Book Review: Sarah’s Key

October 14, 2015


Sarah’s Key
Tatiana De Rosnay
295 pages
hard copy edition

From the Publisher:
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. 

Tatiana de Rosnay offers us a brilliantly subtle, compelling portrait of France under occupation and reveals the taboos and silence that surround this painful episode.

I read a lot of books that I enjoy.  I read a lot of books that I love.  But every once in while I read a book that really makes me stop and think and I can’t write a review for a couple days.  I have to really digest the book and think about what it taught me and what it said.  That was this book.  I finished it over a week ago and I have sat and pondered and thought about what to say about it for so many days.  I keep walking past and looking at the book.  It’s a library copy.  I really could have returned it by now, but I just keep thinking about it.  I can’t seem to get this book out of my head.  It’s a book I want to add to my personal library.

Based on a real part of French history, this is a fictional book followed a 10 year old girl who is taken from her home as the Jews are gathered and arrested, and then a modern day journalist who is trying to write about this piece of history.  The story is so hard to put down but so hard to read at the same time.  Haunting and something that I will be thinking about for months to come.

The book was published a few years ago (2007) so it’s not new and I noticed on Goodreads, I think I am possibly the last person ever to read this book.  I have also never seen the movie edition of the book either.  I think I’ll need a movie night in the future, although I’m worried I can get through it.  Have you seen it?  Is it worth it?

Possibly, if I’m not the only person left who hasn’t read this book – go find it now!  This book takes an sensitive subject and will have you reading all night. This would also make a really great book club book selection. Truly unforgettable, one worth reading and discussing, and one of my favorite picks from this year by far.

​Final Score:

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