Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: Sarah's Key

Source: Bookshelf

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Genre: WWII, Historical Fiction
Pages: 294 (paperback)
Author's Website | Twitter | Facebook
Buy it: Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Book Depo

Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.
Paris, May 2002: On Vel' d'Hiv's 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.

My Rating:

My Review:

Sarah's key alternates between two perspectives.  We have a 10 year-old girl, Sarah, during WWII era and a present day American woman, Julia living in France and writing for a small magazine.  The two are connected by an apartment in France and a little secret cupboard.  The story isn't just set during WWII but centers around the Velodrome d'Hiver roundup where French police in Paris rounded up thousands of Jews and sent them to Parisian stadium.  Few made it home after the war.  Through Julia's research she connects many to the past.  She accidentally brings family secrets and old shames to the surface, but also helps solve age-old mysteries and provide answers to those holding on to their heavy burdens.

Ahhh, such an interesting read.  On one hand, I didn't connect with Julia much but enjoyed her personal growth.  Her daughter showed real spunk and I really appreciated her character's perspective.  I felt the mystery, pacing, and unveiling of key facts to flow at the perfect pace.   I was enthralled but wanted much more at the same time.  I'm especially glad that I found this read because I had never heard of the Velodrome d'Hiver roundup and I love when I can glean real history from historical fiction and feel like I've learned something.  I wanted more light in the darkness in the historical portion (Sarah's story).  This was a more depressing read than I expected.  I also wanted Julia's story to end differently.  The end felt like a big jump and I was thirsty for details.

Overall, I enjoyed this read because I'm intrigued and quite enjoy WWII fiction.  For others, choose this one when you are in the mood.  It's an extremely sad read.

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  1. I do wanna read this one. Is it a movie too?

    1. It is a movie too but I don't know the details. I only just realized it was a movie when I was preparing this post.

  2. I remember I saw this one around a few years ago and I was intrigued, but I still have nightmares about some books I read on concentration camps when I was 9, so I tend to stay away.

    I'm glad the story was good though, I think I'm going to pick it up after all.

    Thanks for the review :D

  3. It's impossible to read this one without tissues. I didn't care for Julia's story much, but it does take you away from the darkness of Sarah's for a bit. Great review!

  4. I really liked this book as well. I read it a long time ago but I do remember not really connecting with Julia ether. I keep meaning to read the author's latest book but haven't gotten around to it yet.

  5. It sounds good but oh-so-depressing. Love the feeling of nostalgia and childhood on the cover too, which I suppose is accurate since it sounds like innocence lost type of story. Great review as always too.

  6. Must read .. Touching account of the French involvement in the holocaust.. Written with emotion and clarity.. Remember. Never forget.
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