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The Last Woman Standing

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  10,025 ratings  ·  771 reviews
Two decades after the Civil War, Josephine Marcus, the teenage daughter of Jewish immigrants, is lured west with the promise of marriage to Johnny Behan, one of Arizona’s famous lawmen. She leaves her San Francisco home to join Behan in Tombstone, Arizona, a magnet for miners (and outlaws) attracted by the silver boom. Though united by the glint of metal, Tombstone is plag ...more
Paperback, 298 pages
Published July 1st 2016 by Lake Union Publishing (first published January 18th 2011)
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Thelma Adams Thanks for the great question, Andrea. Josephine Marcus is a real-life person who has become a fictional character in my hands. A lot of biography blu…moreThanks for the great question, Andrea. Josephine Marcus is a real-life person who has become a fictional character in my hands. A lot of biography blurs the lines between fact and fiction: whenever a nonfiction book say "he thinks" or "she thinks" you have to wonder how did the author know? I've taken the bare bones of the facts of Ms. Marcus: she was Jewish, she was beautiful, she left home sometime in the early 1880's for Arizona, she was engaged to a charming cad named John Harris Behan who didn't follow through on his proposal. Sometime that same year, 1881, she met Wyatt Earp and they became an item. That was also the year of the famed Gunfight at the OK Corral, which was very well documented and made national headlines. Somehow, after this momentous year, and Wyatt Earp went on a vendetta to avenge the murder of his brother Morgan, they reunited in San Francisco. They remained together for nearly fifty years. So, in a way, knowing that they would be together for a long time, I imagined their first year together and what it was about each of them that made the relationship stick. She had to be more than a beauty. He had to be more than a man of few words and steady nerves. He's buried in a Jewish cemetery beside her parents, which was coincidentally where the story started for me. How did gentile Wyatt Earp end up buried in a Jewish cemetery? That question led me to Josephine and to a very unlikely and riveting love story. (less)
Maria Rose I googled her under the name Josephine Sadie Marcus. Wikipedia has some pictures but there are others. I am sure you were looking for the ones that we…moreI googled her under the name Josephine Sadie Marcus. Wikipedia has some pictures but there are others. I am sure you were looking for the ones that were taken by the photographer.(less)

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Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
This is my June Kindle First pick and it's the first one I have picked since January that I haven't liked. I thought it sounded really good reading a fiction book about Wyatt Earp's common law wife told in her words. And the first few sentences of the book reeled me right in....


Tombstone kicked my ass and I kicked back. No one expected that of a little Jewish girl from a no-name family.

So just from those words I thought it was going to be a butt kicking chic to rock it out with the Earp's
Jun 09, 2016 rated it liked it

Tombstone kicked my ass and I kicked it back.

Here's the tale of a little Jewish girl from a no name family who ventures to Arizona in 1881 to become the bride of a charming lawman. There she meets outlaws and whores, and quickly discovers that life in Tombstone - a spot so desperate it was named after a grave marker - will be unlike anything she has known before.

This started out as a terrific five-star read for me. I enjoyed the author's descriptions of Tombstone, and the many fun characters th
Jun 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Last Woman Standing by Thelma Adams is a 2016 Lake Union Press publication.

I have been curious about Josephine Marcus since watching the wildly popular motion picture, “Tombstone.”

I know Hollywood often takes huge liberties with the facts, so I decided to do an internet search to see what information was available about Wyatt Earp’s common law wife. To be honest, there really isn’t a lot of absolutely, positively true and documented facts about ‘Sadie’ or ‘Josephine’. There are large gaps o
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Jul 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016
Wyatt Earp, Virgil Earp, Morgan Earp, Doc Holliday, Tombstone, O.K. Corral and Boot Hill. these are names and places that probably ring a bell. For me this book made me realize how little I really knew about the person Wyatt Earp. So, I was thrilled to participate in a blog tour for this book.

This book starts with Josephine Marcus now old and reminiscing her life. Most of the ones from her days in Tombstone are dead, including her beloved Wyatt. And, now she has only memories of her days as a yo
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-unlimited
I loved this book from start to finish! Horses, guns, and cowboys? Yes please. I would not have complained if this book was way longer
Mary Eve
I read this too fast. I finished reading it last night and I wasn't ready to leave Tombstone or say goodbye to the Earps. All good things must end and I'm a tad bit more knowledgeable about Wyatt Earp and his beautiful, vivacious wife, Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp. Because Josephine fiercely protected her privacy, very little was known about her real life spent in Tombstone, and even those facts are questionable. Thelma Adams does a remarkable job of filling in the blanks. Josie, or Sadie (as she ...more
I really enjoyed this story based on the life and times of Josephine "Sadie" Marcus.The daughter of Jewish immigrants, Sadie had big dreams. Too big to be constrained by the conventions of the day.She tells her tale, warts and all about the the most important year of her life. The year she met and fell for the legendary Wyatt Earp.
There isn't an extensive biography on Sadie , so the author had plenty of room to improvise. I felt the story was very well done. I found myself engrossed and enjoyi
Jul 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kobo, netgalley
I fell truly, madly,and deeply in love with this book. Set in the late 19th century USA, this book is a fictional account of the real life woman who loved Wyatt Earp. Josephine is unlike any other female protagonist of the time period. As Josephine recounts the events of the past, I felt myself carried back to the time of the Wild Wild West. Sensuality oozes from the pages in startlingly detail and there is little romanticism regarding how it was to live as an unmarried woman in lawless Tombst ...more
Aug 14, 2016 rated it it was ok

It felt like the author took a few details from Josephine's life and tried to stuff the character she wanted to create into that life. And it didn't fit.

