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The Chrysalis: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – April 29, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
The story is told in three distinct eras:
1) the first is the creation of the painting, The Chrysalis, by Johannes Miereveld, a Dutch artist from the 1600s.
2) The second is the story of the owner in 1944, the Baum family in Belgium, Jews who have converted to Catholicism, and who love the painting for its Catholic iconography.
3) The bulk of the tale is told in the present day, when Beazley's auction house is planning on selling it for an unidentified seller, and Hilda Baum sues for the painting, claiming it was stolen from her family by the Nazis.
Beazley's provenance research shows it was sold by the family to a dealer in Nice. Mara Coyne, an attorney at a prestigious Manhattan firm, is convinced winning this case will encourage her firm to offer her a partnership. A bit dismayed when she finds out that the attorney for Beazley's that she will be working with is Michael Roarke, a sensitive and intelligent man she was attracted to in college. Still she soldiers on and her legal research proves brilliant. Her ability to keep her distance from Michael, however, is not so good--they form a secret relationship quickly. Mara also finds herself getting close to the main provenance researcher for Beazley's, the elderly Lillian Joyce. A sudden email discovery shows that her case and all she knows about Michael and Lillian may be false; her world is shattered. Does she want to be party to a fraud?
The various eras are portrayed well. I wish the book were longer so we could have lingered more in the 1600s with Johannes and Amalia.
Armchair Interviews says: The legal roadblocks to proving a painting's ownership when stolen by the Nazis are really amazing.
This book may be of interest to fellow lawyers or legal scholars, but I just don't think it was too exciting or even terribly interesting. The flashbacks to other time periods did provide some 'change of scenery' in the book, but in the end they didn't tell us anything that the MC doesn't find out herself. Meantime, there's no follow-up to tell us the result of the incident on the MC's life, since her legal career may have been adversely affected.
I hope Ms. Terrell keeps writing many books to come. She can certainly create intriguing plots.
The story is intricately woven, develops several complicated and believable characters and relationships, introduces valid moral questions, and kept me interested to the very end. I would recommend this book to any serious reader.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It made me want to know about art and the awful destruction caused by the Holacost
You could feel the emotion of the people
Although this is fiction, the story rings true. The fact that moral integrity wins over deceit was definitely why I gave this five stars. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Sony2
An interesting story about the theft of art by Nazis, its subsequent sale and provenance, and the historical period in which the artwork was created told, in part, by a young woman... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Lex
Very interesting novel. Enjoyed reading about three different time periods as the novel evolved. The legal aspects dealing with stolen works of art from WW II and their return... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Emily A. Leuck
A great mystery with many layers and interesting characters. I could not put it down, and was left wishing for more.Published 1 month ago by Sharon K. Wormwood
I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this novel. Hard to believe that this is the author's very first novel. I look forward to reading more of her work.Published 1 month ago by ShirleeC