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March 2, 2022

Woman on Fire by Lisa Barr ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

Women on Fire by Lisa Barr is exquisitely written

A gripping tale of a young, ambitious journalist embroiled in an international art scandal centered around a Nazi-looted masterpiece--forcing the ultimate showdown between passion and possession, lovers and liars, history and truth.

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cover of Woman of Fire a gripping tale of stolen art
March 2022; Harper; 978-0063211261
audio, ebook, print (416 pages); suspense

Woman on Fire
was the last book that I read in 2021 and was one of my favorite books of the year.  I have a warning for you before you start this book - clear your calendar because you won't want to put it down until the end and have tissues at hand because you'll probably need them for not just the sadness but I also cried happy tears.

Jules just graduated from college and her goal in life is to work for Dan Mansfield, the leading investigative reporter in Chicago.  He has ignored all of her attempts to talk to him so she barges into his office.  He's impressed with her and asks her to work on a new project with him.  

Ellis, a rich shoe designer and a friend of Dan's, has asked him to recover a painting that was taken by the Nazis in 1939 and has significant personal value to him.  The painting has been in the collections of several people over the years but no one knows where it is now - it hasn't been seen in decades and there are very few clues to guide them but along with Jules, Dan, Ellis, and Adam (Ellis's grandson), they start trying to find out more information about where the painting has been since it was stolen by the Nazis in 1939 in hopes that the clues will lead them to the painting.  

Soon they find out that someone else is also searching for the painting.  Margaux de Laurent is the heir to her art collector family's millions, she owns prestigious galleries all over the world and gets everything she wants. She wants Woman on Fire for personal reasons and will stop at nothing to succeed in her search. As the story travels from Chicago to Paris to Germany and back again and travels from 1939 to the present time, all parties are desperate to find the painting no matter what danger it puts them in.

It is very apparent that the author did significant research on art that was stolen by the Nazis and never recovered.  During WWII, the Nazis seized more than 600,000 works of art.  Some pieces of art were destroyed but some ended up in the homes of the leaders of the party.  She also presented lots of information about the art world of today and the way that some of the galleries operate.

This book has it all - exquisite writing, well-written characters, and a plot that keeps readers turning pages with an ending that was perfect and I didn't see coming.   It's full of love, mystery, ambition, art, and sex - what more could you ask for?  Plus it has the meanest psychopath villain of any book that I've read in a long time.  Don't miss this book!

Buy Woman on Fire at Amazon

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina with her husband of over 50 years.  She grew up in Michigan but now calls North Carolina home. She enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and historical fiction. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on Facebook.

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