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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful story of compulsive love
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...
Published on May 10, 2012 by Book lover

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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More prison memoir than romance...
When I first started reading this book I was really excited. It started out about a young girl facing a 'forbidden' romance with her sexy, slightly older cousin. The fact that he was going away to jail for a few years wasn't enough to keep them apart. I was actually intrigued by the 'taboo' nature of their relationship and anxious to find out what happened next...
Published on March 20, 2012 by Cali Reader


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful story of compulsive love, May 10, 2012
This review is from: From the Chrysalis: a novel (The Devereux Cousins Book 1) (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
This review is from: From the Chrysalis: a novel (The Devereux Cousins Book 1) (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 naÔve 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 (california) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: From the Chrysalis: a novel (The Devereux Cousins Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
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
This review is from: From the Chrysalis: a novel (The Devereux Cousins Book 1) (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. Regardless of how Black drew together the prison elements of her story, this is truly great writing!

"From the Chrysalis" is a brooding tale that's told well. It doesn't end well, of course. What brooding tale does? If you read it, I think you'd be disappointed in a happy ending anyway. I would have been.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Novel from a Great New Author!, May 9, 2012
This review is from: From the Chrysalis: a novel (The Devereux Cousins Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I couldn't put this book down! I found myself drawn into each scene picturing the prison walls or hearing the sounds in the courtroom as the verdict was read. Black paints the various scenes with great expertise drawing the reader further into the story of Dace and Liza. I have to admit that the sexual tension between the cousins was off-putting at first but as the book proceeded I found myself rooting for the two of them. Black's writing and the development of the story line between these two characters will have you turning the page late into the night. You'll find the ending satisfying, if not surprising. Black is an up and comer in the author world and I hope to read more of her as she continues to write.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More prison memoir than romance..., March 20, 2012
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This review is from: From the Chrysalis: a novel (The Devereux Cousins Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
When I first started reading this book I was really excited. It started out about a young girl facing a 'forbidden' romance with her sexy, slightly older cousin. The fact that he was going away to jail for a few years wasn't enough to keep them apart. I was actually intrigued by the 'taboo' nature of their relationship and anxious to find out what happened next.

About 2/3 through the book, the author got really heavy and went from what I thought was going to be a sexy, thought-provoking love story to a very political story about the prison system and those incarcerated in the 70s. I didn't expect half of the book to be about the inmates and this major riot that occurred. I would have loved to have more about the two characters and their relationship....how they rationalized the fact that they were first cousins...why it wasn't a big deal to anyone. Was that just a sign of the times? Was it okay for first cousins to be in love? That was very interesting to me but was somewhat glossed over. It was mentioned often... but NEVER discussed or explained.

It's a good book but much more of a historical memoir of this prison riot than a love story. The ending also made me wish there was an epilogue that jumped ahead at least a year or two into the future to tell me 'what happened next'.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Your' Typical Teen Romance Novel, August 13, 2012
By 
Rocky (Kaaawa, Hawaii) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: From the Chrysalis: a novel (The Devereux Cousins Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
From the Chrysallis by Karen E. Black is not what I expected when I started reading it, but that is decidedly not a bad thing. The story has a depth and a tragically dark beauty that most writers in YA fiction fail to capture adequately. Is this YA fiction? Well, that is not as clear as one might think. Yes, the main character, Liza is one who will appeal to YA readers, but the themes within this novel are ones that adult readers will be drawn to as well.

I suppose we all like star-crossed lovers and bad boys...well, I do. And while you find that aspect of the story immediately, the repercussions of teenage cousins Liza and Dace's decisions early on place them in situations that are difficult at best and potentially tragic at worse.
Set in locales that are not familiar to me, a 1970's era prison riot, for example, enhanced the book for me. I was fascinated by the effect of the riot on Dace and wanted desperately to know if he would survive and what would happen with Liza. Another aspect of the story that was unique was the way that the narrative is carried along by the letters exchanged between Liza and Dace whilst he is in prison. This was a very good technique by the author and lent an immediacy and poignancy to the story. I felt often as if I was reading things I was not supposed to be reading...very compelling and intriguing things.

