Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart

nine coaches

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!

16 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I have so many still ahead of me to discover – and this week has added to the list, as I knew it would 🙂 But of the ones I’ve read so far, Nine Coaches Waiting is my favorite too.

  2. I’m so glad you loved this one, as it’s my favourite Mary Stewart novel too. It was the first one I read and although I’ve enjoyed a lot of her others, I still haven’t found another one that I love quite as much.

  3. Nine Coaches Waiting is probably my least frequently read Mary Stewart. Perhaps twice at the most. It strikes me, in my memory, as the one clinging to the absolute gothic romance formula… spunky governess, endangered child, brooding embittered hero, forboding old castle, etc etc. All her others have heroines on the move, in a variety of settings.

    But I will make a point of picking this one up again once I get home from vacation. After all, Mary Stewart’s least work (and this isn’t it) is way way above many writers’ best works.

    1. It is quite gothic and that is part of why I loved it 🙂 It doesn’t have as much of a glamorous setting as some of the others, but I loved the dark Chateau Valmy and I am a sucker for brooding heroes. What is your favorite Stewart?

  4. This one was a bit over-the-top Gothicky for me, but I agree that she is a very developed heroine, rather like the one in Thornyhold where we discover exactly how unhappy was her childhood. (I’ve finished Thornyhold now, and what a wonderful book it proved to be – and no marriageable cousins around at all!)

    1. Thornyhold is wonderful! It is the first Stewart I read and I fell in love with her writing and style while reading it. Nine Coaches Waiting is very different, isn’t it?

Thank you for reading and commenting.

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