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The Last Woman Standing: A Novel Paperback – July 1, 2016
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“Who doesn’t want to read about the woman who married Wyatt Earp? A legend of her own, she was Jewish, beautiful, and exotic, and Adams has made her alive and kicking on the page. A Wild West story made even wilder, more poignant and inspired by Adams’s fascinating research and glittering prose.” —Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Is This Tomorrow and Pictures of You
“It is not merely because The Last Woman Standing takes us to a time in the past that I felt dislocated upon completing it. Thelma Adams has also taken me back to a time when we could expect a gripping and rich yarn, for lack of a better word. I found myself thinking of Doctorow and Jong and Oates, and other good writers who have taken the historical novel and given it their vast intelligence and talent and a modern-day take on their subject. This—and more—Adams has done, and The Last Woman Standing will make you think of good work done by other writers, but it is also entirely original, and a marvel. It is a book you set aside like a fine wine and wait for the chance to reopen and savor it.” —James Grissom, author of Follies of God: Tennessee Williams and the Women of the Fog
“This transporting novel swiftly whisks readers away to the rough-and-tumble, gritty boomtown of Tombstone, Arizona, during its heyday. Miners, outlaws, and lawmen live almost side by side, and one remarkable woman makes her mark alongside the men. Blending fact and fiction, Adams brings Josephine Marcus Earp to life with her sassy, no-holds-barred, first-person account. This is a fascinating read that will make readers wish they could join Josie on her life’s journey.” —RT Book Reviews
“The Last Woman Standing is an exciting glimpse into the life of a young woman embroiled in the violence and rivalries of Wild West Tombstone...Adams brings a uniquely female perspective to the town’s legends.” —Night Owl Reviews
“If you enjoy history and romance, danger and deceit, you will find this is a terrific book for your library. Learning more of the past through such a venue keeps you reading and searching to the very end. Adams has given us a strong and passionate story filled with historical facts, and you will find it hard to put this book down. This would be a great book for a reading or discussion group, with a great deal of interest to them both.” —BlogCritics
“There’s a great deal to be said about Thelma Adams’s book The Last Woman Standing...and all of it good. Very, very good. A feminist western mixing real and fictional characters, and totally defiling the era and prevailing attitudes of the times is no easy trick to pull off, and Adams does it with humor and, Lord help us all, charm.” —Examiner.com
“Movies, television shows, and books tell the story about lawman Wyatt Earp but very few mention his wife. Married for nearly fifty years, Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp was beautiful, gusty, and Jewish. Thelma Adams has delved into the life and times of Mrs. Wyatt with her latest...There would be no children but an enduring love, a passion that remained throughout the decades with the hurts and the laughter told during a time in history when one man and one woman would try to tame the west and each other.” —Las Vegas Informer
“Truth can be stranger than fiction, they say. But Adams does a pretty bang-up job of blending the two while embellishing Mrs. Earp’s rightful place in Western lore.” —The Buffalo News
“Wyatt Earp dodged many a bullet, but The Last Woman Standing is a fanciful, deeply entertaining account of how Josephine Marcus got him right in the heart.” —Chronogram
About the Author
Thelma Adams is an established figure in the entertainment industry. For two decades, she has penned celebrity features and criticism for high-profile publications. Her portfolio of actor interviews includes Julianne Moore, George Clooney, Jessica Chastain, and Matthew McConaughey, among many others. While covering film for the New York Post, Us Weekly, and Yahoo Movies, Thelma became a regular at film festivals from Berlin to Dubai, Toronto to Tribeca. She sits on the Hamptons International Film Festival Advisory Board and twice chaired the prestigious New York Film Critics Circle. Her debut novel, Playdate, published by Thomas Dunne Books, won high critical acclaim. Adams is often recognized, as she has been invited to share her expertise on many broadcast outlets, including appearances on NBC’s Today, CBS’s Early Show, and CNN. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a history degree from UC Berkeley and earned an MFA from Columbia University. She lives in Hyde Park, New York, with her family.
