Edith Templeton was an accomplished writer, popular for her shorter fiction published in the New Yorker during the 1950s.
Gordon is a 'fictionalised' account of her first marriage to a psychiatrist who dominated her both psychologically and physically, and is revealing in its honesty about her inclination masochistically to submit to his desire. Not published until 1966, by the notorious publishing house, Olympia Press, the story is set in the post-Second World War London, and shares some of the sexual territory of 'The Story of O' which was published in 1954 by the similarly accomplished female writer, Anne Desclos, writing pseudonymously as Pauline Reage/Dominique Aury, and also published by Olympia.
If Fifty Shades of Grey has shown that Sado-masochism and Dominant-submissive dynamics are more common amongst the avowedly straight population than taboo has permitted us to discuss, then it is a pity that readers of that trilogy have not yet discovered Gordon. Where 50SoG fails to deliver any deeper insights into real 'BDSM' dynamics, and is appallingly badly written, Gordon (and The Story of O) both provide readers with challenges to their assumptions about the dynamics of human sexual relationships. Gordon is not written to titillate, but to document. This has not resulted in an 'unreadable' tale of horror (sadly, for some, The Story of O is too extreme, violent, graphic and explicit) and readers will find themselves engaged with an empathy towards a woman who willingly, despite her own force of personality, becomes enthralled by a powerful man.
This is not 'soft-porn', nor is it a romance. It should be compulsory (and compulsive) reading for anyone who has been exposed to Fifty Shades of Grey and sequels.