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Nine Coaches Waiting

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  13,377 ratings  ·  1,232 reviews
A governess in a French chateau 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
Paperback, 342 pages
Published May 1st 2006 by Chicago Review Press (first published 1958)
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Ashley I think your question should have been marked as a spoiler.
Kristina Not at all. The fact that the "bad guy" is in a wheelchair is almost an afterthought. He is a well-written, complex character with a very powerful per…moreNot at all. The fact that the "bad guy" is in a wheelchair is almost an afterthought. He is a well-written, complex character with a very powerful personality and extremely intelligent. While I do not sympathize with his motives, I can certainly understand his perspective and why he took the actions he did. This bad guy's main assistant is also horrible, but he has no scars or physical impairments of any kind. This is a very well-written, intelligent and suspenseful novel.(less)

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Mary Stewart is - by far - my favorite author in the romantic suspense genre. Nine Coaches Waiting is my favorite Mary Stewart book. I can't tell you how many times I've re-read this book. It's not terrifically deep or mysterious, but it's well-written and a favorite comfort read, and my love for it is quite unreasonable at this point, so just realize that I'm likely to hurl insults or furniture at anyone who questions the excellence of this novel.


Linda Martin, a young woman who grew up as an or
May 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing

Nine coaches waiting - hurry-hurry-hurry…

What a blast from the past. Yes, this book was first published back in 1958. It reads a bit like a NA version of Nancy Drew.. or maybe a cross between Daphne du Maurier and Agatha Christie. Anyway, it’s a bit of mystery, and a bit of romance written in a very decadent and descriptive way.

I loved the author’s writing style… the ongoing theme which included the title quote, and all of the subsequent quotes she used throughout the book to introdu
May 07, 2015 rated it really liked it

After a rather drab existence in an English orphanage Linda Martin is appointed governess to the nine-year-old owner of the Chateau Valmy in the French Alps. During little Philippe's minority the estates are being managed by his crippled uncle Leon, and Leon's handsome son Raoul. All seems delightful, but there are tensions below the smooth surface. One sunny afternoon a bullet is fired in the beechwoods ... and the tensions become terrors.

The main reason I wanted to read this book
I am a sucker for poor-governess-gets-rich-master-of-the-mansion as much as the next person.

The first 100 pages of the novel are quite good, where poor orphan girl from England is hired as a governess to live on a beautiful French estate and take care of a young heir. She teaches, takes walks, enjoys mountain scenery, etc. I think Mary Stewart is a good writer of atmospheric settings. I would love to live there too.

However, when the famously suave love interest is introduced, the story goes down
Jul 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, favorites, classics
I have a good friend from Mexico City who sounds exactly like Wilmer Valderrama's character, Fez, from That 70's Show. I just love his movie recommendations...and his accent! I laugh to myself when I remember his sparkling recommendation of Terminator 3 back in its heyday. "Eve, it's a classic film! It's got comedy, romance, and action!"

Though we definitely don't agree on what a certified "classic" is, his equation for good entertainment is right on par. Nine Coaches Waiting was a thrill to rea
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
Wondering where the "nine coaches" comes from?

It was from a 17th century play,The Revenger's Tragedy.

Oh, think upon the pleasure of the palace:
Secured ease and state, the stirring meats,
Ready to move out of the dishes,
That e'en now quicken when they're eaten,
Banquets abroad by torch-light, musics, sports,
Bare-headed vassals that had ne'er the fortune
To keep on their own hats but let horns [wear] 'em,
Nine coaches waiting. Hurry, hurry, hurry!

I'm not sure how many nods to the above drama the e
Aug 26, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

Readers beware: what might be construed as mild spoilers follow.

According to Mary Stewart's Wikipedia entry, Stewart "developed the romantic mystery genre, featuring smart, adventurous heroines who could hold their own in dangerous situations". This novel is one of Stewart's "romantic mysteries", or as the Wikipedia article also classifies it, a "Gothic romance". The heroine is Linda Martin, who is engaged as a governess for a young French orphan of aristocratic background. She comes to realise
Connie G
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Nine Coaches Waiting" is a riveting romantic suspense novel set in a French chateau near the Swiss border. Linda Martin, with roots in both France and England, was hired as a governess to the orphaned nine-year-old Philippe, the heir to the beautiful estate. His paralyzed uncle, Leon de Valmy, runs the Chateau Valmy until Philippe comes of age. Leon lost most of the things he loved in a tragic car accident, and his life revolves around his obsessive love for the Chateau Valmy. When Philippe has ...more

Just so well written. Mary Stewart is the master of Romantic Suspense and has influenced so many writers. If you are an Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels fan, a lot of her early books channel Stewart.

