From the author of the award-winning FUGITIVE COLORS and THE UNBREAKABLES, WOMAN ON FIRE is 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.
WOMAN ON FIRE summary from HarperCollins Publishers
After talking her way into a job with Dan Mansfield, the leading investigative reporter in Chicago, rising young journalist Jules Roth is given an unusual—and very secret—assignment. Dan needs her to locate a painting stolen by the Nazis more than 75 years earlier: legendary Expressionist artist Ernst Engel’s most famous work, Woman on Fire. World-renowned shoe designer Ellis Baum wants this portrait of a beautiful, mysterious woman for deeply personal reasons, and has enlisted Dan’s help to find it. But Jules doesn’t have much time; the famous designer is dying.
Meanwhile, in Europe, provocative and powerful Margaux de Laurent also searches for the painting. Heir to her art collector family’s millions, Margaux is a cunning gallerist who gets everything she wants. The only thing standing in her way is Jules. Yet the passionate and determined Jules has unexpected resources of her own, including Adam Baum, Ellis’s grandson. A recovering addict and brilliant artist in his own right, Adam was once in Margaux’s clutches. He knows how ruthless she is, and he’ll do anything to help Jules locate the painting before Margaux gets to it first.
A thrilling tale of secrets, love, and sacrifice that illuminates the destructive cruelty of war and greed and the triumphant power of beauty and love, Woman on Fire tells the story of a remarkable woman and an exquisite work of art that burns bright, moving through hands, hearts, and history.
Excerpt from the new book: WOMAN ON FIRE by Lisa Barr. Copyright © 2022 by Lisa Barr. Reprinted courtesy of Harper Paperbacks, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
“Good evening, and welcome,” Margaux begins. “I’m Margaux de Laurent, and I’m thrilled to be here with you tonight.” She doesn’t need a microphone. Her rich voice resonates, her British accent posh and well-heeled, reflecting her privileged up- bringing. “This is DLG’s eighteenth year presenting at Art Basel. Tonight’s showcase is particularly important to me because it’s more than just an exhibit—it’s personal.” She gestures toward the large covered canvas perched behind her, and everyone’s gaze follows. She has her audience in the palm of her hand. “This painting has been missing from our family collection for eight decades. Until now . . .” There is a pregnant pause as Mar- gaux makes a panoramic sweep of the packed house, then turns to her assistant standing near her dressed in head-to-toe black.
The drape comes off in one dramatic swoop and Jules gazes up in awe at the enormous canvas, and then a shock wave hits her as though she walked into a restaurant and a surprise party were waiting for her on the other side of the door. She may be imagining it, but Margaux smiles directly at her from the podium, a mercurial grin that quickly dissolves into a sneer. Jules’s blood thumps; her anger mounts. That painting does not belong to her. “Liar!” Jules screams at the top of her lungs, but no actual sound emerges. Her voice is hollow. Perspiration slides down the back of her designer dress. This can’t be happening.
But it is.
The clapping is random at first, and then a resounding ovation breaks out, deafening, like the winning goal in a World Cup game. Jules’s face burns, yet her hands are cold, as though her body temperature is malfunctioning, realizing that she is the one who has been played.
Margaux revels in the applause. Her hard gaze finds Jules once again. Her iced smile is no longer a mere victory lap—it’s a You’re f$cked with a cherry on top.
Jules sees Adam trying to push through the packed house and make his way toward her. Before she can react, she feels a hard rap on her shoulder and follows the finger. A sharp-faced young woman stands before her in a white leather minidress so tight that it would take a scraper to get it off. Jules recognizes her as the Door Girl, who stood at the mansion’s entrance marking off the guest list—which clearly isn’t her day job.
“Follow me,” the woman commands under her breath. As in now. Jules’s legs no longer seem to hold her up. Her gaze shoots to the other side of the room, searching for Adam, but he is gone. Where? Her head is spinning. Think, think.
Her gut warns her to run like hell, but the bigger part of her knows that she’d better do as she is told. The or else looms over her head like a black cloud. Jules follows the woman out of the courtyard, through a discreet side door, down a short narrow staircase, and into the unknown. Before she can see what’s happening or revise her decision, Jules’s purse is snatched, and she is pushed roughly into the back seat of a waiting vehicle by a firm, meaty hand.
She turns briefly, and through the car’s tinted rear window she spots the Door Girl standing in the zigzag shadows of a lit-up palm tree in the distance. Suddenly, without warning, a hood is placed tightly over Jules’s head and her hands are tied. The air leaves her lungs, and it feels like her head is departing from her body as the car accelerates. She braces herself against the sticky leather seat. Why didn’t she leave or run or scream when she had the chance? Is the damn painting worth her life and those of the people she loves?
