Mary Stewart Reading Week is hosted by Gudrun's Tights
I was so very excited to see a Mary Stewart Reading Week! I thought I was maybe the only person left in the world who read her books. I love their feel, the gothic cozy mystery, set somewhere fabulous. I love them especially on rainy nights, with a cup of tea or a glass of red wine, but I will read them anytime, especially when I am looking for a comfort read.
Title: Nine Coaches Waiting
Author: Mary Stewart
Source: My personal collection
The opulence and history surrounding Linda Martin at Chateâu Valmy are all part of some wondrous, ecstatic dream. But there is a palpable terror crouching in the shadows. And then an accident that is no accident nearly kills the young English nanny's innocent, nine-year-old charge.
This is not "chance" -- this is something planned...and deadly.
There is usually a house in Mary Stewart's books - a big old neglected house, or a house of secrets, or a shining mansion. In Nine Coaches waiting, the house is a house of secrets, and young nanny Linda has a secret of her own.
Linda Martin is a young nanny, her charge Philippe, the future heir. He lives with his aunt and uncle, overbearing and cold relatives. He is starving for affection and love, and when Linda begins work, they soon form a close relationship. She is protective of him, and truly cares about his health and well being. Then he is shot at while they are out hiking the property together. She begins to think of all the "accidents" that surround Philippe, and begins to suspect the worst. She is intimidated by Philippe's Uncle Leo and Aunt Heloise. The two potential love interests for Linda, because there is always a touch of flirtation and romance in a Stewart book, are possible heroes, but they are surrounded in shadow, and the reader only knows what Linda knows.
So who to trust? Where to turn? The story and suspense build until the final pages, where the action reaches a crescendo and the reader still is unsure of where and who are safe, until the very end.
I loved this book, it is one of my absolute favorites of Stewart's. The atmosphere, the Frenchness, the mystery, the old glamour of decades past, the romance of it all, I eagerly succumb to, and I read it at least every year.
And lucky me, it qualifies for the European Reading Challenge!