I stumbled across Sarah’s Key while searching for the recently published book The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay. I have yet to procure a copy of that book, but I figured there is no harm in reading another book by the same author. I wouldn’t call this book your typical summer beach read (though that is where I read most of this book). Sarah’s Key is a very stirring and emotional tale.
The book starts off in present day, well 2002, Paris where we meet American Journalist Julia Jarmond and her family. Julia has just been given the assignment to write about the tragic events of Vel’ de’ Hiv. An event that took place during the war in July of 1942. An event that has been overlooked and ignored by the French because of its brutal treatment of Jews, specifically children. Julia soon finds herself obsessed with this story. Through a bizarre link of events finds that her life is connected to the people whose story she is writing about.
As we follow Julia’s path of discovery, we also follow Sarah’s story. Sarah was one of the children who were rounded up along with their families. As they were being taken, Sarah locks her brother in a hidden cabinet thinking she will be back soon enough to let him out. It soon becomes very clear that despite the fact that the French police are in charge rather than the Germans, this is much more serious than anyone could have imagined. All while Sarah is held captive, her concern lies with her little brother locked in the cabinet. This concern finally pushes her to act and brings on a daring chain of events that begin with escaping a prison camp.
This book is very well written. Despite it’s heavy, tragic topic, I found the book was easy to read. The switching between two story lines every other chapter added depth to the merging of the two stories later in the book.
I have also discovered that the book has been made into a movie. Even better, this movie is on Netflix. The only downside it that the movie is in French (which I don’t speak). I’ll either have to learn French in the next couple days, or set aside all projects and watch with subtitles!