BUY your copy of WOMAN ON FIRE
Have you read this one yet?— Harper Perennial (@HarperPerennial) March 10, 2022
WOMAN ON FIRE by @lisabarr18 tells the story of a remarkable woman and an exquisite work of art that burns bright, moving through hands, hearts, and history…
Available now: https://t.co/h1Ule111rD pic.twitter.com/SlYH4WDu27
‘Woman On Fire’: Sharon Stone To Produce & Star In Film Adaptation Of Upcoming Lisa Barr Novel:: Sharon Stone (The Flight Attendant, Ratched) has optioned the rights to Lisa Barr’s upcoming novel Woman on Fire, inking a deal to produce and star in a film adaptation.
Woman on Fire is a Katie Couric Must-Read Books 2022
BUZZFEED: Must Read Historical Fiction 2022
Publishers Weekly – Starred review
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY – Book Pics of the Week
Jewish Book Council: New Winter Favorite Books!
JEWISH BOOK COUNCIL EVENT: APRIL 11, 2022
Come hear Lisa Barr speak with James McAuley at JBC virtual Unpacking the Book event, Lisa Barr and James McAuley — Art, Assimilation, and Reclaiming a Stolen Legacy, which will be presented in partnership with the Jewish Museum and Tablet Magazine on Monday, April 11th at 7 PM ET–click here for free tickets!
Jewish Book Council Essay: The Ongoing Battle Over Nazi-Looted Art by Lisa Barr
Hadassah’s APRIL One Book, One Hadassah! EVENT April 7, 7pm
MARCH EVENTS: MEET LISA BARR
March 11 @ 6 p.m. PST
Vromans Bookstore, Pasadena, CA – In conversation with Variety Features Editor Malina Saval
EVENT REGISTRATION LINK: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/lisa-barr
March 12 @ 7 p.m. MT
Tattered Cover, Aspen Grove. In Conversation with with Denver7’s Suzanne Gutierrez
March 15 @ 7 p.m. CST
B’nai Tikvah Synagogue, Deerfield, Illinois.
March 25 @ 6:30 p.m. ET
Books & Books, Coral Gables, An evening with bestselling author Emily Liebert
March 31 @ Noon
Luncheon — Guest Speaker: Beth Hillel Bnai Emunah
WOMAN ON FIRE by @lisabarr18 got a starred review from @PublishersWkly!— Harper Perennial (@HarperPerennial) March 9, 2022
Read the full review here: https://t.co/vgG5t2ibGk pic.twitter.com/Dfjxd3iIZR
Lisa Barr is the award-winning author of WOMAN ON FIRE, THE UNBREAKABLES and the historical thriller FUGITIVE COLORS, a suspenseful tale of stolen art, love, lust, deception and revenge on the “eve” of WWII. The novel won the IPPY gold medal for “Best Literary Fiction 2014” and first prize at The Hollywood Film Festival (Opus Magnum Discovery Award). In addition, Lisa served as an editor for The Jerusalem Post, managing editor of Today’s Chicago Woman, managing editor of Moment magazine, and as an editor/reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times. Among the highlights of her career, Lisa covered the famous “handshake” between the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the late PLO leader Yasser Arafat, and President Bill Clinton at the White House. Lisa has been featured on Good Morning America and Today for her work as an author, journalist, and blogger. In breaking book news: Actress Sharon Stone is set to produce and star in the film adaptation of WOMAN ON FIRE.
Advanced Praise for WOMAN ON FIRE
Barr’s vigorous prose complements her fully realized characters. Readers will be gripped from start to finish …” –Publisher’s weekly – Starred Review
“Woman on Fire is a sharp, propulsive page-turner that will keep readers in suspense.” – Booklist
“Part-thriller, part-historical fiction, this book will have you gripping the pages until the very end.” –Buzzfeed
“Thick with history, scandal, romance and deceit, WOMAN ON FIRE is a truly compulsive read.” – Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of LOCAL WOMAN MISSING
“An exuberant and propulsive thriller laced with sex, art, and history, Lisa Barr has created an unforgettable story that forces readers to question where the line should be drawn between the pursuit of justice and the hunt for revenge.” – Alyson Richman, international bestselling author of The Secret of Clouds.
“Barr’s riveting dive into the dark side of the international art world, led by an intrepid young journalist, had me on the edge of my seat.” —Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue
“Addictively propulsive and laced with rapid-fire twists and turns, this sizzling tale of deception, lust, Nazi-looted art, and murder crackles with tension and comes vividly, strikingly alive in Lisa Barr’s skilled hands.” —Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling author of The Forest of Vanishing Stars
WOMAN ON FIRE by @lisabarr18 is “a thrilling page-turner that delivers everything from coded messages and secret knocks, to generational wounds and captivating characters.”— Harper Perennial (@HarperPerennial) March 8, 2022
Read the full @NYJournalofBook review here: https://t.co/fN79VeAzRb pic.twitter.com/5PAmqcXK70