Nine Coaches Waiting

( 23 )

Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556526183
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/31/2006
  • Series: Rediscovered Classics Series
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 134,084
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 10.64 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Mart Stewart is one of the most widely read fiction writers of our time. The author of twenty novels, a volume of poetry, and three books for young readers, she is admired for both her contemporary stories of romantic suspense and her historical novels. Born in England, she has lived for many years in Scotland.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One



First and Second Coaches



O, think upon the pleasure of the palace!
Securèd ease and state! The stirring meats
Ready to move out of the dishes, that e'en now
Quickenwhen they are eaten....
Banquets abroad by torchlight! music! sports!
Nine coaches waiting — hurry, hurry —
Ay, to the devil....


Tourneur: The Revenger's Tragedy



I was thankful that nobody was there to meet me at the airport.

We reached Paris just as the light was fading. It had been a soft, gray March day, with the smell of spring in the air. The wet tarmac glistened underfoot; over the airfield the sky looked very high, rinsed by the afternoon's rain to a pale clear blue. Little trails of soft cloud drifted in the wet wind, and a late sunbeam touched them with a fleeting underglow. Away beyond the airport buildings the telegraph wires swooped gleaming above the road where passing vehicles showed lights already.

Some of the baggage was out on the tarmac. I could see my own shabby case wedged between a brand-new Revrobe and something huge and extravagant in cream-colored hide. Mine had been a good case once, good solid leather stamped deeply with Daddy's initials, now half hidden under the new label smeared by London's rain. Miss L. Martin, Paris. Symbolic, I thought, with an amusement that twisted a bit awry somewhere inside me. Miss L. Martin, Paris, trudging along between a stout man in impeccable city clothes and a beautifulAmerican girl with a blond mink coat slung carelessly over a suit that announced discreetly that she had been to Paris before, and recently. I myself must have just that drab, seen-better-days shabbiness that Daddy's old case had, perched up there among the sleek cabin-class luggage.

But I was here, home after ten years. Ten years. More than a third of my lifetime. So long a time that now, pausing in the crush beside the Customs barrier, I felt as strange as I suppose anybody must feel on their first visit abroad. I found I even had to make a conscious effort to adjust my ears to the flood of French chatter going on around me. I even found myself, as all about me people uttered little cries of recognition, excitement and pleasure; and were claimed by waiting friends and relations, scanning the crowd of alien faces for one that I knew. Which was absurd. Who would there be to meet me? Madame de Valmy herself I smiled at the thought. It was very good of Madame de Valmy to have provided me with the money for a taxi into Paris. She was hardly likely to do much for the hired help. And that was what I was. I had better start remembering it, as from now.

The douanier, chalk in hand, was pausing over my shabby case. As I stepped forward to claim it an airport official, hurrying past, bumped against me, sending my handbag flying to the floor.

"Mille pardons, mademoiselle. Excusez-moi."

"Ce n'est rien, monsieur."

"Je vous ai fait mal?"

"Pas du tout. Ce n'est rien."

"Permettez-moi, mademoiselle. Votre sac."

"Merci, monsieur. Non, je vous assure, il n'y a pas de mal..." And to my repeated assurances that nothing was lost and that I was not irretrievably damaged, he at length took himself off.

I stared after him for a moment, thoughtfully. The trivial little incident had shown me that, after all, that ten years' gap had not been so very long. Ear and brain had readjusted themselves now with a click that could be felt.

