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From the Chrysalis: a novel (The Devereux Cousins Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Karen E. Black
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $3.99
You Save: $11.00 (73%)

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Book Description

Part love story, part prison break, "From the Chrysalis" is a fictionalized account of the deadliest event in Canadian penal history, the Kingston Penitentiary Riot of April 1971.

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 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


Drugs, bikers (and) prison breaks provide surprising plot twists in this rough-and-tumble romance. Liza is a bookworm...drawn to delicate poetry (and) the predictable flight of the monarch this daring effort set in '60s and '70s Ontario...Yet there is a secret she shares with no one--her deep and all-consuming love for her cousin, D'Arcy "Dace"'s intriguing to see the life of the average biker during the height of the Hell's Angels in America...(and) Black has a flair for historical novels...(She also) shows remarkable storytelling depth. Kirkus Reviews

***** 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: 619 KB
  • Print Length: 319 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:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #759,091 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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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
4.0 out of 5 stars A love story between cousins.
She is attracted to her cousin from her early years, Though he is a few years older. He goes to prison and her family sends her to Ireland to live with her grandmother. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Sam McGraner
5.0 out of 5 stars Move this book to the top of your reading "Chrysalis"t! @badwordplay
When I was reading the reviews for this book, I saw someone wrote that this book has "Drugs, bikers, prison breaks and incest". How weird is that? Read more
Published 11 months ago by Owen Robinson
1.0 out of 5 stars Very slow read and characters are dull.
One of those books that you keep reading hoping it will get better. I finally gave up and didn't even read the last three chapters.
Published 11 months ago by DRCoach
4.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down, loved it!!!
Its amazing how a book can take you back in time to when you were young and foolish and picked all the wrong guys, but this book did just that for me. Read more
Published 12 months ago by LHarrison
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!
Who doesn't like reading about crazy events such as Prison Riots?
Karen's book is engaging and tells a fascinating story that has the reading on the edge of their seat from... Read more
Published 13 months ago by S J
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 13 months 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 13 months ago by Kindle Customer
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 13 months ago by ConfessionsOfABookAddict
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 17 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 19 months ago by ToratheExplorer
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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 wrote 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 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.

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What did this book do for you?
I'm with you. I hope the author writes a sequel too. From the Chrysalis: a novel Read More
Jun 14, 2012 by Sam O'Hara |  See all 2 posts
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