Nine Coaches Waiting is perhaps Mary Stewart's most popular novel and I resisted myself for a while reading it sooner. I had this notion of savoring her romantic suspense books to last me for a good long while as my reading list is getting shorter (only three books left and then no more!)
Here we travel to the impressive Chateau Valmy up in the French Alps, surrounded by old elegance and cold mist. Linda Martin, a young Englishwoman settles in to become the governess of a nine-year-old Count.
Sounds dreamy, like idyllic high mountain countryside dreamy and quite appealing however soon Linda's impressions of the place and the people living in the Chateau takes a bit of a turn as a creeping danger slowly sweeps in.
One of the most thrilling perhaps, right there with Madam, Will You Talk?, the book is filled with a moodiness coating the lengthy enchanting prose of Stewart like a film noir. I like how Mary Stewart plays up the landscape and weather into the tone of the story and gives it an atmospheric feeling. It all adds up to the spooky allure complimented with literary passages and references (her books are quite filled with that so if you don't know your literature, you won't know where she's coming from) peppered on every chapter hinting of the heart-racing journey into the doom's lair through a series of 'coaches'.
As always, we get to have a courageous young woman jumping right into the foray and falling in love (Mary Stewart's instant love tendencies) to a brooding and dangerous alpha hero who may or may not be trusted. But it's not all gloomy for here and there, humor lurks and there's even a little Cinderella thing going on, complete with the shoe fiasco. There's a bit with other favorite English classics, too. Think Bronte and Du Maurier.
It has a dated style but one you could read over and over curled up on rainy days or in front of the fire. There's a delicious thrill to it that draws you in. Nine Coaches Waiting is masterly told, will engage you thoroughly and certainly be swept into the foreboding tale.
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.
Title: Nine Coaches Waiting
Author: Mary Stewart
Genre: Romantic Suspense, British Literature
Published: February 1st 2011 (first published 1958)
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Rating: ♨♨♨♨♨ ( 5 cups - Succumb to a little eeriness, a little suspense, romance and the beautiful French Alps vistas.)