Review: Sarah’s Key

 

There had been over four thousand Jewish children penned in the Vel’ d’Hiv’, aged between two and twelve. Most of the children were French, born in France. None of them came back from Auschwitz.”

Sarah’s Key, Tatiana De Rosnay

 

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2007, but has experienced a recent upsurge in popularity and is back at #10 on the New York Times Bestseller list.  It was recommended to me over and over again at book clubs I visited for my own book because it also takes place in two time periods and deals with modern women unearthing secrets of the past.

In the present day, forty-five year old Julia Jarmond is an American journalist living in Paris with her French husband and daughter.  In occupied France in 1942, ten year old Sarah Starzynski lives in Paris with her parents and younger brother.  On a terrible night in July, Sarah’s family horror begins when the French police round up thousands of Jewish families for deportation to concentration camps.  Sarah’s Key is the story of the Parisian apartment and terrible tragedy that link the families of Sarah and Julia and change their lives forever.

It always amazes me what I don’t know about history.  As much as I’ve read and seen about the holocaust, I’ve never heard of the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup and what happened to those innocent French Jews.  Like all great historical fiction, Sarah’s Key not only taught me something I didn’t know, but it personalized it for me through the beautifully drawn characters and narrative. It was heartbreaking every step of the way, but well worth the journey.   I highly recommend Sarah’s Key.

Below, I’ve included a link to an interview with Tatiana De Rosney.  If you’ve read the book or would like to read it, I’d love to hear what you think.

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6 thoughts on “Review: Sarah’s Key

  1. Hallie says:

    Wow. I can’t wait to read it for the reason you stated as well. I haven’t heard of the roundup of the French Jews and love when I can learn as well as be entertained, moved, inspired, etc. I have a feeling this one might require a box of tissues.

    Great review, E!

  2. Eileen says:

    My mother in law gave me this book and I put off reading it because I just couldn’t face another “Holocaust” story. When it was the only book left on my nightstand, I opened it and entered another world. Truly one of those books I could not put down. I had never heard of the round up either (and consider myself fairly educated!) and was shocked that this type of event occured in Paris. While portions of the story were quite contrived, I thought it was fantastic. I learned alot, and found myself wondering what I would have done had I been a non-Jewish Parisian at the time. In the end, I felt somewhat defeated and hopeless but also strengthened in my belief that nothing like this can happen again as the effects are so long lasting. A wonderfully written story. I hope to get my teenagers to read it this summer.

  3. Erika Robuck says:

    Thanks, Hallie.

    Well said, Eileen!

  4. cynthia says:

    A friend sent me this book with a page of wonderful comments about it…so I’ve added it to my tall stack. (I like your new photo, by the way.)

  5. Samantha says:

    I love the book. I am doing a book report so I grabbed a random book and it was Sarah’s Key and I’m so Happy that I read it!!

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