Monday, January 20, 2014

The Silver Chain by Primula Bond

The Basics:
The Silver Chain by Primula Bond
Mischief Books
Book One of the Unbreakable Trilogy
Erotica, Romance
Published July 4, 2013

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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?

The Silver Chain is the first in the sexy, passionate and addictive Unbreakable Trilogy by Primula Bond. Perfect for fans of erotic romance.

Why I picked up this book:

I was intrigued by the silver chain. Such a simple thing...

My thoughts:

Surprisingly good.

Our heroine, Serena, is a photographer at the very beginning of her career. She's leaving behind a dark, dark childhood of neglect and casual abuse, to embrace the London experience. 

A chance encounter with the darkly dashing and older Gustav appeals to Serena's desire to embrace new experiences. So what if he's older, wealthy, more mature and experienced...? It also turns out that he's a patron of art and he takes her under his wing, contracting her first show with an unusual, sexual stipulation. 

Serena's an exceptionally well-written heroine - she's young and recognizes the limits of her experience, but as Gustav gets to know her, he peels back layers to reveal she's not quite as sheltered as the reader might expect. Her adventures in Venice, in particular, have helped shape (or reveal?) her own sexual longings and Gustav pushes her to explore these despite (or because of?) his own history. I loved that there was more to Serena than her innocence. She waffles back and forth between feeling powerful and confident to feeling unsure and defensive in a way that felt very authentic. Sure, she overreacts at times, and jumps to conclusions, but I think she does it in a way that's genuine rather than forced to create conflict. She's also direct, which is nice. There's not a lot of pussyfooting around, of bitten tongues and so forth - she knows exactly what she's done by agreeing to the contract, and she calls Gustav on whatever crap she thinks he might be slinging.

As for our hero, well.... I couldn't get a clear picture of Gustav in my mind. For one, the name Gustav felt too old-fashioned to me, like it belonged to a much older man - in his late fifties or sixties even.  I couldn't reconcile it with a man nearing forty, and that made it a bit more difficult for me to connect to him and his place in the story. Because he's also cast as Serena's mentor (master, patron, whichever role he seems to fill at the time), the sense of age and maturity is already heightened through the contrast. His vulnerability did appeal to me, but I still couldn't quite embrace the guy.

The sex is sexy, as it should be. There's quite a bit of kink - Gustav's need for control, the silver chain, punishment via spanking and whips, and then the running theme of voyeurism/exhibitionism. The photography, the use of a telescope, windows and doors, there's lots of opportunities to watch and be watched in this book, and it's heady stuff for a heroine who has never truly been seen. I also liked that while Gustav wants to set the pace and control the scenarios, he can be thrown off course through Serena's often small but significant efforts to resist. The first time they're together in his home, I was glad to see that he wasn't a master of self-control, as it were. It made him seem much more relatable.

The settings are gorgeously wild - each one is more *something* than the last. From richly appointed homes to the sublime cliffs and mountain sides that Serena and Gustav seem to favour, there's majesty all around these two. Artistic inspiration is easy to come by, and I think the fairy tale quality of their romance - certainly Rapunzel's name is thrown around a lot - was emphasized by these lush environments. 

I also really like how complete this story felt. Yes, there's an opening at the end to lead into a sequel, and the book is up front about being the start of a trilogy. I don't know that I really need to read more of Serena and Gustav's story. I think because I had that disconnect with Gustav, I probably wouldn't look for a sequel unless a good opportunity to pick it up arises. 

Bottom Line:

I definitely recommend this one. Despite my issues with the hero, I still really enjoyed it. I think Serena is a very appealing heroine - someone who is figuring herself out, but already has a sense of self. She's not just yearning for more, she's going out and working for it, living the life she wants to lead and not feeling guilty for it. I appreciated the novelty of it - there's no guilt here, just pleasure. That's a heady thing.

4.5 stars
For fans of erotica, punishment, voyeurism, older men, fresh starts

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