Discussion Questions for

  1. Woman on Fire is a showdown between two strong-willed women– Jules Roth, an ambitious young journalist, and Margaux de Laurent, a brilliant albeit ruthless gallerist. Neither woman should be underestimated. Are they a good match, and why?

  2. Jules pushes the envelope and is guilty of “cowboy antics” as she pursues her stories. Does she go too far to expose the truth, and are her bold efforts worth the risk? 

  3. Renowned investigative reporter Dan Mansfield maintains that investigations only work if all the players follow “The Rules.” What are “The Rules” — and how does each character break them?

  4. Margaux is both cruel and deeply wounded – a lethal combination. Like Margaux — Jules, Ellis, Dan, Adam, and Lilian Dassel all wrestle with  “inner demons”.  How does each handle their painful pasts both positively and negatively?

  5. Do Ellis and Margaux both have a legitimate claim to Woman on Fire – whose claim is stronger and why?

  6. World War II ended nearly eight decades ago. Why has this period of history made such an impact on the literary world, and why is Nazi-looted art STILL front-page news? 

  7. Family ties are a key element in the book. Margaux is deemed a psychopath – evil and cold-blooded – except when it comes to her grandfather. Does this loving, loyal quality redeem her and perhaps change how you feel about her – especially in the end?
  1. The fictional character Carl Geisler is inspired by real-life art collector Cornelius Gurlitt, son of Hitler’s “art thief” Hildebrand Gurlitt.  Margaux believes she is justified to steal Geisler’s treasure trove of art, rationalizing that it is not a crime to rob the robber. Where should the line be drawn between the pursuit of justice and the hunt for revenge?

  2. Woman on Fire is an exquisite example of Expressionist art. Expressionism is defined by how a painting makes you feel. How does this Expressionist masterwork impact each of the main characters – what emotions does the painting evoke and what actions does it inspire? 

  3. The novel is filled with empowered multigenerational female characters: Jules, Margaux, Elizabeth Roth, and Lilian Dassel. How does each woman use her “power” to impact the plot and affect others while defining her own path? 

  4. Adam, Dan, and Ellis all wrestle with addiction, having camouflaged their dependence on drugs and/or alcohol while rising to the top of their respective fields — art, journalism, and fashion. How do secrets versus success play out in this novel? 

  5. Revenge is a powerful theme threading through the novel. Each character grapples with it. Who takes vengeance too far at the expense of their own happiness, and why is that price tag worth it to them? 

  6. The artist Joan Miro once said: “You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at a picture for a second and think of it all your life.” Finding Woman on Fire becomes an obsession for Margaux and Ellis because of what it represents to each character – love and great loss. Have you ever been deeply affected by a work of art, and why?