Sarah's Key- Tatiana de Rosnay
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've read quite a bit of fiction and nonfiction concerning the Holocaust, but this one was the first that I've read about the Vel d'Hiv' roundup, that happened in Paris in 1942. The subject is hard to read about whether it's fiction or not, because you know that though the people in story weren't real, the situation was. This was a sad, heartbreaking story, and like all the other books I've read on the Holocaust, I was touched deeply.
The book is about the Vel d'Hiv', Sarah who lived through it, and Julia Jarmond, who 60 years later is writing a column about it. The book rotates chapters between Sarah and Julia. Sarah's story starts off on the night her family and her were taken from there home, and Julia's story begins with getting the Vel d'Hiv assignment. Julia has no idea, her present will entwine with Sarah's past. The rotating of chapters does not last through the whole book, a little more than halfway through, Julia takes over the story. I was disappointed when that happen, because I was drawn more to Sarah's story, and would find myself hurrying through Julia's chapters just to get to Sarah's. I read on though, because I needed to find out what happen to Sarah.
Sarah's Key was a really great book, about a horrible time in history. When you read books like these there really aren't nice endings.