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Simon the Coldheart by Georgette Heyer
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Simon the Coldheart (original 1925; edition 1981)

by Georgette Heyer

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4651433,664 (3.31)30
Member:jjmcgaffey
Title:Simon the Coldheart
Authors:Georgette Heyer
Info:Fawcett (1981), Mass Market Paperback
Collections:Your library, Read, ebooks, Discard, Working on
Rating:***1/2
Tags:__scan_cover, _import160830, !dunno, !Po, Fic, Romance, Romance:Historical, _Read2017

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Simon the Coldheart by Georgette Heyer (1925)

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Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
My rule is, I rate books within their genre. Is this a 5-star book among all the books I've ever read in my life? Absolutely not. Is it a 5-star book among sappy romantic historical fiction? Without a doubt. This novel is unique because you spend quite a lot of time with our hero, waging war and buckling swashes and racking up titles from King Henry II and hangin' with the bros, before you even meet our heroine--who is your typical Heyer heroine, with tons of spirit and smart-assery.

Simon Beauvallet (a.k.a. the Coldheart) is quite a lot like Ross Poldark but with fewer issues with authority, an absolutely fearless yet humble guy and great leader of men, who will leap into a crazy and potentially lethal situation with both feet and figure it out when he gets there. It's not a spoiler to say that Simon turns out not to have a cold heart after all (surprise!) ( )
  jillrhudy | May 11, 2019 |
I had the feeling that I have read this before, but, if so, it must have been a very long time ago. This is not set in the usual Heyer Regency, this is set in the time of the start of the wars of the Roses, in early 1400s. Starting with Simon, an unacknowledged bastard son of Lord Malvallet, turning up at the castle of Malvallet's foe, Fulk of Montlice. He gets himself taken on as a page, and then worms his way into Fulk's affections. Simon is quickly the ideal knight, strong, stern, brave, commanding and, apparently, completely without heart. But the lie is given to that by his affection for children, and the number of his pages that he seems to employ. Simon is presented in contrast with his half brother, Geoffrey, and Fulk's son, Alan. The three, between them, are the different faces of manhood, soldier, courtier and poet. They form a quite attractive contrast and are well penned.
There's a lot goes on in here, lots of battles, sieges, attacks, plots and strategies (successful and not). It is all quite breathless, there's barely a chance to take stock and find your balance. The romance is a long time coming and is contrasted with the romance between Simon's half brother and Margaret's maid, the courtier and the soldier going about this is quite different ways.
This is a book Heyer wanted to suppress as being not up to her later standards. It's not as elegant as later books, the romance isn't as subtle or engaging as in later books. It's far too bent on Margaret giving into Simon's will than it is a meeting of minds. Later books manage this a lot better.
Having said all that, I enjoyed it. A less good Heyer is still better than a lot of what's out there. Not one I'd suggest to start with, but it's not that it should be avoided. ( )
  Helenliz | May 9, 2018 |
Well-characterised theme, almost 4-stars; surprisingly compelling story set in the 1400's (I was expecting to find the story laborious). Wooing and winning of Lady Margaret typical of its time but could be unsettling in today's context. This novel is a 'pre-quel' to a later story, "Beauvallet", set in the 16th Century. ( )
  SandyAMcPherson | Jul 8, 2017 |
Having read all but this and one other of Ms Heyer’s historical works set before the late 1700s, my hopes were not high for “Simon the Coldheart”. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised to find it a compelling read from start to finish.

I’ve few negative remarks to make, therefore I’ll get them out of the way first. As with most Heyer novels, certain scenes are repeated. In short, the reader witnesses events as they happen, only for these same events to be reworked later on via a dialogue exchange where one or more characters explains to another character(s) what’s happened.

I realise this is the author’s way of showing how the other main players in the story respond, yet this type of repetition would serve better with a short sentence, like, “He explained all that occurred when …” and follow this by showing the reaction from whomever is being informed.

The other negative point is one of my pet hates in fiction: the overuse of the word “then”. This lame tool of moving on to what happens next appears more times than I care to remember in this otherwise great work.

Apart from the above criticisms, I found this a great piece of entertainment. The opening drew me in immediately, the ending proved satisfactory and definitive, while everything in between was engaging for one reason or another.

Simon is no effeminate dandy, nor is he the lethargic snuff-taking know-it-all, but rather a fearless warrior with brains to match his brawn. He’s hard but fair, ruthless not reckless, cold but not cruel. Some may argue he’s too good to be true, and although at times he borders on the supernatural, I think the author has created one of her best male characters here.

