Customer Reviews: Simon the Coldheart: A tale of chivalry and adventure (Historical Romances)
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on February 27, 1999
(My other favorite is Charlotte's Web, by E.B.White, which is of course totally different from Simon the Coldheart!) Most of Georgette Heyer's books are set in Regency England, and she herself did not consider "Simon" to be one of her best efforts, asking that it not be re-printed. I am glad her kids got together and decided to re-print "Simon" because it is a totally unique blend of medieval life, adventure, romance, and character studies. Simon himself is a larger-than-life hero who walks straight through the front door and into the reader's memory for a lifetime! As my 10-year-old daughter observed when she read it, "Mom, I love this book! That Simon's a man and a half!"
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"I do not have, yet still I hold"

Though Heyer did not want this book to be republished, for personal reasons I will never understand, it should not be missed by any Heyer fan. It easily surpasses everything she wrote previously (though I did love "The Black Moth") and in my opinion (though I'm sure Heyer wouldn't have liked to hear this), even surpasses some of her later books.

The medieval period truly comes alive in this story, in a way that feels much more real (and far more accurate) than any grand Hollywood production about this time period. The characters nearly jump from the page, so real and lifelike they are. Simon the Coldheart himself is an unforgettable character who easily dominates every scene he is in, even though he speaks little and is as reserved and cold for a good deal of his early life. Yet even so you can see that behind that seemingly unfeeling facade there lies a very kind, passionate man, and can barely wait to see whether he will ever fall in love... it seems impossible, until at last he meets his match in the proud, rebellious Countess Margaret.

A great book, full of adventure, wit, battles and romance, all the way to the deeply satisfying end. A real masterpiece, and I don't use this word lightly!
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on March 31, 2001
Simon the Coldheart is now rarely in print - sadly Dame Heyer's cardboard mysteries are more often available than this her one foray into medieval life & times when she delved into the Norman Conquest & produced a remarkable, enduring tale of the clash of two cultures.
No quarter was given in those times - not from men, not from women & they loved & fought in the only way they knew - with honor & duty &, that strangely new emotion, courtly love!
Fascinating & worth finding!
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on November 22, 2008
'Simon the Coldheart' is one of Georgette Heyer's earliest works and one that she wrote before she really hit her stride with books set in the Regency period. This story is set much earlier in the 15th Century and follows hero Simon Beauvallet, a nobody who works his way up from poverty to a knighthood and becoming a friend of the future King Henry V. Because of the date of the story the language feels rather more Shakespearean than Heyer's Regencies and the old-fashioned language might not appeal to all readers, although I personally liked it.

This isn't a mediaeval romance, it's rather more a mixture of different elements that make up an enjoyable, if perhaps less accomplished, story. We follow Simon as he works his way up in the world, as he fights battles and as he eventually finds himself up against a very worthy opponent, Lady Margaret of Belrémy.

There are some good scenes amongst some less effective ones and some aspects of the writing don't entirely ring true. Simon's a quiet and self-possessed man who some people think is cold of heart (thus his name) and yet he is clearly someone who knows his mind and has worthwhile things to say, when he says them. The story is interesting as it shows the clash of two cultures after the Battle of Agincourt and gives detail of life in Mediaeval times but it's so different from her later Regencies and shows at times that she was a young author trying to find her voice that it may not appeal to all readers.

Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2008
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on August 20, 2003
I havent read Heyer before and am not a fan of the regency period so was glad to get an opportunity to try this author on. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! This book is absolutely fabulous, its a hard read because of the old type English but its worth it. Really believable characters. I got this from the Library and will now have to buy myself a copy cos its a keeper. I cannot recommend this book highly enough
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on March 21, 2002
Georgette Heyer wrote so many wonderful books that I recommend you skip this one, unless you are trying to read the whole oeuvre or are a serious scholar of the progress of her writing style. It is set in medieval times (as is her unfinished and rarely read history, Lord John) and her gift for dialog and characterization seems to be lost beneath the weight of the armor. If I remember right, according to her biography, The Private World of Georgette Heyer, this book was an early effort which she did not wish to be published. Instead, go on to one of her other novels. For mysteries, I recommend Blunt Instrument or Who Killed the Butler; for romances, any of the historical ones. And if you are new to Miss Heyer's work, you have many blissful hours ahead of you.
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VINE VOICEon November 12, 2008
Simon of Beauvallet otherwise as known as Simon the Cold Heart for a good reason, quickly rises from barely being anyone to someone of great importance and close friend to King Henry. Simon may seem quiet and soft spoken but he didn't talk just to be the center of attention. When Simon spoke it was because he had something important to communicate and you better listen. Because of this fact, Simon earned the respect of everyone he managed under him, though it might seem harsh or even cold hearted at times and thus the name Simon the Cold Heart came into play. After the Battle of Agincourt, Simon is ordered to take control over the city of Belremy. There Simon meets the lovely Lady Margaret. Lady Margaret is not easily persuaded by Simon's advances towards her. So than a game begins to see if Simon can woe the Lady Margaret over with his...heart.

I found Simon the Cold Heart to be a very interesting man of both statue and chivalry. I am sad to admit that I have not read Georgette Heyer before though I enjoy reading historical novels. Ms. Heyer's love of history showed in her writing. She really did her research down to the very smallest of details. I can see why now so many readers love reading Georgette Heyer and her books. Her writing can become very addictive. One minute you are reading and the next thing you realize hours have pasted because you go so engrossed into the story.
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on July 1, 2001
This book is a fun read because you really get into the characters and find yourself anxious to see the outcome. What also made this book even more enjoyable was to follow reading it with reading "Beauvallet" which, set in the 16th century, revisits the family that Simon the Coldheart starts.
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on June 5, 2016
Simon Beauvallet, humbly born, possessed great physical vigor and stamina. This, combined with his quiet and yet almost audacious personality, helps him rise from servant to knight and eventually to lord. The story follows his slow but determined progress. Written in almost Shakespearean language, it's a fun read for those of us who love British history. A strong focus on Simon's military conquests eventually gives way to a stealing sense of romance. We get the feeling that Simon may be as surprised as we are with the arrival of love in his life -- Lady Margaret. The book is a really fun example of Georgette Heyer's early work, before she bloomed fully into the Regency era writing that became her trademark. Some aspects of the plot development are more transparent than her later work, which is certainly not surprising.
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on September 29, 2001
I am a devoted fan of Georgette Heyer, and have read a couple of her suppressed books--which number about six, all from her early publishing period, before she found her 'voice'. This was among the suppressed titles, but her husband decided to republish it after her death. I think her judgment on the matter was better, unfortunately.
Heyer started publishing at age nineteen, and 'Simon' is obviously juvenilia. Sometimes embarrassingly so--c.f. Simon's affection for small boys (!) and the fact that he falls in love with the putative heroine only after seeing her in male garb. (!!) And unfortunately, the middle ages is not her era. The dialogue is heavy and not particularly realistic--far from her witty efforts in the Regency books.
There is the occasional good scene that suggests Heyer's future triumphs--such as Simon's encounter with his father. But for the most part, this book should have stayed in the obscurity to which Heyer consigned it.
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