Rating: 3 out of 4 stars
Title: Sarah’s Key
Author: Tatiana De Rosnay
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten-year old girl, is taken with her parents by the French police as they go door-to-door arresting Jewish families in the middle of the night. Desperate to protect her younger brother, Sarah locks him in a bedroom cupboard–their secret hiding place–and promises to come back for him as soon as they are released.
Sixty Years Later: Sarah’s story intertwines with that of Julia Jarmond, an American journalist investigating the roundup. In her research, Julia stumbles onto a trail of secrets that link her to Sarah, and to questions about her own romantic future.
When I arrived at the library to take this book out the first thing the librarian told me was “Oh! This one made me cry! It was really good!”. Now normally, books don’t make me cry, but this one tore out my heart! As I don’t want to give anything away, there were many moments were all I could say was “NO!” and cry.
The thing that stood out the most to me was that this part of history is something I had never been aware of! I had no idea that there was a french round up of Jewish families called the Vel d’hiv. They rounded up all of the Jewish families and placed them in a stadium for days on end with very little food or water. Rosnay describes the horrific conditions in such detail it broke my heart to read. At one point, even before sending people off to Auschwitz, they brutally separated children from their mothers. Just to think about it tugs at my heart.
The book emphasized Frances lack of interest, or hatred of the topic. People wanted to forget and many were unwilling to talk to the main character about such things. It was even sadder that many of the newer generation had no idea they were living next to or in such a historical site. I feel that this often happens. People want to erase the horrible parts of history, but you can’t do that. People think just because it is the past that it needs to be forgotten. This is entirely untrue. Rosnay really shows that the past will continue to live with people, it is not just history to some but so ingrained that it is a part of them.
The only reason that I gave it 3 out of 4 stars is that I began to lose interest in the story towards the end. They was simply me, but it was still a great story. If you haven’t read Sarah’s Key I suggest you do. This story really opened up my eyes about a history that I had no idea about. People often assume it was just German’s involved in the atrocities, but there were other countries that believed in Hitler’s words and followed his orders.
Have you read Sarah’s Key? If so, what did you think? I would love to hear from you :-)!