Monday, December 15, 2008

"He came walking from Bedford into Cambridge one May morning when the sun was still young and the dew scarce gone from the grass."

Rarely do I feel drawn to a character as quickly as I did in my second outing with Georgette Heyer, Simon the Coldheart. Set in the early 15th century, we meet Simon, a young boy of fourteen, setting out to find his way in the world. He is a bastard son of the Lord of Malvallet and he chooses to join the household of the lord's rival, Lord Fulk of Montlice. He doesn't do this out of malice but because he wants to have no advantages given to him based on anything but his own merit. Simon quickly endears himself to Fulk and his son Alan while holding his own emotions close. He uses his honesty and his strength to gain the allegiances and respect of all of the men he works with. Eventually, Simon proves himself indispensable to Fulk, his own half-brother Geoffrey, the young Prince Henry and his father, King Henry IV. Eventually, he heads to France to fight for England and to finally find love with the feisty Margaret.

It is very satisfying to follow Simon from youth to adulthood as he makes his own fortune and future. This is a fast-paced book -- quite different from many historical fictions. Heyer doesn't show off all the historical research she did by writing elaborate descriptions. There aren't any long battle scenes to bog down the narrative as there are in some other historical tomes. Heyer really focuses on her plots and it makes for a satisfying read. If you need a good initiation into historical fiction, I strongly recommend this one.

Enjoying history with a heart,

Buy Simon the Coldheart on Amazon or find it at your local library.

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