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Sarah's Key

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  335,209 Ratings  ·  26,009 Reviews
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 ab
Hardcover, 294 pages
Published June 12th 2007 by St. Martin's Press (first published September 2006)
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Kitten Black I am 14 and feel like I read this book too early. There were many suggestive lines and swears throughout the book. I would say high school and up.
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Community Reviews

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Mar 14, 2015 Sol rated it really liked it
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
Sep 30, 2009 Molly rated it did not like it
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
Mar 04, 2009 Teri rated it it was ok
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!
Oct 22, 2009 Carol rated it did not like it
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 really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 03, 2010 Kim rated it it was ok
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
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Mar 16, 2009 Jeanette "Astute Crabbist" rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mandy Crider
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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,
Dec 13, 2011 Annalisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 18, 2012 Grace rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii, books-to-movies
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
Lisa Vegan
Aug 25, 2008 Lisa Vegan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Parts of this novel rate a 5 and parts of it a 2, so I'm giving it 3.5 stars. This is a dual-timeline historical fiction novel, about the arrests of Jewish families in France during WWII and their terrible experiences, focusing on the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup in July 1942, and a modern journalist's investigation of that event and her search for some of the people involved.

The inside of the Vélodrome d'Hiver bicycle stadium, demolished in 1959

In the 1942 timeline, in Paris: a 10 year old girl is arres
Jun 28, 2008 Hara rated it it was ok
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
Tea Jovanović
Dec 17, 2013 Tea Jovanović rated it it was amazing
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...
Megan Baxter
May 19, 2014 Megan Baxter rated it it was ok
Let me try to explain why I didn't like this book very much. I believe one of the sales quotes on the back of the book can help me communicate why. Keep in mind that this is, at least in part, a book about French complicity in the Holocaust:

"Sarah's Key unlocks the star-crossed, heart-thumping story of an American journalist in Paris and the sixty-year-old secret that could destroy her marriage."

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and en
Chris Horsefield
World War II and its legacy in France, and a project on the "rafle du Vel d'Hiv"- the massive round-up of Jews that took place in Paris on July 16th, 1942. The story is haunting, and interesting, as we follow it in flashbacks. I am doing an annotated bibliography of books on the subject for my seminar project. This story will appeal to my younger students, teaching them at the same time of this shameful episode of French collaboration with the German occupiers, under the Vichy government. Franc ...more
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
Feb 09, 2008 Angie rated it liked it
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
Sep 02, 2008 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten*
This was such a beautifully told story. The overlapping timelines were handled so well and the story itself seemed to take on a new life as it moved more into the contemporary sphere, emerging from the past. Julia and Bertrand's relationship reminded me of Sophie and Victor from Letters to Juliet -- although I would still pick Victor over Bertrand (view spoiler). I very much enjoyed (if you can call it t ...more
Oct 16, 2013 Sharon rated it it was amazing
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.

Sep 25, 2013 Dave rated it did not like it  ·  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
Feb 15, 2016 Claudia rated it it was amazing

A story that you cant put down, and stays in your mind long after finished. The story is very good.
Let me tell you a few facts, that I did not know before.

16 u. 17. Juli 1942
mass raids in Paris
-nearly 13000 Jewish
- about 5800 women
- over 4000 kids between 2 and 16 years old

They were interned in Velodrome dHiver. Then they would taken to a transit camp before Paris. There were isolated children from her mothers. As of August 17, 1942, the children were brought in a wretched condition to Auschwit
Sep 21, 2012 Sara rated it it was amazing

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.
Christine Roberts
What a book. What an incredible, indelible, amazing book. I devoured it in one day, over the course of about 9 hours, and cannot believe it's over.
I'm not really sure what to say about it, how to describe what a wonder it is. Like The Book Thief or Sophie's Choice, it leaves a mark on your brain, on your very soul. This is why books are read, why books are written. Just pure perfection.
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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?” 111 likes
“You get attached to places, you know. Like people, I suppose.” 86 likes
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