The Chrysalis weaves the history of a seventeenth-century painting through three separate but connected storylines. The first is that of Johannes Miereveld, the artist who created the painting; the second tells the story of Hilda Baum’s family in Belgium at the height of Nazi invasion and how it connects to the portrait, and the third is that of present day and a case that finds an auction house defending its rights to the painting.
Mara Coyne, fighting her way to partner in a cutthroat law firm, lands a legendary case with the prestigious Beazley’s auction house. When Mara meets with Beazley’s in-house attorney, Michael Roarke, complications begin to arise. Michael, an acquaintance from law school to whom she had once been attracted, begins to challenge Mara’s will to keep the relationship professional, and before she knows it she’s in over her head.
Struggling to keep up with the legalities of the case, the complications of keeping her relationship with Michael a secret, and surviving a broken relationship with her friend and coworker, Mara also begins to discover inconsistencies with the case. As she finds herself caught up in the pursuit of truth, she begins to question her own values and the values of those around her. It is not long before stories begin to unravel; Mara soon becomes uncertain who can be trusted as she begins to feel as though she is a pawn in some game she is unaware of.
The Chrysalis takes a modern-day legal case involving a seventeenth-century painting and brings to life a rich history of betrayal and loss. If anyone has ever doubted the connection of history to modern day, they need only be reminded through the interconnectedness of the stories within this novel. Heather Terrell has taken a legal thriller and turned it into a masterpiece of art, history, and the amazing deception born in the face of love and money. A fabulous debut from a talented new author.