“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.