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review 2018-04-06 17:45
Someone Is Trying To Kill Me. I Think It's The Man I Love.
Nine Coaches Waiting (Rediscovered Classics) - Mary Stewart

I know, I know, that post title could apply to basically every single gothic romance ever. In fact, as 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. There are a couple of "accidents" where Philippe is nearly killed, at which point Linda begins to wonder if they were really "accidents" at all, or if someone really is trying to get rid of the young count.


As always, Mary Stewart's descriptions are truly lovely and evocative. Linda meets Raoul Valmy, Philippe's much older cousin, who is dashing and handsome and oh so mysterious. He doesn't live at Chateau Valmy, rather he lives at one of the lesser Valmy family properties near by. As the conspiracy unfolds, Linda falls head over heels in love with the enigmatic Raoul, which she realizes after possibly the most epic first date ever set down in fiction.


I am not going to describe that evening in detail though, as it happens, it was desperately important. It was then, simply, one of those wonderful evenings … We stopped in Thonon beside a stall where jonquils and wallflowers blazed under the gas-jets, and he bought me freesias which smelt like the Fortunate Isles and those red anemones that were once called the lilies of the field. Then we drove along in a clear night with stars as warm and a waxing moon staring pale behind the poplars. By the time we reached Geneva – a city of fabulous glitter and strung lights whose reflections swayed and bobbed in the dark waters of the Lake – my spirits were rocketing sky-high; shock, loneliness, the breath of danger all forgotten.


OMG, can Mary Stewart turn a phrase or what? 


Linda realizes the truth about the so-called accidents and takes flight from the Chateau with young Philippe, and what follows is several chapters of suspense where the two of them are being chased, hiding, escaping and trying to make their way to safety, without really knowing who is behind the attempts to murder Philippe. As was true of This Rough Magic, Stewart has a definite talent for ratcheting up the reader's anxiety. As is de riguer with romantic suspense, there is a happy ending.


This is my fifth Mary Stewart, each one more delicious than the last. At some point, I assume, I will have to hit a clunker. 


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text 2017-10-11 18:08
Reading progress update: I've read 55%.
The Little Stranger - Sarah Waters

I've been in a MASSIVE reading slump lately, and this audio book has been taking me a while to really settle into. Not because the story isn't great, because I'm enjoying it immensely. It's just that I haven't been able to calm myself enough to really enjoy anything book related for a while. I've been binge watching tv, playing too much Stardew Valley, and cross stitching up a storm. I'm feeling more me lately though, and this book has my attention again.


I only need to finish this, The Small Hand, and Summer of Night, and I'll have a bingo! Let's hope I can do it before the end of the month :).

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review 2017-09-04 16:48
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier,Sally Beauman

Ah, this was excellent! Both because the audio version was brilliantly done, and because the story itself is just superbly written. I can't say that I ever quite fell in love with our young protagonist, because honestly she was naive as all get out most times, but I definitely fell in love with the story surrounding her. I am SO glad I finally read this.


I love that "the second Mrs. De Winter" never actually gets a name. It was one of the first things that struck me about this story, and I could never shake the feeling that it just pushed her further into the shadow of the ever present Rebecca. She dominates the story, Rebecca does. Her name invokes this pristine, well-bred, shining light of a woman who charmed everyone around her. Except, as we all know, there's always more to a person that what is on the outside. Oh, and Daphne Du Maurier has no problem at all with digging straight into that dark and sometimes ugly inner person.


Better still was the copious amount of descriptive writing surrounding Manderly and Mrs. De Winter's time there. I felt like I lived there too. I saw the big, arching trees in the forest. Smelled the flowers that ringed the estate, and even saw the dusty rooms that once housed the woman who would never quite be gone or forgotten. As the book went on, I fell more and more in love with this place. I understood why Max loved it so very much, and why he would want to protect it.


Which is why the ending broke my heart. It was perfection, but still my heart is broken. This was just too good. One star gone, only because Mrs. De Winter drove me bonkers the majority of this story. All I have to say is MAKE SOME DECISIONS WOMAN. I know this book was aptly written for the period, but lord. I could not have been alive during this time. I would have murdered someone myself.

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text 2017-09-01 18:39
Reading progress update: I've read 20%.
Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier,Sally Beauman

Reading this for the Gothic square!



So far, I've alternated between wanting to smack our little heroine, and sweep her off to safety. She is so caught up in the idea of being the woman of the house, of having Manderley as her own, that she hasn't stopped to think how odd this whole thing is. Probably the least romantic proposal I've ever heard of. Hahaha. Poor little thing.


I suspect now that she's arrived at Manderley, things are going to get eerie. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited. I hope there is much haunting.

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text 2017-08-31 21:56
Reading progress update: I've read 5%.
Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier,Sally Beauman

I've never read this before, so I decided to give the audio a shot! So far I love it. This book screams gothic fiction, even though I've only just started. The description of Manderley at the beginning of the book is perfection. I felt myself walking the rambling grounds, and even at this point I can feel the tension starting to build. The eyes watching from unknown sources.


I am SO excited to finish this.

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