Book Title: Sarah’s Key
Author: Tatiana De Rosney
Series Name: N/A
Genre: Historical, War, Holocaust
Published: Sept 2006
Star Rating: ★★★★
Guest Post Author: Melisa
Melisa’s blog: Wandering and Reading One Day at a Time
Welcome to another audition to Berg’s Book Club. This post is actually different to my normal Berg’s Book Club Posts as I am joined here with Melissa from Wandering & Reading One Day At A Time. Melissa is going to review Sarah’s Key
Melissa has kindly agreed to write a guest post reviewing a book in one of her favourite genres: War with the subgenre of The Holocaust.
The book she is reviewing is Sarah’s Key. Berg and I enjoyed it, I hope you will too.
He seems to have cheered up from last week at any rate.
The question is, is Little One reading to Berg, or is she fast asleep?
Sarah’s Key Book Review
Sarah’s Key follows two very different storylines. We start by following 10-year-old Sarah, living in Paris, France during WWII with her parents and her little brother. The French police arrest Sarah, her parents and other Jewish members of Paris in July 1942; known as the Veh’d’Hiv round-up. Sarah keeps her brother safe by locking him in a cupboard.
63 years later, Julia, a 45-year-old journalist must write a story about the Vel’ d’Hiv’ and what happened near the anniversary of the roundup.
Through her research, Julia learns about Sarah’s story and the connection it has with her French family. A story that will change Julia’s life and her family’s life forever.
If you follow my blog, you know I read a lot about WWI and WWII. In fact, this is the 7th book this year alone that follows different stories as it relates to WWII. I’ve read about Italy, Russia, Poland, Germany and now France. Each with a totally different perspective on the war, but all with the same outcome — pain.
I read a lot on WWII because it’s always about an event that I didn’t read about in school and I feel like I can’t fully grasp everything that happened without reading these stories. This is a significant plot in Sarah’s Key. People have forgotten, or they just don’t know about events that took place in France. That story line never leaves this book, it follows to the very end and becomes an important reminder to never forget.
This story reminded me a lot Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah and Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum in the sense that we follow two different storylines and see them diverge together. If you’ve read them and enjoyed them, I bet this would be another one you would enjoy. But that’s where the similarities end.
De Rosney finds a way to break your heart in more pieces than you thought imaginable. I have read a lot of stories on WWII, I thought I’ve read it all (how very wrong was I). This story doesn’t falter in its detail of the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup and the events that followed, it shows the inhumanity and the goodness all on one page. It speaks of the heroes and survivors. It reminds us that even after the War, peoples’ lives changed, never to be the same again. For some people, it’s easier to forget than remember what happened.
Moreover, I found the beginning of this story interesting. For most of Sarah’s chapters, we do not know her name—the title is the only hint as to who she is. The book refers to her as ‘the girl’. Dehumanised like many of the Jews during WWII. For some reason, this resonated more to me than anything else. It was a sad reminder of what people had to endure.
For more information on the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, you can go to this link.
Likes and Dislikes
Julia is determined to remember the past and encourage others to do the same. Once she knows the story of the roundup and the French police involvement, Julia can’t stop thinking about the children and adults who perished. This is no longer a story for a journalist but a story for Julia and Julia alone, a story she must find the ending to, without she feels hollow. Julia’s determination comes from her wish to help survivoHer determination is one that is admirable. She doesn’t see these events as just that, she sees it for what it was.
My only critique of this story was all the involvement of Julia’s family. I actually enjoyed the family mystery and how it connected back to Sarah. It was interesting, it was a mystery and there were twists and turns I didn’t see coming. What I didn’t like was what I felt
Have you read Sarah’s Key? Or any of the other stories listed above? If so, comment below!
Overall Rating: 4/5 stars
Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to look at Melissa’s blog for more book reviews. And do let me know if you want to write a guest blog through here, facebook or twitter @littleseabear.
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Categories: Berg's Book Club