The Last Woman Standing


Loud, crass and I just adore her! Adams’ depiction of Josephine is a real triumph.

At 3pm on 26th October 1881, nine men stepped out to face each other.

The gunfight at the O.K. Corral will last just 30 seconds.

Three will die, two will run, three will be injured and one man will still be standing without a scratch.

One man shall become immortalised in the most famous shootout of the Wild West. But what sort of woman can tame such a man?

Well, Josephine Marcus might just know…

The Last Woman Standing is Thelms Adams’ second novel and her first attempt at the historical fiction genre. Her debut book, Playdate, was published in hardcover in January 2011.

Adams graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in history and went on to receive a Master of Fine Arts from Columbia University.

She then spent two decades writing features and critical pieces within the entertainment industry. Her interviewees have included Julianne Moore, George Clooney and Matthew McConaughey.

Whilst writing for publications such as the New York Post and US Weekly, her career took Adams to film festivals all over the world and today she sits on the Hamptons International Film Festival Advisory Board.

The Last Woman Standing is a first person narrative written from the perspective of feisty protagonist Josephine Marcus.

The novel begins in February 1937, with Josephine revisiting Tombstone, Arizona and reliving the fateful events that led up the infamous gunfight and its turbulent fallout.

The majority of the plot line directly follows Josephine looking back at her life from the period of her arrival in October 1880 to when she leaves in February 1882.

Other parts of her life are also detailed throughout in flashbacks.

Personally I thought it was a stroke of genius by Adams to write the narrative colloquially and informally – just like common speech. It really gave Josephine’s voice depth and strength.

Adams’ Josephine Marcus is probably the best example of a ‘marmite’ heroine as you can ever get. She will not be to every reader’s tastes – she is loud, crass and overtly melodramatic.

And I loved her.

Her voice hooked me from the first page and still kept hold of me to the end. At times she can be needy, vain and incredibly naive (verging on almost wilfully blind at times).

But I loved her still. Unruly and wild, I love how much she contrasts against all the insipid, ‘wishy-washy’ heroines often found in historical fiction.

Adams’ Josephine breathes life into the story and carries a plot line which is fun and engrossing.

If you are looking for a serious and deeply factual recounting of the O.K. Corral shootout, then this is not the book suited to you.

However, saying that, the novel does give you a strong and interesting flavour of the events and provides ample facts, dates and background.

It also delivers on good and interesting stock characters – the flawed womaniser, the romantic hero, the jealous rival, the disapproving mother etc.

Have these characters been done before? Yes. Are they still immensely entertaining and emotionally provoking? Yes, they certainly are.

Overall, it’s a highly entertaining novel. It doesn’t take itself too seriously (just like Josephine) and the tried and tested formula works very well.

All in all great to curl up with now that the night are getting long again.

Published in July 2016 by Lake Union Publishing, The Last Woman Standing retails at £8.99 or $14.95.


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