The Silver Chain is an excellent example of the dangers of writing to the market. Following on the heels of Fifty Shades of Grey, The Silver Chain is about a young, mostly sexually inexperienced girl who starts a predominantly sexual relationship with an older, wealthy man. A man with a dark relationship history who’s into some pretty kinky stuff. Serena is a small town photographer who wants to make it on her own in London. Wealthy patron Gustav Levi wants to exhibit her work, splitting the profits 50/50 as long as she essentially agrees to be his sex slave. While they’re together, he links them together with a thin silver chain, apparently unnoticeable by passerby, the symbolism of which is a bit heavy-handed and the actual chain becomes a bit absurd towards the end when he uses it to chain her in the house and it somehow never manages to snag on anything while she goes on her explorations.
The Silver Chain had the potential to be good. Primula Bond uses evocative language that can really engage a reader in the narrative. The problem is, in an effort to jump on the bandwagon fast enough, the book was poorly edited as it was shoved out the publishing house doors. Inconsistencies abound, both in logic and in plot. At one point, his hair will be slicked back, the next paragraph it will be falling forward. At times it feels like the characters are having two different conversations. No wonder they have so many problems with their relationship. He tells her she will kneel, she cracks a joke about scrubbing his floors on her hands and knees. They have a phone conversation the reader is privy to. When she arrives, he reminds her he told her about a proposition for her on the phone. He never said anything about a proposition during the actual phone conversation.
Also, in the attempt to copy Christian Grey, the effort to make him cold and aloof makes him downright unlikeable. His entire staff seems to only be so loyal because they are legitimately afraid he will kill them if they aren’t. While galloping through the woods (a bad idea for any rider, no matter how well you think you know the trails because they can change a lot in five years), she falls off the horse and for a while he just leaves her there, claiming he thought she was right behind him the entire time. Then after they finally have sex in a manner described with such violent language that it feels like rape, he chains her inside the house for the day. This is not the behavior of a man who has been emotionally damaged by his ex-wife; this is the behavior of someone who should be carefully monitored by the police.
Like I said, all hope is not lost. Bond has other erotic novels that are rated much higher, and her grasp of language is excellent. I hope she continues to write her own works instead of hopping on a trend on the verge of dying out.