Book: Sarah’s Key
Author: Tatiana De Rosnay
Challenge: Orbis Terrarum Challenge
My Review: Yet another powerful book set during WWII. Very moving and a must read!
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
I knew I’d like Sarah’s Key. I knew it from the very first time I saw a review of it in one of the book blogs. And then practically everyone read “Sarah’s Key” and I kept reading all the reviews and loving the book even more. I don’t why I waited for so long to pick the book up.
Is it possible to love a book that describes atrocities committed in the past? Is it possible to love a book in spite of the descriptions of the pain and the torture that people had to go through? What is it about these books? They make me cry and they leave me feeling useless and helpless and almost guilty for having a perfectly normal life. And yet, I love them. I hunt them down with a vengeance. I consciously stayed away from the World War II Challenge because I knew I’d read more than enough books for it and it somehow doesn’t feel right to “enjoy” those books. I hope I am not rambling and I hope you get what I am trying to say here. I know a lot of you love reading books set during World War II and the holocaust. How do you feel when you read those books? Do they tear you apart? I know they do that to me!
Anyway, Sarah’s Key starts off as two separate stories and in the middle of the book, the two stories merge. The first story is set in France during World War II. It is set against the backdrop of the round up at The Velodrome d’hiver on July 16, 1942 – a massive round up of Jewish families in France by the French Police themselves. Before they were sent to the camps at Auschwitz, the families were kept in the Vel d’Hiv under very deplorable conditions. Sarah is a young girl, whose family is also part of the round up. Before leaving her house, Sarah locks her brother in a secret cupboard and leaves the house assuring him that she’ll come back soon to let him out.
Sixty years later, Julia Jarmond is assigned to do a story on the Vel d’Hiv round up and she comes across the story of Sarah Starzynski. At this point, the two individual stories – one narrated by Sarah and the other by Julia merge into one. And it was at this point, that the book started getting a little slow for me. The horrors associated with Vel d’Hiv are replaced by Julia’s personal fights against her dominating husband and her quest for Sarah. Don’t get me wrong here. I don’t mean to say that I didn’t enjoy the book. I enjoyed it very much but I can’t help thinking that in the end, the book was more about Julia than about Sarah and that wasn’t what I was expecting.
I know many of you have already read this book. What did you think of it? Share your views with me! If you haven’t read Sarah’s Key, I would definitely encourage you to read it. It is a fast moving contemporary fiction with a touch of history. Perfect for even those who do not like books that deal wholly with World War II.