Bound by passion, she was powerless to resist.
One dark evening in London, photographer Serena Folkes is indulging her impulsive side with a night-time shoot. But someone is watching her – mysterious entrepreneur Gustav Levi. Serena doesn’t know it yet, but this handsome stranger will change her life forever…
Serena is fascinated by Gustav, the enigmatic owner of the Levi Gallery, and she soon feels an irresistible pull of attraction. The interest is mutual, and Gustav promises to launch Serena’s photographic career at his gallery, but only if Serena agrees to become his exclusive companion.
To mark their agreement, Gustav gives Serena a bracelet to wear at all times. Attached to it is a silver chain of which he is the keeper. With the chain Gustav controls Serena physically and symbolically – a sign that she is under his power.
As their passionate relationship intensifies, Gustav’s hold on the silver chain grows stronger. But will Gustav’s dark past tear them apart? (Goodreads)
Reading the synopsis of this book, I was intrigued as it seemed pretty similar to other books I had read where the super-rich businessman falls for the charms for the naive, sexually inexperienced female lead of the book. While The Silver Chain does seem to hit a number of these familiar beats, but Bond manages to give her own stamp on it.
A big part of this is her writing style. Bond is very descriptive in the way she sets the numerous scenes throughout the book, from the centre of London to where Serena grew up in Devon. Most of this time, this is great for scene setting, but at times I found that these descriptions of the places ended up slowing down the pace of the book. It kind of took me out of the moment, which spoiled my enjoyment slightly.
However, this became a huge benefit during the more erotic sex scenes as I found myself being completely sucked in. They become almost poetic, without using crass or crude language. This isn’t limited to Gustav and Serena becoming intimate and one of the best scenes had all the main characters fully clothed.
For a masterclass in writing, I would suggest any aspiring writers read the scene that takes place during Serena’s exhibition of her Photo’s. The way that she talks about her time in Venice was a joy to read and I felt as if I was with Serena when she was locked in the Convent. It could have slipped into a scene that was there for titillation or shock value, but it ended up being a good insight into Serena’s psyche.
My only other criticism of the book was how it seemed to jump about a bit, with one minute we are in the present and the next we are back in Serena’s past. This could be a few days, or a few years back. I had to re-read some parts to get it clear where or when it was taking place.
The whole tone of this book has a slightly gothic undertone in the vein of books such as Wethering Heights, Jane Eyre and Rebecca. Each of these books had a heroine with a tragic upbringing, who falls for the brooding Alpha male with a few skeletons hidden in an attic.
Serena, our Gothic Heroine in this tale is a contradiction. While she relatively inexperienced, sexually, she isn’t afraid to find out what turns her on. It was nice to have a female character like this and she was rather refreshing. She is trying to not let how she was brought up by her abusive adoptive parents.
As we get to know more about her past, the more I seemed to think I understood her, especially with her penchant for being “punished”. In my mind, she relates punishment with some sort of intimacy that was lacking from her parents. It seemed that the only time that they touched her was when they were punishing her. This is bound to have an effect on her psychologically. It ties in with her fascination with the nun’s taking penance and gives an interesting take in to why people may be drawn to certain kinks.
There seems to be a deep insecurity within Serena, again due to how she was brought up. Serena was constantly told how ugly she was, which meant that she is constantly questioning why Gustav is interested in her. It also meant that she is comparing herself to the spectre of Gustav’s ex-wife, Margot, or the other women Gustav may have seen before her.
As for Gustav, even by the time I finished book I found him still rather puzzling. He is very much a puzzle, wrapped up in an enigma and although we do get a bit more about the circumstances around the disintegration of his marriage, there is still much more to him we don’t know.
What really unnerved me about Gustav was some of his more controlling and rather sneaky actions. He seems to stalk Serena, finding out all about her past and putting his number into her phone while she is at the loo. I get that he is supposed to be the dominant male, but it borders on the creepy. It also came across as too much of a coincidence that he should be interested in Art, along with the fact he just happened to be in the same square that Serena was taking photos.
Apart from Serena and Gustav, I was also drawn Crystal, Gustav’s second in command. She seems to have a really interesting back story that I hope gets explored in her own book. The way in which she has come into Gustav’s life itself is plenty of inspiration. All we know is that she met Gustav through Margot as she was hired to be a submissive to Margot for one of her “films”. We also know that she is fiercely loyal to Gustav and makes it clear to Serena from the get go. I do hope we get to see more of her in future books.
The last few chapters of the book seemed to take a predicable route and I was all set for the setup of the next book being Gustav and Serena embarking on a life together in New York. Yet, the last few paragraphs of the book seemed to really throw a spanner in the works. How this revelation is going to affect where their relationship, I don’t know, but I am dying to see where this goes.
This book wasn’t perfect for me and at times I did struggle with some of the pacing and the convenience of events that seemed to just be there to help progress the story.
That being said, this series shows a lot of promise and Bond really does have a gift for scene setting and creating very complex characters. There is enough in this book to make me want to see this story to its conclusion. Yes, it will be compared to books like Fifty Shades of Grey. However, I enjoyed The Silver Chain much more, due to the characterisation and writing style of the author.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
1 The Silver Chain
2 The Golden Locket
3 The Diamond Ring