Book Review – Sarah’s Key

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Sarah’s key is told from two different perspectives in two different times. One aspect of the story focuses on Sarah in 1942 and the other is from the first person perspective of Julia, an American journalist living in Paris.

Sarah was a young girl during World War II. She was a Jew and her parents were Polish but Sarah and her brother were born in France. One day in July, 1942, when Sarah was ten, the French Police began rounding up Jews at the behest of the Nazis. This round up, known as the Vel’ d’Hiv’ round up, was a real event in history. When Sarah and her family were being rounded up by the police, she told her brother to hide and promised that she would come back from him.
Sixty years later, Julia is investigating this shocking historical event and uncovers a link between her in laws and Sarah’s story.

The part of the story which focused on Sarah, always had my thorough interest and I was particularly interested because this was a true historical event, one which I had never heard of at all and was extremely shocking so I wanted to learn more about it. Each step of Sarah’s torturous and arduous journey was riveting and I was well and truly invested in her story.
However, the other aspect of the book, the chapters about Julia, were much less intriguing for me. It was interesting as she began to uncover the link between Sarah and her in laws and the build up around that aspect of the story was intriguing. However, that was only a shadow of Julia’s chapters. The rest was focused on her problems with her arrogant and selfish French husband which I had little care or interest in and quite frankly did not sign up for or expect when I started this book. Julia as a character did not appeal to me and I was very disappointed when, around halfway through the book Sarah’s chapters discontinued and the focus was solely on Julia.
I continued reading as that was the only way to discover the rest of Sarah’s story; through Julia’s investigations.

The ending of Julia’s story felt very forced and did not feel natural at all. If it were not for Sarah’s aspect of the story and the fact that it was very interesting to learn about the true historical event, I doubt I would have finished the book. The book would have been amazing if it focused solely on Sarah or at least more predominantly.

Rating: 6/10

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4 comments

  1. I really loved this book, but I do agree with you that the parts about Sarah were more interesting. I still have a visceral reaction anytime I remember *that part* (anyone who’s read this will know which part I’m talking about). Like most books about this time period—absolutely heart-breaking.

    Liked by 1 person

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