Do I recommend this book? Absolutely. Yet a word of caution is required: Don't begin the book expecting a standard, cookie-cutter-teen-romance-novel. That is decidedly not what this book is. Yet if you like being exposed to deep emotion and situations far from the norm, and being carried along with your beloved characters as they face potentially crushing life choices, buy this and read it...you will not be disappointed in the slightest. I will certainly take note of any future novels by Karen Black if this one is any indication of her abilities as a writer.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Story Would Make A Great Screenplay, May 30, 2012
This review is from: From the Chrysalis: a novel (The Devereux Cousins Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
'From the Chrysalis' is two heart wrenching stories merged into one well-told chronicle. Liza and Dace are cousins, deeply connected since childhood, who fall in love but are destined to live apart. This beautiful bond gives both of them hope for the future while they are each forced to experience opposite kinds of exile.

Liza is sent to Dublin to become educated. Always believing that she belonged with Dace, when she returned to Canada she enrolled in Maitland University, close to the prison. Her story revolves around her love for him and takes place outside prison walls. Dace's story is one of maneuvering through incarceration, a cruel, restricted life; then being involuntarily involved in a major prison revolt. In the end the only thing that saved him was knowing how much he meant to Liza.

After years of separation and constant letters back and forth, they at last are together. But their bliss is short lived when Dace is falsely accused of killing men during the previous prison revolt and gets slammed back behind bars. Now they must endure a court battle, Dace in chains, Liza in the audience.

This book would make a marvelous screenplay. The author's ability to paint the prison rebellion, the court battle, and the relationship between Liza and Dace is well done and I felt like I was watching a movie while reading this book. The enduring love and life's tragedies that unfolded for these two people make their stories/story special and a real page turner.

The author's allegory between Monarch butterflies and human beings was beautifully illustrated by the book: we are like the Monarch butterflies... we think we're free but we're really not.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Add to your reading list!, March 23, 2012
This review is from: From the Chrysalis: a novel (The Devereux Cousins Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
From the Chrysalis by Karen E. Black covers a time span of several years and the setting is Canada for the most part. It is a fictional romance with a taste of mystery, violence, and sex. I find other books sometimes have sex that is over done and redundant but that is not the case here since Karen Black has seemed to master a style of her own.

In 1966 Elizabeth "Liza" Devereux is a fourteen year old growing up in a household with her younger twin brothers, her mother, and a step-father who doesn't like her. Life at home became unbearable so she is sent to live with her grandmother in Dublin. She is close to her cousin D'Arcy "Dace" Devereux, a young man who seems to find trouble at every turn. In 1971 when he is sent to Maitland Penitentiary, Liza enrolls in Maitland University so she could be close to him.

Liza seems to have an unnatural connection to Darcy and throughout the book I wondered if she would even realize how messed up Darcy's life is and how he is dragging her right down with him. Between the motorcycle gang, the drugs, and the sex I thought for sure she would end up even more messed up than he was. It was like she was too blinded by love and would never see her way out. Even after she grown up it still seemed like she was a child seeking the love of Darcy and she didn't care what she had to do to get it and keep it.

When she finds herself in the family way and Mel comes to the rescue I thought she had her prayers answered but was I in for a shock. Not only did it seem like she was having a mental breakdown, she didn't know who she wanted to be with. Her connection to Darcy was so strong but there was more than just herself to think of now.

Liza loves butterflies and reading the story she reminded me of one. The Caterpillar (14 year old Liza) become a butterfly and spreads her wings and flies. I found this book held my attention and I always wanted to know what happened next. If Liza isn't faced with some major problem then it was Darcy. This young man even found trouble while he was in trouble which of course also affected Liza so the story was never boring. I did find it slow in some parts but it never comes to a halt. I enjoyed this book and I would recommend you put it on your reading list too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't miss this one!, August 23, 2012
By 
Dennis Turner (California, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: From the Chrysalis: a novel (The Devereux Cousins Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I was fortunate enough to borrow this book from my sister, and here are my impressions...
Have you ever noticed how fast a racing car goes from 0 to 60? Because this is exactly how fast this book takes off.
I more often than not start a book expecting some sort of 'take things easy' kind of approach through the first couple of chapters while we're getting to know everyone, the scene is being set and all is nice and quiet, waiting for the twist. Not this book. In this book the action kicks in very early on, no time is being 'wasted' on dull moments, you get acquainted with characters on the go.
This book is fueled and driven by the passion Liza and Dace share to each other, and filled with good old prison action, romance and drama. Don't miss on this one!
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