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Top Customer Reviews
I would recommend that before you consider this book, google Josephine Earp and read the Wikipedia article about her and other books written about her. It is hard to separate fact from fiction, especially since Josephine herself worked hard at maintaining a fictional history, hiding her not-so-stellar past for her entire life, even suing those who might make a movie or write a book about what she really was. Having a little background from a google search will help you understand the characters. Based on research, Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp aka Sadie Mansfield left San Francisco in December, 1874, at the age of 14 for Prescott Arizona where she was a "sporting lady" or prostitute. While there she met Yavapai County Sheriff, Johnny Behan. Johnny's wife filed for divorce in 1875 complaining that Behan "openly and notoriously visited houses of ill-fame and prostitution at said town of Prescott." After the divorce, "Sadie" becomes Behan's common-law wife. In 1881, she leaves Behan for the Deputy Sheriff in Tombstone, Wyatt Earp, whom she lived with for the rest of his life. However, in real life, Josephine, aka Sadie, spins the story that she did not come to Arizona until 1879, when she was 19. She vehemently hides her true past.
It does not come as a surprise to me that the real Josephine lived her life with two well-known men in law enforcement. She definitely wanted to be viewed as a respectable woman, despite her original profession. Perhaps, she yearned for the respectability that society gives law enforcement to rub off onto herself through her association with men of the law.
But who is the Josephine here? This book is told in the first person by Josephine Marcus. It is told as the real Josephine would want people to believe about herself, not about who she really was. It takes great skill for an author to tell a story in the first person and most of the time, it doesn't work. But I don't degrade this author because the book is advertised as historical fiction and the real Josephine was great at making up stories and passing them off as fact. So, it seems appropriate to read this from the first-person point of view.
From a technical perspective, the writing is simple and it appears to be aimed at a reader who reads at a teen/young adult level. The writing is well done. But the first-person writing just sits there leaving the story flat, with no depth. So I would give the author a technical score of 4 to 4 1/2 stars for the quality of the voice of her writing. But not a 5 as there is no character development. Everyone seems so shallow and not well-rounded. No one has a complex personality.
Generally, a book will grab you because of its great character development or its engaging plot. If there is no character development, that doesn't necessarily mean it is a bad book. You can have a great, suspenseful plot.
Gong! Leave the stage. Failure! The plot just plods along. No excitement. No Suspense. It is just too sanitized. Josephine comes off as a very naïve, innocent, young adult who happens to be a virgin, wants to stay a virgin until someone puts a ring on her finger. Yet, as innocent and naïve as she is presented, she left her Jewish parents in San Francisco to live with a man, Johnny Behan, who she doesn't really know, and won't marry her. Meanwhile, she finds herself attracted to another man, Wyatt Earp. The conflict within herself and between the two men could have been developed but No! The plot puts you to sleep. LITERALLY!!! I fell asleep and my Kindle slipped from my fingers and found itself on the floor. Come on! If you are going to fictionalize something, give it some oomph! The plot rates a 1. Not good.
My overall rating is 3 because the author does write well but doesn't seem to be able to tell a story well. Overall, the book is OK. I have read a lot of FREE books better than this and a few paid books that were worse but my overall impression after reaching the last page is meh... Very forgettable.
I believe I made a bad choice for my free monthly Kindle First as a Prime member. I hate to make a negative suggestion but I suggest that you look more closely at the other Kindle First picks before thinking about picking up this one.
1. The main character is relate able as the story portrays her. She grows throughout the story but is human and has set backs. She knows what she wants but doesn't always take the best road. Sometimes she falls, but she regains composure and sometimes its not by her own accord but through the help of others.
2. I like that the story is told from first person view. It doesn't stray, you never get a look into other characters minds or motivations, so you're as uncertain as the heroine in your trust of certain characters.
3. The first chapter is a little difficult to get through, which is why I only ranked the book 4 out of 5 stars. In fact for the first ten percent of the book I wasn't entirely sure I was going to finish. The story line didn't actually hook me until it transitioned to being told from her younger selfs perspective. I'm never a huge fan of the start at the end and look back, you know the ending before the story. Even this particular story where we already know that she ends up with Wyatt Earp. I felt like the story starting at the end before starting at the beginning allowed for small side notes that took away from the story line. She would be explaining a circumstance and inject a comment about a revelation she had about that moment later in life. In most cases this didn't add to the story, it was just an additional comment that deterred the story for a moment.
4. The book is a bit sexual. At some points its a coming to age tale of the sexuality of a young woman that knows she's beautiful. Others it seems a bit excessive to bring up at points. This is the part of the character that I thought fluctuated the most. It wasn't a clear point a to point b transition , but constant transitions between competing sexual preferences.
Overall I found this to be a compelling read if you can get past the beginning, and my dislike of the beginning may only be a personal preference. I would recommend it to another reader, and I'm quite pleased that I read it myself.