Friday, May 27, 2011

Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay

   This novel tells the story of ten year-old Sarah, whose family is arrested and sent to concentration camps in July of 1942, during the Vel' d'Hiv roundup. But before she leaves, Sarah quickly hides her brother in a cupboard in their home and promises to come back for him.

   The rest of the novel alternates between Sarah's story and that of Julia Jarmond, an American woman living and working in Paris. Julia is a journalist and when she begins researching the 1942 roundups for an article, she quickly discovers bits and pieces of Sarah's story. When she realizes that her own family's history is connected to Sarah's, she digs deeper to uncover the truth.

   I found this book to be incredibly sad for obvious reasons, but a great work of historical fiction nonetheless. Tatiana de Rosnay does a wonderful job weaving together the two stories of Sarah and Julia (and it's very interesting when they finally converge). Also, it's really easy to get lost in the story because it reads like a mystery - we only find out the truth about Sarah as Julia does. Sarah's Key offers insight into a lesser studied piece of Holocaust history, and though Sarah's story is fictionalized, the heartbreaking and tragic aspects of the novel are very much based in reality.