A Coming Evil

A Coming Evil

5.0 5
by Vivian Vande Velde

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Lisette Beaucaire was angry when her parents sent her away from Paris that September day in 1940. And although she knew that with the Nazis occupying the city she'd be safer at her Aunt Josephine's farm in the Dordogne valley, Lisette resented her "exile." She'd miss her friends and the excitement of being thirteen and starting a new school. Instead she'd have nothing


Lisette Beaucaire was angry when her parents sent her away from Paris that September day in 1940. And although she knew that with the Nazis occupying the city she'd be safer at her Aunt Josephine's farm in the Dordogne valley, Lisette resented her "exile." She'd miss her friends and the excitement of being thirteen and starting a new school. Instead she'd have nothing to do but amuse her little cousin Cecile. That's what Lisette thought, but she soon found out that she wasn't the only visitor at the farmhouse. And then she encountered Gerard, a visitor from a long time ago, who proved to be a valiant ally at a crucial moment for the people who lived in the farmhouse.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Elaine McGuire
During the Nazi occupation of Paris, thirteen-year-old Lisette is sent to the supposedly safer French countryside to live with her aunt, where Lisette soon discovers that her aunt is harboring gypsy and Jewish children. This dangerous living arrangement requires Lisette, her aunt, and her annoying cousin Cecile to perform numerous minute daily tasks to hide all signs of the extra children. To escape the chores and Cecile, Lisette wanders the hilltop where Cecile won't go for fear of a rumored ghost. Lisette immediately encounters this ghost, whose name is Gerard. Gerard appears as the age of those who see him; to Lisette, he is thirteen. Lisette befriends the melancholy ghost and learns that he died in 1314, fighting in the Crusades. As their friendship (and potential romance) blossoms, Gerard becomes more human. His new solidity and military experience come in handy when the inevitable Nazi search does occur, and Gerard and Lisette must save the endangered children. A few flaws mar this otherwise excellent and unique novel of historical fiction. First of all, the cover of the uncorrected proof is deplorable. Lisette wears a nineties haircut and a poodle skirt sans poodle. Gerard is a drawing superimposed on the photograph, and he looks like a suave twenty-five-year-old--ugh! Also, throughout the story Lisette and Gerard's ages feel wrong. Their mature and flirtatious behavior would be more appropriate for older teens. Other than this, the novel is a wonderful read. The combination of World War II and the Crusades is a feat only this talented author could pull off. VOYA Codes: 3Q 2P M J S (Readable without serious defects, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-This well-written novel combines two periods in French history-the 1940s and the early 1300s. Lisette Beaucaire, 13, is sent to live in the country with her aunt, since food is scarce in Paris, which is overrun by German soldiers. Although she dreads spending time with her bratty cousin Cecile, Lisette is even more dismayed to discover that her aunt is hiding Jewish and gypsy children from the Nazis. As Lisette and the children practice what to do if the Nazis arrive unexpectedly, she begins to understand the seriousness of the situation. Then she encounters the ghost of Gerard, a young knight who died in 1314. At first he is merely a spirit but gradually he becomes solid and real-and a friend. In an exciting climax, Gerard helps Lisette save the younger children from the Nazis. The conclusion leads readers to ponder the future of the characters. The plot moves briskly and Vande Velde does a good job of creating the war-time atmosphere of fear and suspicion. Lisette is a sympathetic and believable character. However, the comparison between the persecution of the Jews and gypsies by Hitler and the Knights Templar (Gerard's order) by King Philip IV is a bit of a stretch and may not be the best example to help readers understand the Holocaust. (Among other things, the Knights Templar, a powerful group of monks known for fighting in the Crusades, was not particularly tolerant of Jews or other "infidels.") Still, this fast-paced adventure raises some interesting issues.-Cyrisse Jaffee, formerly at Newton Public Schools, MA
From the Publisher

"This well-written . . . fast-paced adventure raises some interesting issues." —School Library Journal

School Library Journal

"Velde's melding of fantasy with historical fiction is generally successful, and her comments about the similarities between these two historical periods are well taken." —Booklist Booklist, ALA

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
740L (what's this?)
File size:
144 KB
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Vivian Vande Velde has written many books for teen and middle grade readers, including Heir Apparent, User Unfriendly, All Hallow's Eve: 13 Stories, Three Good Deeds, Now You See It ..., and the Edgar Award–winning Never Trust a Dead Man. She lives in Rochester, New York. Visit her website at www.vivianvandevelde.com.

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Coming Evil 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing. My Social Studies teacher made us do Literature Circle groups in class and I thought the book would be OK but it was great. I've never read a book this good in my life. I was actually on the Barnes and Nobel website looking to see if there was a 2nd one or a continuation.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This books plot and characters were outstanding. I really liked how the story incorporated how hard those times were for Jewish and Gypsy children but at the same time showed how hostile those environments could've been for anyone at those times. I liked how Lisette's aunt kept the children under her care just so no harm would come to them. I think that the story could've been a little more focused on the times at hand. The whole 'ghost' theme was a bit cheesy but it kind of eased the mood of the story. I didn't like how the children were to be left alone in their secret room, do to the darkness. We all know very well, children do not willingly adapt to darkness. I wished that the story was more focused on the war or the Holocaust. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the 40's and how lives were lived back then. I myself are very interested in WWII, the holocaust and all the events from the ear. If anyone is out there looking for a great book that ,really, anyone would enjoy, this is your book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book.it could have not been better!I really like that the ghost is from the middle ages.Also, that he comes alive again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book so much. it is about a girl from france who has to move to the country because of the nazi invasion. once there she meets a dead templare knight and they begin an amazing adventure that combines his tramatic past, and her tramatic present. in the end, they end up helping each other in ways they never thought possible. if you enjoy historical fiction that reads like a fantasy, you must read A COMING EVIL. you will not be disapointed.