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Sarah's Key

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  291,215 ratings  ·  24,151 reviews
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 French 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 in
Paperback, 293 pages
Published 2007 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2006)
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Laura Harrison I would say 15 and up. The book is pretty disturbing all around. I would skip it entirely for a young adult to read. Especially if the reader is…moreI would say 15 and up. The book is pretty disturbing all around. I would skip it entirely for a young adult to read. Especially if the reader is sensitive. (less)
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Paul Peterson I would say she didn't let him continue to cheat. Like Les said, she thought he had cut that affair off. I believe it may also be alluded to in the…moreI would say she didn't let him continue to cheat. Like Les said, she thought he had cut that affair off. I believe it may also be alluded to in the book that in Europe, extramarital affairs are more expected, admitted and accepted than here. Hence, the European puzzlement over our Clinton/Lewinsky scandal back in the day. Maybe she was trying to fit in a little better?(less)
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4th out of 511 books — 464 voters
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It should never be forgotten

By Sol Tetelbaum

Review: Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Almost a hundred readers published their reviews on Tatiana de Rosnay’s novel Sarah’s Key. Most of them rated the book in four or five stars, but some of them calling the novel “mediocre” showed a lower rating – three stars. It is necessary to admit that their opinions weren’t unfounded and most critical comments were fair. However, from my standpoint, despite the fair critical comments (I don’t think it is nec
I was intrigued by the plot for this book. A young girl locks her brother in a cupboard at their apartment in Paris before the Police, at the behest of the Nazi's, take away her and her family. They wait for several days in a detention center, in conditions like the Superdome, before being sent to camps in Southern France, and we wonder if she will retrieve her little brother before he dies or starves or hopefully, is rescued. Unfortunately, another storyline involving a two dimensional American ...more
I might have given this book higher marks if I hadn't just finished the infinitely superior The Book Thief. But as it is I'm feeling pretty generous with my 2 stars. The subject matter was intriguing. I didn't realize what had happened with the Jews in France. But the author spent too little time with Sarah and her experience there and too much time with boring, self-absorbed, present day Julia and her sex life. Snore!
October 2009: re-reading this book again for another book club. I hope I like it better than the 1st time but so far I'm not seeing it. Why would she use a word like "ingurgitating" when you can say "ate"?? That kind of writing irritates me a lot. The true story is heartbreaking, and very interesting, but her writing just doesn't impress me as expressing the true horrors experienced by the deported Jews, or any real feeling for Julia's anger at her husband disdainful treatment of her.

Spring 200
*spoilers!!! Lots of spoilers. Don't read this.*

disclaimer: This is a review of the book, Sarah's Key, and not the Holocaust. (I give the Holocaust negative infinity stars, if you were wondering.)

Fuck you Sarah's Key, you manipulative sonofabitching asshole. How dare you make me feel like this at Christmas?! Dead baby brother in a cupboard?! Really?! Gassing the parents at Auschwitz wasn't enough? I don’t give a goddamn what you throw at me for the rest of the story. I WILL NOT CRY AFTER THAT BU
Aug 26, 2008 Sandi rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Sandi by: First Reads
I finished "Sarah's Key" this morning and I have so many thoughts going through my head about it. I loved the pacing of the story, how it switched between Sarah's story and Julia's story up until the point where the two merged. I loved how the style of Sarah's story was completely different than the style of Julia's story. I loved how both stories made me cry, even though I knew what was coming. I loved how realistically the characters were portrayed. Nobody was all good or all bad, just human w ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Mar 16, 2009 Jeanette "Astute Crabbist" rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Jeanette by: Tyra
3 1/2 stars

This author grew up in France and was never taught at school about the French complicity in rounding up Jews for the Nazis. When she discovered information about the Vel' D'Hiv' roundup, she knew she had to write about it. The book is her tribute to the 4,000 children who were victims of that roundup.
I cried for these little people. They were robbed of their chance at life before it ever really got started. Bad enough that they were killed, but before that, they were left in the Fren
Joy H.
Added 11/8/09.

In _Sarah's Key_ the chapters alternate between the war era and the time sixty years later. We watch as a reporter tries to find out more about what happened during the 1942 round-up of Jewish people in France (known as the "Vel' d’Hiv’ Roundup") (Vélodrome d'Hiver). We also watch the actual round-up as it is happening. The alternating views keep you reading as the suspense builds up.

