REVIEW: Woman On Fire
Young journalist Jules Roth has wormed her way into award winning investigative reporter Dan Mansfield's staff. Her first assignment involves a hidden painting two people are after simultaneously. Renowned shoe designer Ellis Baum is racing the formidable gallery owner Margaux de Laurent for the Woman On Fire. This ruthless and gripping tale reveals how greed, power, love, and beauty move through the world of art.
Here's the quick version: I could not put this book down! This is my first Lisa Barr novel, and I am now insanely curious about her others. I do not remember the last time I read a book from multiple points of view that utilized dramatic irony is such a masterful way. The tension and suspense could almost be cut with a knife, and I love how this thriller aspect was tied into a historical fiction novel. It was intoxicating and cinematic.
The main points of view are from Jules Roth and Margaux de Laurent. Both of them want the same thing (to recover a World War II painting long lost to Nazi art theft), but they want it for drastically different reasons. As characters, these two women could not be more different. Jules is searching for truth, whereas Margaux is desperate to hide who she really is behind a facade. Their only similarity is the driving passion they have for being the very best. It makes for quite a ride as they both search for the missing painting.
One element I was surprised by was the romantic aspect. This too was an element of competition between Jules and Margeaux that added to the tension. Competing for the affections and attentions of Adam Chase (artist extraordinaire and Ellis Baum's grandson), the two women vie for what they see in his textured past: one to draw him to darkness, and the other to push him into the light. The sex scenes spread throughout were a little too descriptive for my taste, but thankfully they were over quickly.
I could easily see this making a fantastic movie. Imagine my excitement when I found a Dateline article saying it has already been optioned for film by Sharon Stone. I will definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for its release, and cannot wait to see it come to life! If you want to hear more about this book from Lisa Barr (specifically related to her inspiration, writing, and research process), take a look at the spoiler free interview my friend Cindy did on her podcast Thoughts From A Page.
Overall I really enjoyed this book and found it to be a wonderful binge read. If you're in the mood for a good suspense filled historical fiction novel, I'd read this one next!
Content Warnings: war stories, death, murder, sex, language