Tatiana De Rosnay
Historical Fiction, Contemporary
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 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.
I know what you're thinking- but Esty, how can it be historical AND a contemporary? So Sarah's Key alternates between the story of Sarah Starzinsky in July '42 and the journalist Julia Jarmond (say that five times fast with a French accent) in modern day Pareee.
It's a very famous book with a very famous plotline- it's right in the synopsis, so it's not even a spoiler. Little do they know, that incident is just the beginning of both Sarah's and Julia's journey. At first I thought putting in the modern day person who all of a sudden developes a close interest to an event and telling the story through her is a bit cliche. I was pleasently surprised to discover that it's more like Julia's story with her deriving inspiration from Sarah.
Throughout the time I read this wonderful novel, I felt myself drawn to these characters- I wanted so bad for them to catch a break and for everything to be okay. I knew nearly nothing about the Vil de Hiv roundup of the French Jews, and found the whole book a very educating experience. It wasn't written heavily, I'd like to add. However, if you're fully able to comprehend the horrors of the event, it will weigh on your heart, as it should. I firmly believe the tragic holocausts of the past musn't be shrugged off because they're emotionally hard for us- it could just as easily been any one of us, and we owe it to them.
Pacing was a little slow for my taste. Other than that, beautiful writing.
I'm currently in the States for the summer and been to Barnes and Noble. Talk about tears of emotion. Visiting family and friends all over, and unfortunately that means hours and hours of planes, buses, and trains. On the bright side, lots of reading time!