This is a heartbreaking piece of fiction. It brings home the horror of those Holocaust days and war
I agree with Katie on this one. I did not enjoy this book. It tells two stories -- one, about a young French girl whose family is rounded up and taken away during the Holocaust, and the other about a modern-day journalist who is tracking down her story. Julia, the contemporary narrator, was self-obsessed, clueless and downright annoying. I couldn't stand her husband, or even her perfect little kid, for that matter. It made it hard to root for them because they were just so unlikeable. The premis ...more
Dan Schwent
Reporter Julia Jarmond is investigating the events of 1942, when French authorities rounded up the Jews of the cities and put them in concentration camps, an investigation that uncovers links to her husband's family. But how will her tale intersect with that of the title character, a 10 year old girl separated from her family during the 1942 roundup?

First off, this is not something I would pick for myself. However, in the aftermath of a dinner featuring the best biscuits and gravy I've ever had,
Let me start off by saying I could not put this book down. I must also say, that this book ripped my heart into tiny pieces and I'm not sure I'll ever be the same. Really. Maybe it's because I'm a mom or maybe I'm just an incredibly sensitive person. But I now have images in my brain that will never leave.

Sarah's Key takes place in France - switching between the modern day and the early days of World War II. I really like books like this, and I think the author did a fine job of transitioning us
3.5 stars. A little predictable and melodramatic for a subject that doesn't need anyone playing with your emotions, but still a solid read. It was interesting learning about the French police involvement in the round up of Jews in what was the first deportation of women and children. I was left with not only a sadness for all those families torn from their lives and torn apart, but also for the lost culture and religion for the survivors. Children hidden and raised as Christian children, childre ...more
Lisa Vegan
Aug 25, 2008 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all who enjoy holocaust literature, historical fiction novels, well crafted novels
I wasn’t sure how the back and forth chapters between one girl in 1942 and a different woman in 2002 were going to work for me, but this story is so well told.

I thought I’d be interested in the 1942 story but wasn’t sure how much I’d become involved with the 2002 story, but much to my relief I enjoyed both stories, although I did think Sarah’s 1942 story was slightly stronger than Julia’s 2002 story. However, I do think my favorite character might be Zoe from the 2002 story.

Reading this was chil
This is one of those books with an interesting idea that was executed very poorly. It's always disappointing to read books like this because I can't help but think with every wrong turn, every cringe worthy sentence that this could have been so much better in a capable writer's hands.

First off, as I said, it's a very interesting idea. The basic story of Sarah is intriguing and the story of the Vel' d'Hiv' children should be read. However, de Rosnay just doesn't pull it off. She simply is not a
Two horrible situations form the premise of this novel. The first is the factual story of the French roundup of the Jews during World War II, which took place in Paris under the auspices of the French Police. It was the French Police, not the Nazis, who dragged French Jews from their homes, separated parents from children, and sent them on to their deaths, all of which was witnessed by French citizens who did little to stop these horrific events. Because so few people are aware of this chapter o ...more
Julia Jarmond, an American journalist living in Paris, is assigned to cover the upcoming 60th anniversary of the Vel 'd 'Hiv, the day French Jews were arrested in the "roundup," and ultimately sent to the death camps in Auschwitz. She becomes obsessed with what she learns, particularly about the fate of one young girl and her family.

I found the story extraordinary on several levels. First, I was unaware of this historic event and found it astounding that so little is ever mentioned of France's
If I'm going to read hundreds of pages past the horrifying situation set up at the beginning of this book, the writing's going to need to be more than sub-par. Telling me that characters are interesting and complex instead of self-indulgent and one-dimensional doesn't make it so.

Don't tell me you actually drove me away from a Holocaust book, de Rosnay. That's pretty hard to do.