Though details about Josephine's life are hazy, most accounts say that she was a prostitute at one point. Instead of embracing that person she most likely was, the author tried to write her as a romantic, (somewhat) virtuous heroine. And her attempt to reconcile the actual Josephine with the author's creation was...forced to say the lea
Carrie Schmidt (Reading is My SuperPower)
The Last Woman Standing is gritty and blunt and paints a decidedly unromantic (probably more realistic) picture of the Wild West. Told from Josie’s perspective, almost as though she dictated her memoir to Thelma Adams, the narrative has a casual and easy cadence and I enjoyed the style of the writing voice. It felt like we were sitting down for a conversation and that’s my favorite kind of first person narrative.

The problem with the narrative being from Josie’s perspective is that Josie can be (
Jun 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Just okay. Our heroine's vanity is tiresome, and she has little to show for her oft-repeated claims of boldness, independence, and big spirit. I didn't see any reason why all the men were so in love with her; she just seemed like a flighty teenager with hot pants, not the strong frontier woman she wanted me to believe she was. Although the book introduced me to some interesting characters and events I'd only been peripherally aware of, it was presented as more of a bodice-ripping love story than ...more
Jun 01, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heather Fineisen
3.5 This is told in a great first person narrative style and Josephine is plucky and outgoing. You can just see an actress on the stage reciting the story as her lines, it’s that conversational. Adams maintains this strength right about until she gets to the OK Corral and then things get a little fuzzy. It’s never very clear what exactly happens there but writing gunfight history is not the pull here. It is the life of Josephine Marcus and how she survives that is the story and with that in mind ...more
Jul 10, 2016 rated it liked it
NOTE: Received as an ARC from Netgalley.

3.5 stars. I’ve been interested in the relationship between Josie Marcus and Wyatt Earp ever since I saw the movie "Tombstone," but this novel fills in much more of Josie's backstory, and how that influenced events. It slowed down a bit in the middle, perhaps because Josie wasn't an eyewitness to much of the action and so could only describe it thirdhand. However, the story did pick up in time for a very satisfying ending. As a lifelong Gilbert & Sullivan
Rebecca Rosenberg
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Rip-roaring, kick-ass portrayal of Wyatt Earp and his Jewish common-law wife who has more than enough gumption for the two of them. So fun to read Western fiction, thanks for bringing it back! Thelma Adam's voice is humorous and strong, not to be missed. ...more
Mirta Ines Trupp
The Last Woman Standing: A Novel by Thelma Adams has over two thousand reviews on Amazon, a fact that garners my admiration to the author for eliciting such passion. Were I so fortunate has to collect anywhere NEAR as many reviews for my historical fiction, I would be positively elated- even if numerous patrons criticized the work or harangued my research. As the book’s title states, Adams has presented a novel; it is as work of historical fiction based on the life of Josephine Sarah Marcus. As ...more
Rachel Aranda
I appreciate my friend Amy for recommending this book to me as she knows I want to read more Western but there are better Westerns out there; this is more historical fiction and romance. That being said I have so many feelings about this book that it is rather complicated to explain. I'll do my best to explain why I give this book a 2-2.25rating.

The book starts out with an older and wiser Josephine Marcus aka "Josie" aka "Sadie"(her nickname depends on who she's with at the time) returns to Tomb
Novel received courtesy of First Reads Giveaway

I LOVED this book! The first line drew me in and I was hooked! "Tombstone kicked my ass and I kicked back." What a great line!

This is the story of Josephine Sophia Marcus, daughter of Jewish immigrants, who had such a zest for life that she was lured from San Francisco to Tombstone, Arizona in 1880. She first went to Tombstone as part of a traveling show. While there she fell for Johnny Behan. Johnny sent for her and she returned to To
Joe Krakovsky
Jan 17, 2017 rated it liked it
This book reads like what I imagine a romance novel to be like. The story is set against a historical backdrop of the old American West. Historical facts and people are woven in to give it a bit more substance than a woman falling in and out of love. (Why are so many of us guys such rotten creeps in these stories?)
There was some creative writing on the author's part. I got a kick out of the character cutting a steak with a serrated knife big enough to kill an Apache. And the slick lady-killer
DJ Sakata
My Rating:


Favorite Quotes:

He might have been a man of few words, but every word counted.

