Paperback: 298 pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (July 1, 2016)
Thelma Adams has built a successful career writing profiles of Hollywood’s biggest and brightest stars. From Julianne Moore and George Clooney to Jessica Chastain and Matthew McConaughey, her portfolio is dazzling and reputation as a film critic in the industry stellar.
Now, Adams shifts from Hollywood to the Wild West with THE LAST WOMAN STANDING (Lake Union Publishing; on-sale July 1, 2016), the first biographical novel about Josephine Marcus, Wyatt Earp’s wife, the gutsy Jewish beauty who captured the lawman’s heart in 1881, the year he fought the legendary Gunfight at the OK Corral.
In her well-researched and vividly composed novel, Adams doesn’t waste any time proving her talent as a dynamic writer with a cinematic flair. She explores the brief defining period when Josephine comes-of-age on the American frontier, weaving action, wit, and clever introspection.
The daughter of Jewish immigrants, Josephine shames her tight-knit family (her over-bearing mother begins to sit-shiva the minute Josephine walks out the door) when the 19-year-old follows the smooth-talking and attractive lawman, Johnny Behan, from San Francisco, California to Tombstone, Arizona. Hanging on the slim promise of a wedding, the naïve young woman eventually discovers the older man’s untrustworthy side. She also learns that divided loyalties and corruption plague the silver boom town—with her fiancé at the conflict’s heart. And she can’t pretend she hasn’t noticed the courageous straight-shooter Wyatt Earp who becomes Behan’s sworn enemy.
When Behan betrays Josephine, she leaves him—and immediately faces the harsh realities of being a woman on her own in the Wild West, a world where a lady’s every action depends on a man’s approval. Adams’s storytelling from a female perspective, and her rich and descriptive style, allow the reader to feel Josephine’s desperation as she realizes the only available options she has are prostitution or returning home. That is—until Wyatt Earp declares his love for her. As their romance blossoms and their bond deepens, Behan’s jealousy ignites a rivalry destined for the history books.
THE LAST WOMAN STANDING is a compelling novel: both an epic tale of an improbable romance and a retelling of an iconic American legend through a female lens. Josephine is a charismatic, fierce heroine who seeks to reinvent herself—and find her soul mate—in a lawless outpost among cowboys and lawmen, where few people are what they seem on the surface.
“Adams is that rare, vivid author who brings a cinematic quality to her wildly entertaining fiction.” —Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
As Johnny roped his horse to Harry’s wagon and Kitty nagged her stoop-shouldered husband, I felt a weight on one cheek. I sensed eyes staring at me. I don’t know how that’s possible, but it happened just that way, as real as the feeling of sunshine while your eyes are closed. That was the first time I saw Wyatt. He was looking straight at me. I stared right back. He was dead handsome with an athletic build on a six-foot frame, made taller by perfect posture. His hair was blond and thick like his younger brother’s, with a matching mustache and unflinching eyes, the same blue as Morgan’s but twice as intense.