Friday Favorites #11: Nine Coaches Waiting

Friday Favorites is a weekly meme hosted here, that spotlights a favorite author, book, series, publisher, cover, blog, etc. Basically whatever bookish thing that you love, recommend, and want to tell others about. Just pick one and link up to my post each Friday to share. You can use the graphic I used above, the other one here, or your own.

This week I've decided to spotlight one of my favorite romantic suspense books. I read this a while ago, in 2009, when I was just starting to read a lot again. I didn't actually write a review for it, but I've included one below. Now I know that some of you have read this and have not liked it, which I was sorry to see, but I really enjoyed this. Maybe it reminded me a little of Eva Ibbotson and Dickens, whom I both love, with the detailed descriptions and the way of life back then. I really like historical fiction and suspense (as long as it's not too horrific) and this is both of those.

Nine Coaches Waiting
by Mary Stewart (Foreword by Sandra Brown)
Adult Romantic Suspense
May 1st 2006 by Chicago Review Press (first published 1958)

Goodreads summary:
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.

What I thought:
Sweet and naive Linda Martin feels very much out of place as she arrives to be a governess to a nine-year-old Philippe who is the heir to a fortune. After some time she still feels uncomfortable around the family, but learns to love her charge and begins caring for his uncle even though he is definitely above her station. She doesn't realize how important she is until Philippe's life is in danger.

There are a lot of descriptions of the French countryside as Linda travels to her charge's home. The descriptions reminded me of more classic writing, along with the pace of the story. It was a steady plot that built over time and had a few sweet and intense moments. Towards the end it gets quite intense and I wasn't sure who Linda could trust. I love it when a suspense novel is written in such a way that I'm not a hundred percent sure who all the villains are.

I also really liked the characters. Linda is very innocent, sweet, and loving. She could use a little more confidence, but I think some of that has to do with her situation and I felt she was definitely true to her character. Philippe is a great character and really adds to the story. Raoul is a dashing and dangerous man, at least for Linda to love. He is a little rough around the edges, which adds to his attraction in some ways, and contrasts Linda rather well as she has been so sheltered.

Overall, this was a really enjoyable read for me. It had enough happy, sad, and desperate moments for me to feel for and cheer on the characters and I was very pleased with the ending. If you enjoy historical suspense, I would recommend giving this a try.

Content: I remember this being clean.

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About the Author
(from Goodreads)

Lady Mary Stewart is a popular English novelist, and taught at the school of John Norquay elementary for 30 to 35 years, but has now retired.

She 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, spending time between Edinburgh and the West Highlands.

You can find Mary here: 

Have your read this? Do you have a favorite to share this week?
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