She’s also created a great female character in the Lady Margaret, who in certain respects is similar in nature to Simon. She possesses brains and beauty, bravery, and consideration for others. She doesn’t appear till halfway through the book, at which point she becomes as vital to the story as Simon. Some of my favourite chapters feature Margaret in the limelight.

Fulk of Montlice is another great character. His scenes with Margaret are highly amusing.

As the book is divided into two halves, the first part being set in England during the 1390s and early 1400s, with the second part set in France in 1417, the reader meets the first two Lancastrian kings of England, Henry IV and his son Henry V. Neither monarch features as a principal character, but when they do appear the author does a great job of bringing them to life.

On the whole, the cast, including the incidental characters, are all brilliantly portrayed.

As for the plot, this essentially is based on what Simon wants from life, which to begin with is to serve Fulk of Montlice. Simon expects to go on to have his own lands but is determined to *earn* them and anything else of value. He’s not one for accepting charity or favours.

The second part of the book features Simon serving in a prominently role in Henry V’s army. But the plot branches out more from here, as there’s storylines for the secondary characters, including love matches, but mainly we see Margret’s determination to thwart Simon who, in serving his king, must conquer the lady’s land.

As mentioned, some chapters featuring Margret’s adventures are my favourite in the novel. Some had potential to be even better and it’s unfortunate that the author didn’t expand these instead of retelling certain scenes on several occasions. But what we have is still superb with never a dull moment.

A regal read. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Mar 13, 2016 |
Simon is the bastard son of a local lord. When he is 14, he walks miles to get to his father's rival, Fulk of Montlice, and offers him his service. Within a few short years, he is knighted by the king and then, after foiling a plot, given lands of his own. Through grim determination, he becomes one of the foremost men in fifteenth century England. But then he goes to war in France, and he meets his match--the beautiful and fearless Lady Margaret of Belremy. When two stubborn minds meet, who will gain supremacy? (Simon, of course--Margaret's just a lady! It's only a matter of time before she's weeping and fainting and stuttering with her overpowering lurrrrve.)

Simon is the manliest man who ever manned. Every single character thinks he is the awesomest dude who ever drew breath, and says so every time they're present. At first the ridiculousness of it annoyed me, but by the end I was able to put aside my expectations of how actual humans behave and just got into the story. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Georgette Heyerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Elliot, BenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaiser, ErikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lambert, WalterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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He came walking from Bedford into Cambridge one May morning when the sun was still young and the dew scarce gone from the grass.
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Book description
In the early 15th century, during the middle of the Hundred Years' War, England and France were fighting for sovereignty over France. It was a time of hand-to-hand combat, the invention of the longbow, and real knights in armor.

Simon was born in 1386, the illegitimate son of Geoffrey of Malvallet. After his mother's death in 1400, he and his half-brother, the legitimate son and heir of his father, became great friends of the Prince, fighting against France. Simon of Beauvallet is what he called himself. But as the tales of his chivalrous exploits spread throughout the realm -- even to the king's chambers -- the people who loved him would call him Simon the Lynx-Eyed... the Soft-Footed... even Simon the Lion. Indeed, Simon was all of these things. Valiant and strong, with a keen mind and fair visage, he had defied his ignoble birth to become a page, then a squire, and at last a lord of the land.

Friend of kings and princes, gentle and just with his people, and known for his silence Simon seemed to lack only one emotion -- the ability to love. In truth, not even the most lovely and charming ladies of his time could stir the sleeping passion within him. For this they called him Simon the Coldheart. Until he came upon Margaret, a French Lady. The Amazon. The Tigress. After the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, he was sent to besiege Belremy, where he met the heartless beauty whose courage and strength of will were more than a match for this knight in gilded armor. Margaret, who eventually surrendered to the English and became his bride. Although he had captured her kingdom, Simon would never capture her heart....
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0099490943, Paperback)

Simon Beauvallet has always known his own mind, and friend and foe alike know never to cross the flaxen-haired mountain of a man whose exploits in battle have earned him knighthood, lands and gilded armour. After Agincourt, he has no equal save the king in generalship – until his legendary prowess is balked by a woman. In Normandy, the icy rage of Simon the Coldheart must melt – or quench Lady Margaret, spitfire of Belrémy.


From the Paperback edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:41 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Even as a boy, Simon Beauvallet knew his own mind. Later, friend and foe alike would know better than to cross the flaxen-haired mountain of a man whose exploits in battle earned him a knighthood, lands and gilded armour.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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