Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart

Linda Martin had a lovely childhood in France with her English father and French mother.  When she was 13, they were killed in an accident and she was sent to a London orphanage.  Ten years later she’s now a teacher but she’s still in London; what she wants more than anything is to return to France.

Opportunity knocks when an acquaintance introduces her to Madame de Valmy.  Madame de Valmy is specifically looking for an English governess to look after her nephew, 9 year-old Philippe, the young, recently orphaned, Comte de Valmy.  During the interview, Linda receives the distinct impression that her French background would dissuade Madame from hiring her so she withholds that information and pretends to have only a passing knowledge of the language.

Things begin well enough but maintaining the deception is a challenge:  she has a bit of fun “stumbling” over her French, but it requires a lot of effort to pretend she doesn’t understand what’s being said around her.  For the most part she does well but Leon de Valmy, Philippe’s uncle and trustee, seems to see through her charade.

Philippe himself is a sweet little boy, a bit grave and withdrawn, but quite likable—he and Linda get along well together.  And the Chateau Valmy itself,  set upon a wooded plateau in the Haute-Savoie, is a lovely place.  Despite her fears that her employers will discover her deception and dismiss her, Linda is happy.  When an accidental shot  nearly takes Philippe’s life, she’s angry that someone could be so careless—but her anger turns to fear when more incidents follow.  She realizes that Philippe’s life is in danger but whom can she trust?

I loved this book!!!  Excellent characterization and description, exciting romance, and page-turning suspense.  I love that Linda is a strong, intelligent character who owns her decisions; I love the relationship between Linda and Philippe (actually, I wanted to adopt him myself!).  What I loved best however is the fact that Stewart kept me guessing until the very end—and when all was made clear, it made perfect sense.  My only complaint is that I get the chills when I hear/think of a certain sound and I don’t expect those chills to go away anytime soon!

Highly recommended!!!


2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Peggy said,

    OMG-You’re reading the books I read in my teens! 🙂 Maybe I should reread them. My favorite Stewart book is “The Moonspinners” It’s set in Greece.

  2. 2

    lightheartedlibrarian said,

    I’ll have to check that out–thanks Peggy!

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