Josephine. By utilizing first person perspective however, the known history falls off the narrative unless the main character obviously is there or hears/talks about it. Perhaps the author was trying to force the reader to pay attention to Josephine, with the historical facts as background information. What ended up happening was the the book spends too much time getting bogged down in basically a romance triangle and a bit of bodice-ripping when the exciting historical stuff is happening somewhere else.
Aside from the first person narrative distraction, Last Woman Standing is an interesting book about an exciting chapter in the history of the Wild West. Josephine Earp was a true-life character with an exciting life filled with drama and secrets. Author Thelma Adams has done a terrific job fleshing out Josephine Earp. In Last Woman Standing, Josephine Earp is no longer a shadowy footnote to a major historical figure, but she is a real-life woman living in the true Wild West with her own faults, loves and desires found in the pages of Last Woman Standing, a book cataloged as a fictional novel based on historical facts.
Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
- Pages: 290
- Year originally published: 2016
- Book Tour: My review is part of a larger collection of reviews of this title. For more information, please visit TLC Book Tours.