Sarah’s Key is a novel that spans two different times and two different realities. One view is that of Sarah. She is a ten year old girl living in Paris. Her story begins in July of the year 1942 when she and her parents are taken from their homes by the French police who were going to every door and arresting families who were Jewish during the night. When the police came knocking on Sarah’s door, she only wanted to protect her younger brother so she locked him in a cupboard hidden in their bedroom promising to come back for him. It was their secret hiding place.
The other view of the story takes place sixty years later when an American journalist, living in Paris, begins to investigate the Vel D’Hiv roundup. Julia Jarmond unearths secrets that bring her to Sarah past and her own future. The novel goes back and forth between the two stories, linking them through time.
Sarah’s Key is written with such intensity and suspense. There are rich descriptives on every page, making you feel as though you were living there. The rich history is intriguing and sorrowful. It’s heartbreaking to know that people suffered these horrors and the few survivors had to live with their loss. That is something one could never forget and it would change a person forever.
Tatiana de Rosnay’s writing style is impeccable. She has filled each page with so much detail and history. Even after putting the book down, the story stays with you. The characters were so real that I felt I knew them personally and their stories made my heart ache. The author did a good job of explaining the conditions and the treatment of the Jewish community during the Holocaust and the role the French played in July 1942. She helps explain from the characters points of view why so many people living in France have forgotten what happened or did not even know about it. Before reading this book, I had no idea that so much had happened in France during the Holocaust. I learned about the roundup as I read.
This story is rich in history and so engaging that you almost forget it is a work of fiction. I would highly recommend picking up this book and learning a bit more while reading for pleasure. This story highlights why it is so important to remember our past and to never forget.