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Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart

Nine Coaches Waiting (original 1958; edition 2006)

by Mary Stewart, Sandra Brown (Foreword)

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1,108307,473 (4.07)1 / 125
Title:Nine Coaches Waiting
Authors:Mary Stewart
Other authors:Sandra Brown (Foreword)
Info:Chicago Review Press (2006), Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:1950s, Alps, British, France, gothic, governess, mystery, read, read in 2013, romantic suspense, suspense

Work details

Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart (1958)


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Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
Stewart rocks! Wow awesome suspense! Dysfunctional Family! Gorgeous Rich Guy! Castle in the Sky in Foreign land! What more can you ask for! All of her books are great- must reads but this one and My Brother Michael are my two favorites!! ( )
  EmpressReece | Aug 22, 2016 |
Linda Martin, an orphan, goes to work as governess to Philippe, a French boy who is heir to a huge estate. He too lost his parents at a young age and is looked after by his aunt and uncle, who seem to care for him - but do they? Unexplained accidents start to occur and Linda becomes fearful for his life.

The plot isn't particularly spectacular but it's so well-written that once I was half-way through I could hardly bear to put this book down. I had no way of knowing who Linda should really be trusting, and while I assumed it would end reasonably satisfactorily, I wasn't sure until the last chapter or two how that would work out.

Great characters, interesting setting in rural France in a period which I assume was the 1950s. This novel was first published in 1958 and has the feel of being contemporary rather than historical when written. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
I have a good friend from Mexico City who sounds exactly like Wilmer Valderrama's character, Fez, from That 70's Show. I just love his movie recommendations...and his accent! I laugh to myself when I remember his sparkling recommendation of Terminator 3 back in its heyday. "Eve, it's a classic film! It's got comedy, romance, and action!"

Though we definitely don't agree on what a certified "classic" is, his equation for good entertainment is right on par. Nine Coaches Waiting was a thrill to read, namely because it was a cocktail of comedy, romance, and action. Written by Mary Stewart in 1958, it had elements from many different works of fiction including Jane Eyre, Cinderella, and even Rebecca, yet it maintained it's own style and originality.

Linda Martin, a twenty-something teacher and orphan from England, accepts an exciting job as a governess at a chateau in the French Alps. Her ward, 9-year-old Philippe, has just lost his parents to a terrible accident, and is sullen and detached. His guardians, although genteel and generous, lead Linda to think that there is something more to the situation than meets the eye.

This isn't the most brilliantly written book out there, but I appreciated it for the same reasons I loved Rebecca. Stewart takes her time relaying events to you as a reader. Before you realize what's going on, you're completely involved with her characters. I haven't been to Thonon-les-Bains, but I feel like I've traveled there! I know every square inch of Chateau Valmy and it's grounds. It's...real! That's when you know that the author writes out of a need and love for her characters and the craft.

I have a 1966 ex-library book edition that I picked up at a library sale. Embossed on the inner cover page are the words: PROPERTY OF NORTH OLMSTED JR. HIGH LIBRARY. It's definitely been read and loved by many students, that's for sure. It smells old, and the mylar cover makes it crinkle when it's handled. Those are the best sounds and smells in the world! At any rate, get your hands on this book! I'm sure you'll enjoy it! ( )
1 vote dreamydress48 | Jul 23, 2014 |
It started a bit slowly and I didn't believe any of the Linda/Raoul romance but it did wind up to a deeply suspenseful mystery and overland chase but then took an age to wrap up. Mostly very successful but 30 odd pages of what was already patently obvious didn't help much. I also was thrown by having it take place in the 50s. I was expecting earlier and it took a while to readjust.
  amyem58 | Jul 15, 2014 |
My surprise read of the fall! Nine Coaches Waiting made its way to my reading list because it was picked by my sister in our book club. I have to say, I wasn't expecting much. (But, boy, was I wrong!)

