Nine Coaches Waiting

Overview


A governess in a French château encounters an apparent plot against her young charge's life in this unforgettably haunting and beautifully written suspense novel. When lovely Linda Martin first arrives at Château Valmy as an English governess to the nine-year-old Count Philippe de Valmy, the opulence and history surrounding her seems like a wondrous, ecstatic dream. But a palpable terror is crouching in the shadows. Philippe's uncle, Leon de Valmy, is the epitome of charm, yet dynamic and arrogant—his paralysis ...
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Overview


A governess in a French château encounters an apparent plot against her young charge's life in this unforgettably haunting and beautifully written suspense novel. When lovely Linda Martin first arrives at Château Valmy as an English governess to the nine-year-old Count Philippe de Valmy, the opulence and history surrounding her seems like a wondrous, ecstatic dream. But a palpable terror is crouching in the shadows. Philippe's uncle, Leon de Valmy, is the epitome of charm, yet dynamic and arrogant—his paralysis little hindrance as he moves noiselessly in his wheelchair from room to room. Only his son Raoul, a handsome, sardonic man who drives himself and his car with equally reckless abandon, seems able to stand up to him. To Linda, Raoul is an enigma—though irresistibly attracted to him, she senses some dark twist in his nature. When an accident deep in the woods nearly kills Linda's innocent charge, she begins to wonder if someone has deadly plans for the young count.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A delightful concoction. A beautifully written mingling of romance and mystery."  —Washington Post

"Readers will be glued to the complex story in which no one seems truly trustworthy."  —Vive Magazine
 

"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: 151,045
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 10.64 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Sandra Brown

Mary Stewart is a popular novelist worldwide who is best known for the books in the Merlin trilogy, which includes The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, and The Last Enchantment. Her other novels include The Moon-Spinners, My Brother Michael, This Rough Magic, Thunder on the Right, The Wicked Day, and Wildfire at Midnight. Sandra Brown is the author of many number-one bestsellers, including Chill Factor and White Hot.

Biography

In 1979, Sandra Brown lost her job at a television program and decided to give writing a try. She bought an armful of romance novels and writing books, set up a typewriter on a card table and wrote her first novel. Harlequin passed but Dell bit, and Brown was off and writing, publishing her works under an assortment of pseudonyms.

From such modest beginnings, Brown has evolved into multimillion publishing empire of one, the CEO of her own literary brand; she towers over the landscape of romantic fiction. Brown has used her growing clout to insist her publishers drop the bosom-and-biceps covers and has added more intricate subplots, suspense, and even unhappy endings to her work. The result: A near-constant presence on The New York Times bestsellers list. In 1992, she had three on the list at the same time, joining that exclusive club of Stephen King, Tom Clancy, J. K. Rowling, and Danielle Steel.

Her work in the mainstream realm has taken her readers into The White House, where the president's newborn dies mysteriously; the oil fields and bedrooms of a Dallas-like family dynasty; and the sexual complications surrounding an investigation into an evangelist's murder. Such inventions have made her a distinct presence in a crowded genre.

"Brown is perhaps best known now for her longer novels of romantic suspense. The basic outline for these stories has passionate love, lust, and violence playing out against a background of unraveling secrets and skeletons jumping out of family closets," wrote Barbara E. Kemp in the book Twentieth-Century Romance & Historical Writers . Kemp also praises Brown's sharp dialogue and richly detailed characters. "However, her greatest key to success is probably that she invites her readers into a fantasy world of passion, intrigue, and danger," she wrote. "They too can face the moral and emotional dilemmas of the heroine, safe in the knowledge that justice and love will prevail."

Critics give her points for nimble storytelling but are cooler to her "serviceable prose," in the words of one Publishers Weekly reviewer. Still, when writing a crack page-turner, the plot's the thing. A 1992 New York Times review placed Brown among a group of a writers "who have mastered the art of the slow tease."

Staggeringly prolific, Brown found her writing pace ground to a halt when she was given a different assignment. A magazine had asked her for an autobiographical piece, and it took her months to complete. Her life in the suburbs, though personally fulfilling, was nonetheless blander than fiction. That may be why she dives into her fiction writing with such workhorse gusto. "I love being the bad guy," she told Publishers Weekly in 1995, "simply because I was always so responsible, so predictable growing up. I made straight A's and never got into any trouble, and I still impose those standards on myself. So writing is my chance to escape and become the sleaziest, scummiest role."

When she started writing, her goal was always to break out of the parameters of romance. After about 45 romances, the woman who counts Tennessee Williams and Taylor Caldwell among her influences told The New York Times that felt she had reached a plateau. In fact, she doesn't even look at her books as romances anymore. "I think of my books now as suspense novels, usually with a love story incorporated," she said. "They're absolutely a lot harder to write than romances. They take more plotting and real character development. Each book is a stretch for me, and I try something interesting each time that males will like as well as women."

Good To Know

  • "I hate to exercise and only do so because I absolutely must."

  • "I love to eat and my favorite foods are all bad for the body. Fried chicken and gravy, TexMex, red meat (hey, I'm from Texas!). My only saving grace is that I'm not that fond of sweets. Salty is my thing. Chocolate cake and ice cream I can skip. But a bag of Fritos. . ."

  • "It takes me a long time to go to sleep, usually because I read in bed and hate to put down the book. But when I do nod off, I'm a champion sleeper. I can easily do eight or nine hours a night."

  • "My worst "thing" is mean-spirited people. People who deliberately belittle or embarrass someone really irk me. The people I admire most are the ones who find something good about even the most undesirable individual. That was a quality my mother had, the one I hope most to emulate."

  • "I have a fear of gravity. Recently my whole family went to Belize. We had several adventures. We tubed a river through miles of cave, wearing head lamps so we'd have illumination. No problem. I scaled Mayan ruins. I rode horseback (on a monster named Al Capone) through the rain forest. No problem. But I couldn't zip line. Even though my five-year-old grandsons did it with glee, I just couldn't make that leap."

  • "I and my husband are huge fans of Jeopardy! We never miss it if we can help it. Does that make us complete dorks?"

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      1. Also Known As:
        Laura Jordan, Rachel Ryan and Erin St. Claire
      2. Hometown:
        Arlington, TX
      1. Date of Birth:
        March 12, 1948
      2. Place of Birth:
        Waco, Texas
      1. Education:
        Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, Texas Christian University, 2008
      2. Website:

    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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    Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
    • 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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    • 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.

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    • 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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    • 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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      Posted July 2, 2010

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