When I took his hand, I felt an unfamiliar excitement. It was as if my life was actually happening to me, right then, and right there. This was why I'd left home: to end the agonizing wait for my life to begin. I might have been a failure onstage, but I intended to be the star of my own life...

I sensed eyes staring at me. I don't know how that's possible, but it happened just that way, as real as the feeli
Jun 30, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, kindle, e-book, 2016
This was OK. Not bad, it kept me entertained, but I expected more historical background and less fiction. Some of the dialog was clearly 20th century. It did, however, make me want to watch the movie Wyatt Earp with Kevin Costner, and that's not all bad :-) ...more
J. Else
I read this as a reviewer for the Historical Novel Society. Review posted via their website at:
APPEARED IN: HNR Issue 77 (August 2016)

Josephine Marcus, teenage daughter of Jewish immigrants, is heading to Arizona to marry her fiancé, Johnny Behan. She arrives in the boomtown of Tombstone bright-eyed and hopeful, but soon realizes that while Johnny is full of flowery compliments, he’s also full of excuses and lies. After months without a wedding in sight,
Grace Troxel
Jun 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review originally appeared on my blog, Books Without Any Pictures:

The Last Woman Standing is a western historical fiction novel about the gunfight at the OK Corral. Josephine Marcus is a rebellious young woman who doesn’t want to settle down with a nice Jewish boy. She’s lured to Tombstone, Arizona by the promise of Johnny Behan, a local sheriff. Josie arrives in Arizona naive and full of hopes, but quickly has to learn the ways of the world. Johnny k
Christine Moore
Jul 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
I received an ebook copy of The Last Woman Standing from NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing. Thank you so very much!
I really loved this book. It is told by Josephine Marcus, Wyatt Earp's wife. It is a story of how they met in Tombstone and fell in love. It tells about Josephine's early life, how she went to Tombstone, dating and eventually living with Johnny Behan, then meeting Wyatt and falling in love. It is a story of bravery, family, and love. I recommend this book to anyone who wants a won
Robbi Leah  Freeman
Oct 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I received this as an ARC and was worried because I have never been into cowboys! Wow I was surprised and impressed by this author!
Go back on a historical journey to meet Josephine Marcus when she leaves home in CA to move to Tombstone to marry. But at a young age she learns that all is not what she expected. She also meets Wyatt Earp. Learn about the Wild West in this entertaining, fun and sometimes sad novel! I recommend to all historical fans, love story fans and of course those who loved Gun
Mar 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book! It transports you back in time, a time of corsets, Cowboys, saloons, and gunfights, all terrifying and exciting in their own way, but I want to be there.

I felt like I was w Josie w every gunshot, Apache call and horse hoof. You're in it with her through the good and the bad, the funny the sad, and the love and the heartbreak.

Thelma really brings Josie's story to life. It's funny, it's exciting, it's juicy, and it's wonderful!
Sally Koslow
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Bravo to Thelma Adams for capturing the high spirits of Josephine Marcus, a Jewish girl from San Francisco who captured the heart of two notorious lawmen in Tombstone, Arizona, the second of whom was Wyatt Earp. I was unfamiliar with her true story, which is bigger-than-life fascinating. The book is a colorful romp with guns, hussies, Champagne, vigilante justice, shady portrait sessions, pissed off common-law wives and earthy sex.
Sarah Wagner
Jul 04, 2020 rated it liked it
This novel has so much potential - a plucky heroine, gunfights, cowboys, romance - but I kept struggling to keep my attention focused on the story. I initially had a lot of hope that Josephine's voice would carry the story, but she seemed to vary between tedious and spunky, without really striking the needed balance. A decent enough story, but much harder to get through than I anticipated. ...more
Barbara White
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in two sittings, after being captivated by the heroine's voice. What an epic tale of love, rivalry, revenge, messed-up families, the Wild West, the gun fight at O.K. Corral, historic photography, and one unforgettable, kick-ass heroine. This book spoke to my inner historian and kept me up late at night, long after I'd finished, to research Wyatt Earp and his common-law wife, Josephine. I highly recommend THE LAST WOMAN STANDING for anyone who either has an interest in history or ...more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Jun 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
"The Last Woman Standing" is the story of Josie, a young Jewish woman who cannot see herself continuing to work in her parents' business and letting them decide what path she will take. She wants to make her own decisions. She's a bit adventurous and decides the place for her is out west. It's the 1880s and the western part of the United States is very much still the Wild West. Josie knows that this is the place for her and she leaves to make a life and find a husband. Little does she know who w ...more
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Thelma Adams is the author of the best selling historical novel The Last Woman Standing and Playdate, which Oprah magazine described as "a witty debut novel." In addition to her fiction work, Adams is a prominent American film critic and an outspoken voice in the Hollywood community. She has been the in-house film critic for Us Weekly and The New York Post, and has written essays, celebrity profil ...more

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