Woman on Fire

  • Review
By – February 24, 2022

Lisa Barr has includ­ed all kinds of intrigu­ing ele­ments in this enjoy­able read: Nazi-loot­ed art, old-school jour­nal­ism, fash­ion, decep­tion, and romance.

Woman on Fire is set across New York, Mon­tana, Mia­mi, France, Germany,and Chica­go, fea­tur­ing globe-trot­ting inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ists, ele­gant mur­der­ous vil­lains, and the rich and famous. Most of the sto­ry takes place in the present, with a few jaunts to World War II-era events.

Pro­tag­o­nist Jules is a bud­ding jour­nal­ist. The bril­liant young reporter is moti­vat­ed by the search for truth, her good nature, and palat­able ear­ly twen­ty-some­thing career ambition.

Jules is deter­mined to get the whole sto­ry and insure that the paint­ing Woman on Fire, the last work by one of Germany’s mur­dered avant-garde artists, is returned to its right­ful own­er – famous shoe design­er Ellis Baum – before he dies.

Barr sketch­es a col­or­ful back­sto­ry for her cun­ning gal­lerist vil­lain. Along­side a few well-placed emo­tion­al bread­crumbs, the psy­cho­path­ic Mar­gaux de Lau­rent is the inverse of Jules.

The book veers into bodice-rip­per ter­ri­to­ry with a few sex­u­al­ly explic­it scenes. Adam, Ellis Baum’s for­mer­ly estranged grand­son, is a com­pul­sive­ly tal­ent­ed artist who once strug­gled with drug addic­tion. With Adam’s dark side com­plete­ly in check after rehab and a stint in peace­ful, iso­lat­ed, unpre­ten­tious Mon­tana, Adam offers crit­i­cal help in the search for the paint­ing. He falls hard for Jules who, despite her no-non­sense, mature per­sona, is eas­i­ly pulled into Adam’s com­plex-yet-sin­cere orbit.

Woman on Fire is an excit­ing and enter­tain­ing nov­el. An excel­lent easy read at the beach or on trav­el adven­tures of your own.

Lind­sey Bod­ner is a writer and an edu­ca­tion foun­da­tion direc­tor. She lives in Man­hat­tan with her family.

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