Linda Martin returns to her native France in this mystery/suspense novel that was originally published as a serial in a magazine. Linda, who has spent the past several years in an orphanage in England after the death of her parents, has been secured to perform the role of governess to a young heir - Phillipe de Valmy. I was thrown a little, right off the bat, when Mary Stewart began peppering bits of conversation in French without benefit of translation. But I soon learned that nothing of consequence was ever disclosed in the foreign snippets of dialogue and could easily bypass those bits of text as the book continued.

The history of the Valmy family is rather sordid and tragic. Three brothers, Etienne, Leon, and Hippolyte, were the heirs to the Valmy estate. Etienne married and produced a son, Phillipe. However, Etienne and his wife were killed in an accident, leaving the young boy an orphan. Hippolyte was appointed caretaker of the child, but his work often took him away from France for months at a time. On one such occasion, Phillipe is left in the care of his uncle Leon and aunt Heloise. It is Leon and Heloise who hire Linda to care for the boy. Leon is bound to a wheelchair as the result of an automobile accident several years earlier. His first wife has died and he has a son, Raoul, from that marriage, but none from his union with Heloise. Shortly after arriving at the Valmy estate, accidents begin to happen. A shooting. A collapsing balcony. Linda is suspicious and cautious, guarding her charge fiercely. Even if it means coming to doubt the man who she has fallen in love with - Raoul de Valmy.

The story is well-paced and full of action and suspense, as well as romance. (Though I will say that the descriptions of field, forest, and mountain paths get somewhat wearing and led me to skim-read the pages from time to time.) This was my first exposure to Mary Stewart and it was a good one. A "cozy mystery" out of its time!
( )
  Jenna.Czaplewski | Jul 3, 2014 |
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Mary Stewartprimary authorall editionscalculated
Peltonen, AlliTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I was thankful that nobody was there to meet me at the airport.
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Book description
Linda Martin, an English woman is hired to be a governess for a young French boy. But a strange terror coiled in the shadows behind the brooding elegance of the huge Château Valmy. It lay there like some dark and twisted thing -- waiting, watching, ready to strike.

Was it only chance encounter than had brought the lovely governess to the château? Or was it something planned? She only knew something was wrong and that she was afraid. She is unaware of the danger she faces or who to trust in order to protect the young heir. Now she could not even trust the man she loved. For Raoul Valmy was one of them -- linked by blood and name to the dark secrets of the Valmy past.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0449215725, Mass Market Paperback)

A strange terror coiled in the shadows behind the brooding elegance of the huge chateau. It lay there like some dark and twisted thing -- waiting, watching, ready to strike. Was it only chance encounter than had brought Linda Martin to Chateau Valmy? Or was it something planned? The lovely young English governess did not know. She only knew something was wrong and that she was afraid. Now she could not even trust the man she loved. For Raoul Valmy was one of them -- linked by blood and name to the dark secrets of the Valmy past.
"A wonderful hue and cry story . . . a Mona Lisa tale that beckons you on while suspense builds up." --Boston Herald

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:30 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A governess in a French ch?ateau encounters an apparent plot against her young charge's life in this unforgettably haunting and beautifully written suspense novel. When lovely Linda Martin first arrives at Ch?ateau Valmy as an English governess to the nine-year-old Count Philippe de Valmy, the opulence and history surrounding her seems like a wondrous, ecstatic dream. But a palpable terror is crouching in the shadows. Philippe's uncle, Leon de Valmy, is the epitome of charm, yet dynamic and arrogant--his paralysis little hindrance as he moves noiselessly in his wheelchair from room to room. Only his son Raoul, a handsome, sardonic man who drives himself and his car with equally reckless abandon, seems able to stand up to him. To Linda, Raoul is an enigma--though irresistibly attracted to him, she senses some dark twist in his nature. When an accident deep in the woods nearly kills Linda's innocent charge, she begins to wonder if someone has deadly plans for the young count.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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