And I must not let it happen. It was another thing I must remember. I was English. English. Madame de Valmy had made it very clear that she wanted an English girl, and I hadn't seen any harm in letting her assume that my knowledge of France and things French was on a par with that of the average English girl who'd done French at school. She had made rather a lot of it, really...though probably, I thought, I'd been so anxious to get the job that I'd exaggerated the importance of the thing out of all measure. After all, it could hardly matter to Madame de Valmy whether I was English, French or even Hottentot, as long as I did the job properly and didn't lapse into French when I was supposed to be talking English to young Philippe. And I could hardly be said to have deceived her, because in fact I was English; Daddy had been English and Maman at least a quarter so ... and even to me those early years were faded and remote. The years when Maman and I lived out at Passy with Grand'mère, and the Boche was in Paris, and Daddy was away somewhere unspecified but highly dangerous and we never allowed ourselves to speak or even think in English...even for me those years had sunk well back into the past, so far back that now they seemed hardly to belong to me at all. Infinitely more real were the last ten years in England — seven of them spent at the Constance Butcher Home, an orphanage in North London, and the last three in a qualified independence — a travesty of freedom — as general help and dogsbody at a small prep school for boys in Kent. Those endless green linoleum corridors, the sausage on Mondays and Thursdays, the piles of dirty sheets to count, and the smell of chalk and carbolic soap in the classroom...these were a very much more present memory than the lovely old house at Passy or even the top flat in the Rue du Printemps, where we had gone after the war was over and Daddy came home....

The douanier said wearily, "Vous n'avez rien à délarer?"

I started and turned. I said firmly, in English, "Nothing to declare. No, none of those..."

Nine Coaches Waiting. Copyright © by Mary Stewart. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 23 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2005

    A Cinderella Story with a Twist

    Nine Coaches Waiting is an intriguing and peachy tale. I devoured the whole book in a day and then kept going back to my favorite parts. The heroine is a French girl who grew up in England, so she had this feeling of not really belonging to either country. Fed up with England she takes the position of a 'English' governess to a wealthy French family. As she falls in love with (who else?) the young son, her life begins to be as perfect as a cinderella story, until she discovers the family secret... Thrilling a must see!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2001

    Superb!

    Great writing. Mary Stewart knows how to keep readers hooked!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2001

    Captivatingly Romantic and Suspenseful, a True Masterpiece

    I absolutely loved it! This is the most intriguing book I have ever read. Excitement awaits you with every turn of the page. The title, Nine Coaches Waiting, enticed my imagination so much that I had to read it. Not to mention it happened to be a Mary Stewart. After the conclusion you will wish for more; as with all her books. Read this book, you won't regret it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2000

    Wow!

    I'm on page 187 right now. It has taken me a day to get there. I can't put this book down. I have stayed up till 3:00 am with a flashlight and the covers pulled over my head just so I could see what happened next. Its something of a Cinderella story with a bit of Jane Erye and Rebecca. Its wonderful and you MUST read this!!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 24, 2013

    Nine Coaches Waiting is Rebecca crossed with Jane Eyre as writte

    Nine Coaches Waiting is Rebecca crossed with Jane Eyre as written by Georgette Heyer, taking the best from each of them.

    I've heard of it many times over the years -- it was first published in 1958 -- but it was only when Gudrun's Tights, a blog I read regularly had a Mary Stewart Week that I decided to see what the fuss was all about. As usual I'm a bit late to actually do so on Mary Stewart Week, but better late or something.

    The book doesn't fit into any one category. It's a bit Gothic but nothing supernatural is going on. It's a sort of murder mystery but no one is actually murdered. And it's a thriller in that people are in danger and trying to elude other people who wish them harm. With a classic romantic story threaded through it.

    The heroine, Linda Martin, had an English father and a French mother and she lived in Paris until, when she was 14, her parents were killed in a car crash. Having no relatives, Linda ended up in an orphanage. When the story opens it is nearly 10 years later and she is hired by Mme de Valmy to be governess to her nephew, also an orphan, whose parents died in a plane crash. Young Phillipe, Comte de Valmy, has all too many relatives.

    Linda pretends not to know French because her employer suggests it would be better if she did not so that she wouldn't be tempted to lapse into that language instead of teaching Phillipe English. This seems a bit peculiar to Linda but as she badly wants this job she presents herself as wholly English with no knowledge of the French language.

