Book Review #1
Book: Sarah’s Key
Author: Tatiana de Rosnay
Synopsis: (as taken by Chapters.Indigo.ca) 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 Jaramond 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 to re-trace 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.
Days to read: 3
My thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. While it wasn’t my first Holocaust novel that I’ve read, it was my first time reading it from a French perspective. Before this book, I wasn’t truly aware of the part France played in the war. From the first page, de Rosnay took me on a whirlwind emotional ride. Sarah was so innocent and believable that you couldn’t help but pity her with each page. The description of the Vel’ d’Hiv was unbearable to read, as was the process of moving the Jews to the camps. de Rosnay knows how to tug at the heartstrings. Julia Jaramond was another interesting character that was created with the utmost consideration. Even though she is much older than I am, I could still relate to her on another level. She was a wonderful addition to the book, and made “Sarah’s Key” that much more enjoyable. de Rosnay’s decision to have two storylines in one book was a good choice because it made the book interesting to read. I love those types of books. One thing that bugged me was the ending, though. I agree that it makes the reader think and come up with their own “happy ever after”; but with this book, it bugged me that I didn’t exactly know what happened with the characters. I would recommend “Sarah’s Key” to everyone, because it gave just enough historical facts with modern situations to make the story relatable and entertaining to read. But be ready to cry at certain spots (especially if you’re a wuss like me) – so keep a Kleenex box near you!