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Sarah's Key was one of the best novel I have read in a long time where the suspense was thrilling, exciting, tantalizing and which made me cry at times. This is one must read books.
Set in occupied France, the Vel d’Hiv occurred in July 1942 – a Nazi decree to roundup the Jewish population and send them to concentration camps. A young girl locks her brother in a hidden cupboard and promises to return for him. The story is told both from the young girl’s perspective, as well as 60 years later from the perspective of a reporter doing a story about what happened. The two stories collide in present day, with heartache, tragedy, and even a little karma. A read for pleasure and education about a little known piece of the Holocaust puzzle. (submitted by JB)
Story about the round up of Jews in Paris in 1942 by the Paris Police, under the Nazi's instructions. A sad chapter in French history. Well written story.
In 1942, when the French police are rounding up Jews in Paris, Sarah hides her little brother in a locked cupboard. Little does Sarah know that she will never return.
This novel shifts back and forth between Nazi-occupied Paris of 1942 and one journalists investigation in 2002 of an event that happened back in 1942. Cleverly written deRosnay brings the horrors of an actual event alive and makes you which that sixty years later survivors do survive with their spirit intact. But, history cannot be changed, only learned from. And horrors can be survived physically but not always emotionally. I'd recommend this book, it provides a shocking window into France's role in the Jewish Holocaust. NF
I checked out the large print edition and was confused by so many characters and the fact the author wrote about the present then went to the past and back and forth. so many characters to keep straight. I checked out the video and it was very good and helped me with the book. I realize it is fiction and I prefer non-fiction but this story reflects what the Jews went through in Europe at the hands of the Nazis. I did enjoy the book afterall and am glad that a friend recommended it.
I wanted to love this book. Maybe it was spoiled by seeing the movie almost a year prior to reading. The story of France’s complicity with the Nazis in sending thousands of French citizens to their death was a facet of history I was unfamiliar with, and it’s a story that needs to be honoured by retelling.
However, the story came across somewhat flat to me. The historical Sarah’s story was gripping and I wish we had more of this point of view. But the modern section about Julia of this dual track plot left me skimming lines and rolling my eyes at the melodrama. I really question why Julia hangs on to Sarah’s suffering for years the way Sarah hung on to the closet key. She remains a rather static, weak character and doesn’t grow beyond the issue. Ultimately the problem is in the writing – the author repeatedly tells us how to feel, slathering us in Julia’s tears and angst. Go see the movie – it has tightened up on the book’s wanderings and the riveting acting breathes truth into the characters.
This book tells the story of a little girl during the Holocaust and a young woman in the present who learns what that little girl went through. I love the emotional investment the reader has with the characters of the novel coupled with the historical accuracy of the events. This is one of my favorite historical novels.
I enjoyed this book, because it gave me a history lesson in addition to an intriguing story. Written in the style of Dan Brown, where two unrelated story lines are started and then converge into one (about halfway through the novel). I had read another book by the same author (A Secret Kept) and also enjoyed the writing, but not the way she left the story line(s) unfinished at the end. In Sarah's Key, she was able to tie up more of the major plot lines, so left me feeling more fulfilled as a reader. I had a hard time putting this book down at night, as the chapters were short and made me want to continue on (long past my bed time).
I am usually a historical fiction fiend, but I really disliked this book. I read the entire thing as I was on a flight without a back up book and it was a quick read, but the story did not deliver. I found the protagonist annoying and the plot predictable and boring without much relation to the actual historical events. Still confused by all the hype it got....
The Vel'd'Hiv is a serious and tragic event brought to light by this historical novel--and the knowledge that this event occured makes me feel more educated and less oblivious. However--the writing was insufferable. I hated reading the book, every page. Had to do it for a book group. Under the pen of a better writer, the events of Vel-d-Hiv might have seemed less bogged down by whiny child-like lead female character and the over simplistic, lead the reader by the hand dialogue and detail. Uggh.
