Book Concierge's Reviews > Sarah's Key

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
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May 17, 14

Read in November, 2010

** spoiler alert ** The book is told in alternating chapters – Sarah Starzynski, her parents and younger brother in Paris and environs during WW 2, and Julia Jarmond Tezac, an American living in Paris in 2002.

Sarah and her parents were rounded up in August 1942 by the French police on orders of the occupying Nazi regime. They were held for about a week at the velodrome stadium – without food, water, toilets, beds. They were then sent via train to a detention camp, and some time later divided. Her parents are sent directly to Auschwitz (where they will be gassed), but Sarah escapes the camp and finds refuge with an elderly farm couple.

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Meantime Julia Jarmond has been given an assignment to write about the Vel’ d’Hiv’ for the 60th anniversary commemoration. She’s an American who has been in Paris for about 25 years, but has never heard of the event. She becomes obsessed with the story, and when she discovers that her husband’s family moved to the apartment the day after Sarah’s family “vacated” it, she doubles her efforts to find the truth.

I was completely mesmerized by the story for the first 160 pages, because the chapters alternate between Julia’s search for the truth, and what is happening to Sarah 60 years earlier. But after Sarah returns to the apartment we no longer hear from her. The rest of the book focuses on Julia, and frankly descends into a chick lit romance drama.

I thought The True Story of Hansel and Gretel , The Book Thief , and Suite Francaise were all much better books dealing with the Holocaust.
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Sidna I agree that Suite Francaise is a better book, but I liked this book better than The Book Thief. The Book Thief was a disappointment to me and I have to lead a discussion on it at my book club in January.


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