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From the Chrysalis: a novel [Kindle Edition]

Karen E. Black
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $3.99
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Book Description

An unusual romance...
Part love story, part prison break: a fictionalized account of the deadliest event in Canadian penal history, the Kingston Penitentiary Riot of April 1971. 
Over 25,000 downloads! Sequel "Feeling for the Air" coming soon. Recommended for those over 18. Some readers may be disturbed by the violence in the prison and/or the first cousin romance.
For background information about the riot and a personal perspective, see "My Search for Gregory Bell aka Norman MacCaud." 
Liza's bad-boy cousin, the handsome, magnetic D'Arcy "Dace" Devereux is nothing but trouble. Falling in love with him can only make things worse. Especially for a girl who knows more about books and monarch butterflies than she does men.



The cousins' mutual infatuation flares into an obsession long before Liza is out of her teens. Even when Dace is arrested and sent to jail, their feelings don't change.



When she's old enough, Liza enrolls in a local university to be closer to him, but a prison riot breaks out and Dace is forced to make decisions that will jeopardize both their relationship and his life. He's always been loyal to his old buddies--too loyal some say.



The cousins spend one wonderful summer together when he's briefly paroled, but Dace is still drawn to trouble like the monarchs down to Mexico.



In the end, nobody--not the biker gangs, the authorities or Dace's own demons--is going to let him go. The only way they can both break out and fly free is if Liza walks away. But how can she leave him when he has become her whole life?



"From the Chrysalis" is a taut novel of romance and survival against all odds,set in the shifting political and moral background of the early seventies.


Review Highlights:



"...courtroom scenes are so well written, I thought I was reading a John Grisham novel but without half the tediousness of his long drawn out court battles. The sexual scenes are also beautifully done, a real part of the plot, not woven in to titillate the reader." Book lover "Elsee" (Malvern, UK)



"..this is an eloquently crafted tale about love, guilt, and human resilience." Ben Avery



"Both Liza and Dace are haunted by the decisions that they made in their youth- his a charge resulting in a jail term, and hers a relationship with an older man which results in a heartbreaking decision." Nadia



"I fell in love with the character of Dace (during the prison riot). His perseverance and resilience, whether making good or bad decisions, can't be matched." Francine1898



"The author is a woman but she really nailed it in portraying a desperate man, driven both by his violent circumstances and his desperate need for his girl, Liza. But as much as I liked him, it was Liza I really cared about..." Goalie



"I would have loved to have more about the two characters and their relationship....how they rationalized the fact that they were first cousins..."

K. Kendall (California)



"...a meditation on obsessive love,free choice and fitful fate. "From the Chrysalis" asks us to consider how much of life is the result of choices we've made,and how much is determined by circumstances beyond our control." Joseph A.


Editorial Reviews

Review

Drugs, bikers, prison breaks and incest provide surprising plot twists in this rough-and-tumble romance novel...set in '60s and '70s Ontario...Black has a flair for historical novels..and she shows remarkable storytelling depth...  - Kirkus Reviews


*****   2012 Readers Favorite Award Winner!  Dace...is about 17 when the book begins and the reader knows from the start that he is drawn to trouble. He sort of reminded me of James Dean, handsome, tempting and sure to cause suffering... Black has written a very descriptive account of the prison. She brings the scenes in her book to life and they march off the pages.  -Anne B. from Readers Favorite
 

From the Author


My work as a reference librarian helped me enrich the setting and heighten the suspense of From the Chrysalis by using historical detail about the deadliest event in Canadian penal history, the Kingston Penitentiary Riot of April 1971.

Product Details

  • File Size: 599 KB
  • Print Length: 318 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Karen E. Black (February 5, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0076BOQGU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,550 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful story of compulsive love May 10, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
It isn't often that I put down a novel that is so moving and powerfully written that I can't pick up another for a while. This story will dwell in my mind for a very long time. Liza falls in love at fourteen with her handsome, wild cousin Dace who is due to go into prison for manslaughter which was not his fault. There is an immediate bonding between them. Liza, like so many girls, is attracted to the Dark Lover, the inner male that is dangerous, difficult and even destructive - but who ultimately helps her to grow in wisdom and understanding through the emotional pain he gives her.
This is a beautifully told love story, the characters of Dace and Liza are so well drawn they are almost a Heathcliffe and Cathy. Their natures are very different and yet they share the same inner depth, passion and loyalty as well as a streak of wildness, more prevalent in Dace but there in Liza also.
A large part of the story centres around a real life event, the prison riot in Canada's Kingston Penitentiary in April 1971 in which Dace plays an important role. Scenes of prison life are told from Dace's viewpoint and are violent, realistic and disturbing;courtroom scenes are so well written, I thought I was reading a John Grisham novel but without half the tediousness of his long drawn out court battles. The sexual scenes are also beautifully done, a real part of the plot, not woven in to titillate the reader.
All in all, this is one of the best books I have read in a long time.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a dull moment! May 10, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
"From the Chrysalis," a romantic novel written by Karen E. Black, piqued my curiosity from the very first chapter. The theme of butterflies and forbidden love intertwine in a well-written, intricate story. Liza, a naïve girl, comes to grips with her emerging feelings for her charismatic, dangerous first cousin, Dace, despite the fact that he is imprisoned for manslaughter and later branded as an ex-convict. Though very different in some ways--Liza loves books and butterflies and is inevitably drawn to men who assure her demise, and Dace is a hard, haunted man who thrives on trouble and danger--the two characters feel misunderstood from their legalistic, dysfunctional families and are essentially outcasts from a 1970's society. The scintillating prose and the complex, authentic characters tantalizes the reader as much as the swiftly moving plot filled with prison scenes, court cases, sexual encounters, and butterfly gardens. This book will make you reflect on how choices we make result in consequences we later have to deal with, and your heart will ache with the tragic decisions that Liza and Dace have to make. This book also makes you question if love is really a choice or if it is predetermined. Though not all of us go to prison, we often trap ourselves in prisons of our own making...can Liza and Dace make the ultimate choice to free themselves from their own cages? Will they be able to surface out of societal guilt and familial expectations to remain true to themselves? "From the Chrysalis" is well worth your time and I highly recommend reading this book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Obsessive love or soul mates? May 30, 2012
By JudyK
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I keep seeing the expression "obsessive love" in reference to the main characters of this book. I felt as though they had a deep connection beyond their physical attraction and blood ties. To me, she truly, deeply and unconditionally loved Dace, and he loved her intensely as well. I didn't get an obsessive feeling about it. After all, she endured many, many long days and hours without him and still kept him in her heart. Each time they were able to be together their mutual love was intense. I guess obsessive could be used here, as their attraction to each other was beyond their control.