This was a tricky book for me to rate. It's compulsively readable -- I read it in two sittings -- and it's based on a bit of French WWII history that I personally knew nothing about. So, it should be a great read, right? Yes, it SHOULD...but I can't give it more than 3 stars because of how emotionally manipulative it was. It's told in alternating chapters linking past and present storylines, and the Holocaust storyline is, of course, horrifying and deeply sad. But certain revelations made about Sarah (the girl at the heart of the 1942 storyline) felt like they were calculated for maximum emotional impact, and the problems with Julia (the contemporary heroine) and her troubled marriage felt superficial compared to the problems faced by Sarah in the Holocaust. (And, there's a source of conflict between Julia and her husband that infuriated me, as it felt lazy and heavy-handed on the part of the author.) Also, the overall tone surrounding Julia's search for the truth about Sarah felt very self-centered, almost as if she cared more about how learning about the Holocaust made HER feel than about the people involved in it. I don't know what to say; it's an interesting book, and it's well-written in the sense that it's extremely hard to put down, AND I don't doubt that there are a lot of people who would love this and find it profoundly moving, but I can't wholeheartedly recommend it. I'm very conflicted.
Yes, this is a haunting book, but difficult to read… And not because the author lacked talent, but because it reveals the horror of Nazi occupied France, it exposes the repulsive Vel' d'Hiv episode. It left a horrific blood stain in France the Parisians were eager to hide and very sadly, few people nowadays know this story… On July of 1942, on the orders of German military authorities, French police brutally arrested all Jewish families in Paris, more than thirteen thousand people. Ironically the French called it "Operation Spring Breeze"… The official story was that they were being sent to work camps, but almost all of them perished in concentration camps. The many horrible details of this crime committed by the French are detailed in this novel. The suffering of these families, young and old, mothers, fathers, children, hurdled in sub-human conditions, treated worse than animals, unfolds in all its unbelievable, naked truth: no food or water, nowhere to sleep, no sanitary facilities. The velodrome had a glass ceiling and in the heat of summer the place became a gigantic oven. People who tried to escape were shot and some resorted to suicide. In these two days in the Velodrome d’Hiver, the French people gave the Jewish a taste of the suffering they were going to face: their final destination was none other than Auschwitz! One character in the book says: “Bringing back the past is never a good idea, especially whatever happened during the war. No one wants to be reminded of that, nobody wants to think about that.” Yet, reality demonstrates that such amnesia can be deadly. Communist gulags all over the world come to my mind. And more recently religion became a copycat to Hitler’s final solution. Adding to this the thousands of innocents guillotined by the French “revolution,” their imperialistic moves into other countries, it doesn’t seem to me the French have much of which to be proud.
I loved this book and it held my interest throughout. It's one I keep thinking about long after reading it. Highly recommend.
This is my all-time favourite book. It is sad, historically-relevant, and deeply moving. It was so moving that my thoughts recur back to it periodically, which is something that doesn't happen often with other books that I read. A must-read for all.
A fast paced story with brief chapters that alternate between the plight of the Polish-Jewish girl Sarah in 1942, told in the third person; and the rapidly tangling history uncovered by the expatriate American journalist Julia Jarmond in 2002, told in the first person. Meanwhile the reader is frantic to know the fate of young Michel - hidden in the locked closet.
I haven't devoured a book as quickly as I did in a long while. The historical facts interlacing with the story brought on many emotions. This story will hold you within its embrace until the very last word.
A very heartwarming story about the Holocaust that supports two storylines. One in the present and one during the war in Paris. I thought the modern storyline fell far short of the historical one but it was still a good book and a very interesting look at an important historical event in France.
Starting Jan 26, 2014.....Jan 27, so far this is a super easy enjoyable read, something that I kind of need right now!.....Feb 2, I'm on pg 212 of 293, still enjoying this, but in some ways reminds me of certain "romance" novels. Great info on an event that previously I was oblivious to, so well worth the read. I'm guessing it has a happy ending?....Feb 3, 2014, 3 am, just finished this, and I have to admit, I had a tear in my eye on the last page. I would recommend this book to my friends.
I thought this book to be a fantastic read. I love how the two perspectives in the book come together and how Sarah and Julia's lives intersect. Quite a page turner.
Great reading! Having an European background , I am very much interested knowing more about the events during the second world war.