After my slight disappointment with Wildfire at Midnight I chose my next Stewart carefully. I wanted something that I would love as much as I love The Moonspinners or Thornyhold so I read the beginning of several novels to see what would click. As soon as I started reading Nine Coaches Waiting I knew it was the one.
Linda Martin is a young woman who’s been engaged as a governess to the nine-year-old Comte de Valmy, Philippe. She travels to his home, the Chateau Valmy, in the mountains of eastern France not far from Geneva and commences to oversee his education and day-to-day care. Philippe is an orphan and is under the guardianship of his Uncle Leon and Aunt Heloise who are not very affectionate people, but seem to care about his general well-being. The chateau is very isolated so Linda spends most of her time with Philippe with occasional trips into the nearest town where she soon meets a friendly Englishman, William Blake. After several frightening accidents nearly take Philippe’s life, Linda’s sense of security is shattered and she suspects that something is not quite right at the Chateau Valmy. She puts these feelings aside, however, with the arrival of Leon’s gorgeous son Raoul. Will Linda let the distraction of a dark, mysterious man blind her to the truth about Philippe’s accidents?
Nine Coaches Waiting is my new favorite Mary Stewart. It has a stunning setting, a self-contained and courageous heroine (Leon compares her to Jane Eyre), the best love interests, a layered plot and wonderful supporting characters. I think it also has more character development than in any of the other Stewart’s I’ve read. We really get to know them and what makes them tick. As always, it is also very stylish and has fantastic fifties dialogue.
I highly, highly recommend this novel. It embodies everything I love about Stewart’s writing and ensures her status as my favorite comfort read author for years to come.
Mary Stewart posts so far:
Airs Above the Ground – A Work in Progress
The Gabriel Hounds – bibliolathas
The Little Broomstick – Pining for the West
The Moonspinners – Miss Bibliophile
My Brother Michael – Fleur In Her World
Nine Coaches Waiting – Quixotic Magpie
Stormy Petrel – She Reads Novels
Stormy Petrel – The Worm Hole
This Rough Magic – Quixotic Magpie
Wildfire at Midnight – TBR 313
Wildfire at Midnight – The Bookworm Chronicles
Two days to go!