She takes the time to build the story, no word count issues here, and develops the heroine, the hero and the secondary characters in ways that add to the plot and how it plays out.

The heroine is smart and caring, and while she falls in love she still maintains brain function. Passion but no
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
Loved this! My first Mary Stewart, the first of many more! I’d heard great things about this book and Mary Stewart, but never quite got round to it. It was not what I expected at all. I think the coaches reference in the title led me to believe it was historical fiction in the style of a mash up of Jamaica Inn and Jane Eyre. It was definitely reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier . Is there a film of this? I feel there might be one out there and if there isn’t, maybe there should be. I very much enjo ...more
Mar 24, 2010 rated it it was ok
I bought this book because it was mentioned as being a modern gothic title.

Not quite.

The author tries to convey unease from time to time, but that's not pervasive like one would expect in a gothic novel. 95% of the time, the plot has a light atmosphere. As for the setting, the large chateau seems to fit with typical gothic placings, but its description isn't right for it, nor does the heroine feel scared or intimidated by it at all during her stay. The author probably didn't intend to label this
Sep 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone who wants a page gripper
Nine Coaches Waiting, ★★★★★

Linda Martin's father was English, but her mother French. So she grew up with both as her 'mother tongue'. Now though they are both dead and for some seven years she has lived in an English orphanage, first as a waif and now as a governess how is to be sent out to a post. What could be better than a post in France, teaching a little boy English? True they said they didn't want a governess who spoke French but, since she needs the job badly she goes as an all English te
Allison (The Allure of Books)
Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart has been on my radar for quite awhile. I even have it on my Project Fill in the Gaps list. That, along with the combined recommendations of Holly, Chachic and Angie (three people I trust more than most for recs) finally urged me to pick it up.

I don’t have much previous experience with Mary Stewart – but let me tell you. That will be changing. Nine Coaches Waiting is nothing short of stellar. Everything from the plot to the characters to the writing (the writi
May 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, favorites
Linda Martin, an orphaned English girl, has accepted a job as governess at Chateau Valmy in the French countryside. We know immediately that all is not as it seems in the Valmy household, as does Miss Martin, and the sorting of the good from the bad is a dangerous endeavor.

Reading Nine Coaches Waiting again was like coming home and finding someone had already lit you a fire and left you a hot toddy. I sank back into it, and it was as wonderful as the very first time I read it. When I was young I
Apr 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
A mystery, a romance and a perfect blend of gothic spookiness, what's not to love? Linda Martin arrives at the Chateaux Valmy high in the French Alps to care for young Comte Philippe, recently orphaned and in the care of his uncle Leon and step-aunt Heloise de Valmy. When Leon's son Raoul arrives, Linda finds herself falling in love, although things are not as they appear and Philippe begins to have several life threatening accidents. Or are they accidents? Is there something more sinister invol ...more
Aug 11, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: light-and-fun
I have fond memories of Mary Stewart books from my tween days, but I didn’t expect to enjoy one now that I’m old and critical (that's just sad; maybe “mature and learned”?). What a fun surprise! This one has all the elements you could hope for in a 1950’s adventure/thriller/romance — a young woman trying to start a new life; a mysterious French count; suspicious happenings at a chateau; a handsome and swarthy Frenchman who MIGHT BE DANGEROUS; midnight picnics; near-death adventures; and. . . hol ...more
Melissa McShane
I haven't read much Mary Stewart aside from the Arthurian trilogy a million years ago. This one kept popping up as one of her best, and I thought, why not?

I absolutely loved it. I wish I could be more specific. It just worked for me. I don't normally like the alpha male type, but in this case Raoul was...there was something else going on beneath his playboy exterior. And I really, really didn't know who the villain was until everything was revealed, so I was in suspense the whole time. (view spo
Carolyn Hill
Apr 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Even though I've read this book at least twice before, I still ended up staying up to the wee hours of the morning finishing it. That's how good the suspense is. While this could be considered a period piece (it was written and set in the late fifties), and certainly has gothic elements (the orphaned young English woman serving as a governess in a remote French chateau), Mary Stewart's writing elevates it above the typical genre fare. She is simply the best at romantic suspense, and that is why ...more
Read to fill the “Romantic Suspense” square of my 2017 Halloween Bingo card.

This Bingo was a great excuse to revisit an old favourite, which only been slight worn by the passage of time. It is very much a gothic romance, with the heroine having the usual attributes—she is an orphan, she needs to pay her way in the world, and she is hired by a French family to school a young nobleman in English. The young Comte is nine years old and it takes a bit for Linda Martin to make friends with him and get
Jan 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothics
This is a Stewart novel that I have been wanting to read for some time. I was not disappointed.

