“Tombstone kicked my ass and I kicked back.” Oh, really? Well, tell us more! Author Thelma Adams gives voice and new life to Josephine Marcus Earp in this novel. Undoubtedly, Josie’s character will make you laugh as she tells her tale in her gutsy, high-spirited oratory. It begins with the Jewish home life of Josephine in San Francisco. She will miss her father for sure once she decides to leave home, but her relationship with her mother was contentious to say the least. She’s very young and so very sure she’ll love Johnny Behan, Sheriff of Cochise County, for the rest of her life, but that’s until she arrives in Tombstone, gets to know him, and finds out what he’s really like. He broke her heart … but she’d spotted the handsome Wyatt Earp when she first arrived and begins to give him more thought. As it turns out, the feelings were mutual.
This is a nicely detailed look, albeit a naïve one, of the life of Josephine Marcus Earp, Wyatt Earp’s common law wife. Through the author’s skillful descriptive passages, you may be tempted to place a cloth over your nose and mouth to avoid the dust being kicked up by horses and wagons driven through the rugged streets of Tombstone. The novel goes from February 1937 to Autumn 1882. I was looking for an author’s note to get an idea of the research probing into Josie’s life. In checking a few online sites, I tend to think Josie may have actually been a prostitute, even at the tender age of fourteen. So, suggesting that she was waiting until her wedding night to lose her virginity seemed a stretch to me. The real Josie actually avoided delving into her past. Wikipedia points out, “Her confusing recollection of events show how easily Josephine mixed fact and fiction.” This novel so very well written, but I’m inclined to believe Josie’s life as presented is more fictional than factual. Rating: 3.5 out of 5.