Sarah’s Key

Book: Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Publishing Info: Published by St. Martin’s Press; 294; Hardcover

Goodreads Summary: Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family’s apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.

Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France’s past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl’s ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d’Hiv’, to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah’s past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.

I’m so torn about what to think about this book.  I love Sarah’s half of the book, and didn’t really care about Julia’s half, other than to find out what happened to Sarah.

Sarah’s half was powerful and compelling, and I wanted to know more about what happened to her, her parents, and her brother.  I felt for Sarah, and I want to know more about the Vel d’Hiv roundup.

What lost me, though, was Julia’s story.  I didn’t really care about her or her marital problems.  And the connection between her and Sarah?  It didn’t feel very believable.  It’s almost like de Rosnay decided that the only way to connect the two women was to have Julia’s in-laws live in the apartment that Sarah’s family lived in.

The ending was especially annoying, and I didn’t really care that Julia was divorced or living in New York.  It was no surprise that she named her 2nd daughter Sarah- the second Julia found out she was pregnant (and not sure if she wanted to keep the baby) I knew 2 things.  One, she would keep it, and two, her baby would be a girl so she could name her Sarah.

Anyway, it went from a really interesting and captivating story, and turned into something completely stupid once Sarah got back to her old house.  If only de Rosnay had focused more on Sarah, instead of having Julia figure out what happened to her…

I really wish I could give it 2 different ratings- one for Sarah and one for Julia.  But since I can’t do that, I’ll give it a 3 out of 5.

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