Monday, May 9, 2011

Review: "Sarah's Key" by Tatiana de Rosnay

From Goodreads:  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 thoughts:  This is one of the best books I have read this year.  It was excruciatingly sad but so compelling.  I am drawn to books set in the Holocaust because I am always interested in seeing how writers approach the subject.  This book was unlike any that I have read about the Holocaust because it took place in France and discussed French atrocities during World War II.  I have never heard of the Vel' d'Hiv roundup and now I really want to read up on France during World War II.  I felt that the characters in this story came to life and were very well developed and I thought Ms de Rosnay did an amazing job of telling the story from different points of view (for some of the book the story skips between the past and the present and is told from either Julia's or Sarah's point of view).  What Sarah suffered broke my heart and I just can't even imagine how events like those described in the book could affect a person and I loved how Julia was so adamant at trying to make things as right as she could.  I don't want to say too much more because I will give the story away, but I would highly recommend this book.  5 Stars.

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