The Unexpected Tale of Bastien Bonlivre


Although Alice’s parents would have Bastien live with them, the law states that he must be cared for at the Orphanage for Gentils Garçons. Unfortunately, misfortune seems to have befallen its former kindly superintendent, and it is now run by the despicable Monsieur Xavier. Not only does he remove all the boys’ possessions, but meals are frugal, like the learning, warmth and care. What’ more, Monsieur Xavier has an acute dislike for Bastien; it seems he’s watching the boy intently, seeking signs of any mishap. If he was to know that Bastien has hidden the precious notebook that his parents gifted him….  ‘Go forward and write the unexpected‘ charged Bastien’s father. Readers learn very quickly, that this is the item that Monsieur Xavier seeks. Yet, why?

Bastien’s notebook is where he pours out the stories that build within him constantly, just as they did with his parents. However, Monsieur Olivier, though a famous writer, is stuck for any original ideas. What is his connection to Monsieur Xavier? Then again, how might the disappearance of writers from all over Paris be related to either of these men? Finally, what story will Bastien create about Sami, the silent dorm mate at the orphanage?

Not only is The Unexpected Tale of Bastien Bonlivre ripe with villainy, but it’s full of heroism, hot chocolate and loyal friendship. Then again, we can smell Paris, feel the air above the ground as Bastien returns to his beloved city, then imagine the uncertain terror of the Catacombs.

Bookwagon recommends The Unexpected Tale of Bastien Bonlivre to all adventure loving middle grade readers!

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The Unexpected Tale of Bastien Bonlivre

Clare Povey


‘Go forward and write the unexpected‘ Bastien’s father directed him when he gifted the ‘burgundy leather notebook and pen’. Now it’s Bastien’s only possession, hidden beneath the floorboards in the Orphanage for Gentil Garçons, from Monsieur Xavier. Since the new superintendent arrived, life for the boys in his care, is harsh. What’s more, it’s clear that Monsieur Xavier’s eye is trained upon Bastien. Then again, it’s clear that he’s seeking Bastien’s notebook. Yet, why?
So, how is the Orphanage superintendent linked to the curious deaths of Bastien’s parents? Then again might he have anything to do with the writers missing from all over Paris? It seems that Theo, with his astounding engineering skills has a plan that might release the two friends into Paris to explore and research. Not only does this mean that Bastien’s able to return to Le Chat Curieux, his favourite bookshop, but to reconnect with his dearest family friends.
Clare Povey shares her love for and knowledge of Paris in The Unexpected Tale of Bastien Bonlivre.  In fact, we visit The Paris Catacombs, as we did in The Pear Affair amongst other special sites.  What’s more, this adventure story is a testament to reading, writing and wonderful stories. This book is full of heroes and villains, special skills, friendships, wishes and brilliant plotting. Bookwagon loves The Unexpected Tale of Bastien Bonlivre and suggests adventure loving readers will enjoy it enormously, too!


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