    She loves her charge and they get along together very well. She also loves the chateau Valmy. It belongs to the child and is being taken care of by his uncle Leon. We are told early on that Leon expected to inherit from his now deceased brother. However, the brother married unexpectedly and had a son, Phillipe, and Leon is infuriated.

    Linda remembers years ago her father saying about Leon, who is now in a wheelchair after a polo accident, " . . . I can't help thinking it's a pity he didn't break his neck. He'd be no loss. . . . I detest him." When Linda meets the man she is nearly mesmerized by his sinister charm.

    But it's when Leon's son, Raoul, arrives that things begin to heat up.

    A wonderful book in the 1950s style, heavy on plot and characterization. Why did I wait so long to read it? And which Mary Stewart will I read next?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 9, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Mary Stewart is the BEST !!!

    I love anything this woman writes... Her books take me back to a different time, and I can escape to another world ~

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Romantic Mystery with Gorgeous Prose

    An author that can be found in general fiction--her Arthurian <i>Merlin Trilogy</i> is among my favorite books. This book published in 1958, a classic of "romantic suspense," is written in first person with a gorgeous, evocative prose style. Generally, the best I can say about a romance novel's prose style is that it isn't eye-bleeding--the prose in this novel invoked writer's envy. The characters are all very distinctive individuals: from the narrator, Linda Martin, who travels to France to take a position as a governess, to the man she falls for, Raoul de Valmy to the little boy she protects, Phillipe. The story is exquisitely paced, suspenseful and moving--I cried at the end. And I don't consider myself easy. I'm definitely going to be hunting up the other Stewart novels I haven't read. Sadly, like du Maurier, one of the few authors with which I can compare her, she wasn't prolific.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2004

    Amazingly Well Writtin

    Mary Stewart Has done In again! The Twist and Turns of the book kept me hook to such a point that is undescribable. A Book filled with characters that come to life through the ingenious pen of M.S. A must read for book lovers!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2002

    Awesome!

    Nine Coaches Waiting is an awesome book. I could not put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 9, 2014

    I just finished reading this; it must be one Mary Stewart novel

    I just finished reading this; it must be one Mary Stewart novel I missed when I first discovered her several decades ago, as I had no memory of this one at all.  Maybe that, in addition to the finely-tuned writing, that kept me glued to this book into the small hours.  i really couldn't "call" the ending on this one until the last two or three pages.  Laced with mood, with a likable protagonist who, despite her youth and inexperience is well able to hold her own against  the threats that loom, the book is blessed with Mary Stewart's gift for imagery and description.  It's hard to believe it was written 50 years ago, because it still boils with tension.

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  • Posted August 18, 2011

    Great, adventurous read!

    Just love this book and all others by Mary Stewart. Just wish they would convert them to Nook format...hint, hint!

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  • Posted May 25, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Nine Coaches Waiting.......Riveting!!

    I enjoyed this gothic novel by Mray Stewart. Suspenseful and an enthralling read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 25, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Loved the First Half

    This book came strongly recommended. I had very high expectations. I enjoyed the book until the end. For a romantic suspense novel written in the 50's, it was about what one would expect. I was very disappointed in the resolution at the end of the novel. The characters were interesting and the writing was superb. I will certainly read another novel written by Mary Stewart, but I hope it won't have such a predictable and weak ending. The book was very clean and I would be comfortable having my early teens read it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Enjoyable book

    Overall I think Nine Coaches Waiting was enjoyable to read. It wasn't a great read that I will recommend to friends, but it was an interesting story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2008

    a romance thriller that will turn a girls head

    nine coaches waiting is the best book ive read in a long time. I stayed up past midnight reading it. it has a little of everything in it. I highly recommend this book to anyone that loves a good thriller with some romance too!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2008

    Perfect read

    This book was amazing! It was like a clash of romance and adventure, which are pretty much my favorite kind of books.Though there quite a few French words in there though.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2000

    Great!

    I was up until at least 4 in the morning, because i couldn't put this book down!! I love Mary Stewart books, and this is my absolute favorite.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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