Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Sarah's KeySarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Published 2007
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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.

“How was it possible that entire lives could change, could be destroyed, and that streets and buildings remained the same, she wondered.”  

There are so many thoughts going through my mind upon finishing this novel. It was so heartbreaking, which I knew it would be going into the novel. I loved how the stories of Sarah and Julia intertwined.

The chapters alternate between the war era and sixty years later. We watch as Julia, a journalist, tries to find out more about what happened during the 1942 round-up of Jewish people in France. Readers also get to see the roundup as it is happening through the eyes of young Sarah. I much preferred Sarah’s story, even though I feel a tad awful saying that considering it was so horrific.

It is just so horrible to think about what the Jews, and others who were targeted during the Holocaust, went through. But events such as the Holocaust must not be forgotten. Even though this is not a real personal account of someone’s experience in the Holocaust, while reading this novel, you tend to forget that. Yes, Sarah is not real, but it feels like she is. Of the millions who died so tragically and those who managed to survive, one can imagine there were people who really went through something similar to what this fictional little girl had. And that’s what makes this story so heartbreaking, that real people suffered this way.

Julia’s story was just okay. I found myself wanting to get through her chapters just so I can go back to Sarah and read her parts. However, I felt extremely bad for her because, quite frankly, her husband was a complete arse. There were so many times I wished for evil things to happen to that man…I really cannot go into why I dislike this man, Bertrand, so much without giving a lot away but just trust me on this, if you read the book I am sure you will not be a huge fan of him either. I also was not sure I liked how the novel ended. I feel like it seemed maybe a bit rushed, like there were things left unexplained or unsaid.

Overall, this book is heartbreaking, there’s no denying that. I thoroughly enjoyed it, though I really would have loved more Sarah and less Julia.

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