Friday, March 13, 2009
I Found the Just Right Book!
Have you heard of Mary Stewart? I was introduced to her by the Bas Bleu catalog who offers her novel The Ivy Tree. I was intrigued by the description of The Ivy Tree (1961) and came across it in a wonderful new edition by the Chicago Review Press along with Stewart's novels Thornyhold (1988) and Nine Coaches Waiting (1958). Nine Coaches Waiting came home with me that day and I picked it up the other day.
It was perfect.
Nine Coaches Waiting is the story of Linda, a young woman living in England who, due to a series of circumstances, takes a position working as a governess in France for the Valmy family. Her charge is Philippe, a nine year old boy who has had a rough time due to the death of his parents. Something about the house where she has come and the people that live there seems....not quite right. Events happen, things are whispered and slowly it is revealed what a perilous situation Linda is in. Linda is such a wonderful heroine. She is clever and smart, and willing to take chances.
I'm trying to be so careful in this little synopsis because I do not want to give anything away that could detract from your enjoyment of this book. There is a wonderful suspenseful feeling about it, but also romance, friendship, and the rather ordinary goings-on for a governess. If it weren't for a few details, I could believe this book was written last week rather than in 1958. That is how timeless and modern the story and writing are.
So - have you read Mary Stewart? Apparently she is best known for her Merlin series, but I am more interested in these romantic-mystery-suspense sort of books. Do tell.