Belinda "Linda" Martin is half French and was raised in France for a good portion of her life. After her parents are killed in a plane crash, she is sent to live in an orphanage in England, her father's home country. Linda's previous job was at an English boys' school, which she hated. She jumps at the opportunity to be the governess of the young Comte de Valmy in the French countryside. The boy's aun
Debbie Zapata
Jul 19, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: saturdaymx
I have to admit I was a little disappointed in this typical romantic mystery by Mary Stewart. I can't remember if I've ever read it before, but perhaps I did and that was why it all seemed to unfold in a predictable way to me. Our young heroine Linda arrives in France to take care of nine-year old Philippe and finds herself in what turns out to be a very strange situation. How will she deal with the events that take place? And does she really have to worry so much about everything? Or explain th ...more
debbicat *made of stardust*
I enjoyed this book. I was kept guessing all the way til the end. The setting was very well described and I could easily picture it. The characters likable and believable. This is my 4th Mary Stewart book. I didn't like it as well as the other 3 but I think it's because I was not as much into the governess character as some of the other heroines like in Thornyhold and The Gabriel Hounds. Thornyhold being my favorite at this time. I'd highly recommend it tho for the suspense and romance. It does ...more
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Re-read, April 2020. Keeping it at five stars for a first-time reader, though of course as a reread it doesn't pack quite as much punch because you know what's going to happen. Still, the suspense and the action scenes remain pretty breathtaking!

PS. The romance is pretty dated! But it works within the suspenseful, broody atmosphere, I guess.

Original review:

It's the wee hours of the morning but I HAD TO KNOW WHAT WOULD HAPPEN.
Ugh, a book like this might wreck your bedtime, but it's amaaaazing sus
Feb 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Angie by: Mom
I guess mysteries have always been a part of my life. Ever since my mom handed me that first Nancy Drew--The Hidden Staircase--that thirst for the clues, the search, the not knowing has stuck with me. That, combined with the fact that they are very nostalgic for me, and you get to read about a lot of them. Mary Stewart is my very favorite when it comes to romantic suspense and her many mysteries are serial re-reads for me. In the best of times and the worst of times, she comes through with an un ...more
May 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Since I discovered what a wonderful writer Mary Stewart was – just a few years ago, though my mother had recommended her books many years earlier – I’ve noticed that many readers name ‘Nine Coaches Waiting’ as a particular favourite. Now that I’ve read ‘Nine Coaches Waiting’ I can understand why, and I think that it might be my favourite too.

It’s not a realistic, real-world story; but it is a glorious entertainment

And it’s a ‘governess novel’ – a kind of book that I love

The story begins as Linda
Christine PNW
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I know, I know, that post title could apply to basically every single gothic romance ever. In fact, as my friend, author & generally brilliant human Linda Hilton, knows, as I actually cribbed the title from an essay she discusses in this post (which is well worth reading, so you should read it!).

Nine Coaches Waiting centers around Linda Martin, a young French woman who is hired as the English speaking governess for Count Philippe Valmy, the nine year old heir to the Valmy estate and fortune. The
Aug 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Rating Clarification: 4.5 Stars

Original review:
(view spoiler)
Tanja Berg
Feb 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Half a century on, this novel still holds its own. I liked all of it except the ending. I even liked it despite the obvious romantic undertones. There is a bit of a Cinderella/Jane Eyre/any-woman-who-needs-a-rich-man over the whole thing, more than a mystery or thriller.

Linda Martin, an orphan from England, arrives at a sprawling French country estate to look after another orphan, Philippe. He is the rightful heir of the estate. He lives with his handicapped uncle Leon and the latter's wife Hel
Dec 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, mystery

I don't know what it is about Mary Stewart. Normally I would detest romance, especially ones that are at heart as formulaic as hers: English girl goes to foreign country, meets a man or several men, falls in love, a mystery crops up at some point in the proceedings, and at some point in the proceedings she suspects her lover of being involved in something criminal, there's a heart-stopping very dramatic climax, and then it's over and the two get married. They may or may not be fairly close
Nov 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
What do I possibly say about Nine Coaches Waiting that hasn’t already been said before? Mary Stewart is a legend; her books are classics when it comes to the genre of gothic mystery. Although Nine Coaches Waiting suffers from a slow start, it is a breath-taking novel, beautifully written with a strong-willed and courageous governess at its center. Stewart, much like Daphne DuMaurier, is an expert at building suspense and causing our minds to flit between one suspect and the next. Nine Coaches Wa ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Lady Mary Stewart, born Mary Florence Elinor Rainbow, was a popular English novelist, and taught at the school of John Norquay elementary for 30 to 35 years.

She was one of the most widely read fiction writers of our time. The author of twenty novels, a volume of poetry, an

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