Carolyn's Reviews > Sarah's Key

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
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's review
Jan 21, 12

bookshelves: historical-fiction, history
Read in January, 2012

This book consists of two stories intertwined: a fictional account of Sarah, a young Jewish girl who escaped a French internment camp for Jews rounded up on July 16, 1942 in Paris, and the story of Julia Jarmond, an American journalist living in Paris, who uncovers the mysterious and tragic story of Sarah.

The story of Sarah is compelling and powerful. The shameful Velodrome d'Hiver round-up, conducted by the French police of the Vichy government, was denied and hidden by the French for decades. The historical aspect of the novel is exceptionally good and completely riveting as is the tragedy of Sarah, her family, and the 11,000 murdered Jews, 4000 of whom were young children.

However, the story of Julia is much weaker, with poor characterization of her arrogant French family, particularly her French husband, who was portrayed in an especially heavy-handed way.

The book would have been greatly improved had the story focused more on the Sarah story and used the modern story of Julia as simply a vehicle for telling Sarah's story.

I couldn't put the book down, but I can't rate it higher because of the weakness of the modern story. I do, however, highly recommend reading it for its historical impact and wrenching portrayal of Sarah.
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Mary I read this a few days ago and was absolutely enthralled with Sarah and her life. I agree with you about the inclusion of Julia's story and marriage. Her side was a distraction from the real story of the Velodrome d'Hiver roundup.

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