File under "Life's too short to read this book," please.
From the first page to the end I was mesmerized. The two stories intertwined in a believable way as journalist, Julia, learns about the horrific "round up" of French Jews during the war. Something I knew nothing about and can see why it is a dark stain in the history of France. de Rosnay must have done a lot of research but she tells the true facts through the story of Sarah, a 10 year old who is captured and loses her whole family....then all traces of her just dissolve. She makes this awful e ...more
I struggled whether to give this a two-star rating rather than a three. I enjoyed reading it, but I didn't read it very thoroughly. I would find myself really blazing through some sentences so that I could discover where the plot was headed (what happened to the boy locked in the cupboard when the rest of his family was dragged off?). The book needed better characterization---I didn't really CARE about the main character (an American journalist who lives in Paris in the current day). The idea of ...more
Tea Jovanović
Knjiga koja govori o istinitom dogadjaju koji se zbio tokom Drugog svetskog rata u Parizu, o kome se kod nas malo zna... Kada su Francuzi pokupili Jevreje, zatvorili ih na velodrom i poslali ih u konc. logor... Potresno, prosvetljujuće i guta se u dahu... Kod nas je objavljena pod naslovom Sarin ključ...
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This was a fantastic read from start to finish and I really LOVED IT.
In 1942, thousands of Jewish children, men and women were herded into a stadium in Paris the Vel' d'Hiv by the French police. Here people were given hardly any water or food for days as a result many died and some actually committed suicide.
So when the police come to take Sarah's family her four year old brother Michael hides in a secret cupboard. Sarah locks him in and tells him she promises she'll be back for him later.

Four hundred and fifty French policemen in Occupied France, obeying the demands of the Nazis, arrested 10,000 Jewish men, women, and children on July 16, 1942 and brought them to the Velodrome d'Hiver stadium. This would begin the process of their extermination.

Who can unlock the soul of Frenchmen who facilitated the emptying of Jewish homes, denied them food, water and sanitation in the Velodrome for days, drove the buses and trains that delivered them to a nearby internment camp, separated mot

This book is breaking my heart, but I can't put it down. It is definitely one that will stick with me for a very long time.
Loved how the story went back and forth between past and present and how they intercept with each other. The story presented history that I was unaware happened as part of the Holocaust. The story is heartbreaking. It took a little time to get engaged in the book but then it was hard to put down. Great read!
Sep 25, 2013 Dave rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
This story is in two parts; one about a Jewish girl who escapes from going to Auschwitz concentration camp and the second is the story of a present day journalist named Julia investigating the history of the girl.

Julia's story is like chewing tough meat. Listening to this immature, superficial, self absorbed woman rattle on about her failing marriage, her unwanted pregnancy (by her husband), and life in general is enough to make you want to take a healthy dose of rat poison. It sounded much like
Actual Rating: 3.5

I loved Sarah's chapters and the history element overall. It was so haunting and genuinely made me feel so much. It was devastating what she went through and what happened to her family. I was convinced from these chapters alone that I'd be giving this book a high rating, but the rest of the book let it down for me personally.

I really struggled with Julia's chapters. Something never clicked with me. I skimmed some parts, just wanting to know about Sarah. I never liked her husb
It is only within the past few years that I have read much on the Holocaust. It was too despicable,shameful what happened. I could not bear the mental images that came with reading a book filled with such hate,despair and sorrow. Then I read Night by Elie Wiesel. I was challenged to remember, to not allow myself to forget. For when we turn away from such inhumanity, to forget, we are doomed to repeat it.
Sarah's Key was haunting yet beautiful.So filled with sadness but yet hopeful. The story was
Sep 14, 2009 Jen rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those needing a good cry and some boots made for walking
A few years ago my man came home from work and tried to refuse to tell me a story he came across while editing criminal justice materials and websites. Well. Of course I played Delilah to his Samson, begging him every which way to tell me his secret. Finally, he did. Here is the story.

A woman, a mother, went away on a trip and left her diapered baby in the crib. Just left. No food. No sitter. No anything. Just left. I can't say "just left" enough. For seven days.

And that, right there, is why
I loved the idea of this book and Sarah's chapters were great but I pretty much skimmed over Julia's chapters after about 4 of them. Once Sarah's chapters were over (which happened much too soon) I skipped whole pages because I just didn't care. Julia's chapters ruined what could have been a great story. Maybe if I were a middle aged woman, I would have loved this book...?

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Sarah's Key Book Review 23 1217 Sep 30, 2015 09:42AM  
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"Manderley Forever", my biography of Daphne du Maurier is published in France and will be published in other countries next year.
"A Paris Affair" ("Son Carnet Rouge") will be published in the USA in July 2015 and in the Netherlands.

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“When would he realize that it wasn't his infidelity I couldn't bear, but his cowardice?” 103 likes
“You get attached to places, you know. Like people, I suppose.” 81 likes
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