My only complaint about the book was the ending, and I'm hoping this just means there is more to come. Very engrossing story with building tension and empathy for the two lovers.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Dark Romance / Legal Thriller Combo May 14, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I've never been a big fan of romance fiction. Mystery's, crime fiction and legal thriller's have always been more to my liking. A couple of favorites are John Grisham and Scott Turow with their legal thrillers. When I first ran across "From the Chrysalis", it was billed as romance fiction so I almost ignored it. I checked out some of the reviews though and saw that many people were talking about a story line that revolved a lot around a prison sentence for one of the characters and some good court room scenes. Those other reviews hooked me in.

I'm glad I jumped. Yes, there is an element of romance here. It begins as a forbidden romance between cousins 14 year old Liza and 17/18 year old Dace that takes years to actually come to any sort of fruition because of the prison sentence of Dace shortly after their initial overtures to each other. When the so called "romance" is finally allowed to bloom, it's a dark and brooding one. Dace never quite becomes who he wishes to be and Liza is never able to let him go.

From a crime fiction / legal thriller standpoint, this book was excellent. The prison scenes were palpable. Having been involved as an Army National Guard member during an Ohio max security prison riot several years back where guards were taken hostage and inmates were killed, I can tell you that reading this book felt like the author, Karen Black, was a fly on the wall in that time and place. The names were different but the story was so much the same! Her descriptions were so realistic, fact and fiction truly blurred for me. Of course, the author has a history of Canadian and U.S. prison riots to draw from including a very famous one at Attica in upstate NY, USA in 1971 around the time of the setting in this book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars A Waste of Time
I have a friend who spent time in prison, and so when I saw this book was about a prison riot, I was interested. Imagine my surprise with the content of this book. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Ykasunshine
3.0 out of 5 stars Dragged out And xull
This book was rather dragged out with a somewhat boring story line. I decided to skim over many pages in order to speed up the process and get to the meat.
Published 5 days ago by Barbara West
2.0 out of 5 stars Nope
Huh what was that I want all of those hours back boring. The book started ok it was so hard to finish it glad it was free, I would have been pissed if I spent a penny on it. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Meek
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I definitely want to know what happens next after all the struggle and waiting Liza and Dave went through, only to have the system fail them again. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Patricia
5.0 out of 5 stars True to Life and Romance
“From the Chrysalis” is a love story between a man wrongly convicted of manslaughter and his cousin the innocent Liza. Read more
Published 6 months ago by ToratheExplorer
1.0 out of 5 stars Missed the mark by...ALOT
What the heck did I just read?

This was a suck fest of read for me. Aside from the prison riot plot (which is stemmed from fact) everything else surrounding this story... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Princess Nhya
3.0 out of 5 stars It was ok
I wish the characters were a bit more fleshed out. Just one cousin obsessing over her male cousin. When she isnt with him, she is thinking about him and trying to save him.
Published 10 months ago by Alisa
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!
I read a lot a lot alot! So it takes a good one to stick in my mind and want to loan it to my friends. This is one of those. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Melissa L Miles
5.0 out of 5 stars compelling story
This book really pulled me in right a way.I kept wanting to find out how things would go for the two main characters.It's a good story about obsessive love.
Published 15 months ago by kat
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read
I could not put this book down! I have never really given much thought to the lives of people who are serving time but this book really changed that for me. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Terry
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More About the Author

Karen Black lives in Toronto, Ontario with her family, the same city where she was born. Her novel "From the Chrysalis" begged for a sequel, so she is currently writing about Dace's escape from a corrupt penitentiary system and his dual mission to clear his name and find out where the monarch butterflies really made their winter home.

She's made a couple of pennies from writing, but it's her work as a reference librarian which helped pay for her children's "artsy" educations, the renovations and repairs to their 99-year-old house and the travels she and her husband indulge in every year or two. They just got back from Turkey, a Mecca for anybody interested in ancient history.

She did her Master's in Library Science at the University of Toronto (because she loved books), but she majored in Sociology (with a minor in English) at a university in a small city like Maitland. Though her husband brags they met in a bar, they met while working in the campus pub at the University of Western Ontario. She was a waitress and he was a doorman. (By the way, he claims all credit for any sex scenes in his wife's novel "From the Chrysalis.")

Karen Black has always written and done family research, which is how she found out that most of us are the descendants of cousin marriages. (And unless you're a Hapzburg descendant, it doesn't worry her too much!) Much to her children's relief, she is not in the slightest related to their father, probably because Scots-Anglo-Irish gentry and peasants rarely mixed in the old days.

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I'm with you. I hope the author writes a sequel too. From the Chrysalis: a novel Read more
Jun 14, 2012 by ScarletOhara |  See all 2 posts
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