Sarah’s Key

Thoughts and Links Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay, St. Martin’s Griffin 2007, 293 pages

My bookclub chose this for December’s discussion;  we meet on the 30th.  According to my goodreads.com, I tbr’d this after reading Lisa’s review at Books on the Brain.    I quote Lisa here as she initially describes this book as:

“…   a brilliant and beautiful novel about a horrific and under-reported event that took place during WWII, the Vel’d’Hiv’ roundup of more than 13,000 French Jews in Paris by the French police. Told alternately from Sarah’s point of view in 1942 and that of Julia Jarmond, a modern day American journalist researching the event for it’s 60th anniversary, Ms. de Rosnay seamlessly weaves the two stories together.”

Lisa also explains something that I noted;  we don’t learn Sarah’s name while she is enduring the forced leave of her home, her life, her family – until she is finally treated like a human being.    Do read the questions that Lisa’s book club were able to ask the author in this post of the interview with Tatiana de Rosnay.

When I was able to borrow this from my friend KB before I left on vacation, I was told that everyone so far was in LOVE with IT!     I wonder if that over-hyped my expectations because, I have to admit, I didn’t love it as much as I had hoped.   I don’t know what it is but I am extremely critical and picky of books lately that feature women in a contemporary setting.    I didn’t much care for the Julia Jarmond character who was finding out how her husband’s family was linked to Sarah;  I was not as into her side of the narrative but very much appreciated Sarah’s story and learning about the horrendous treatment of the French Jews during WWII.

I must direct you to an eloquent review written by Marie of Boston Bibliophile.     I agreed and shared her assessment on all points.    In her words as she discusses her interest in reading books about the Holocaust in France:

Sarah’s Key is a worthwhile, if imperfect, entry nonetheless, and will doubtless appeal to many readers for its quick pace, its light tone and its unusual subject matter.”

And one more review I found by jumping from comments to posts above was this one by Steve of the Jewish Literary Review:  Two Families, Linked by Death, and a Secret. He seemed to have the opposite take that I had in that he was  impressed by the modern side of the story and found the historical aspects, specifically the feelings of a 10 year old, not quite as captivating.     His is a favorable and thoughtful review.

Overall, most reviews share that this international best-seller is a worthwhile read.

Found another GOOD review:   Nancy the Book Fool‘s.

15 Responses to “Sarah’s Key”


  1. 1 bermudaonion December 26, 2009 at 8:39 am

    I bet you just had your expectations too high – that happens to me too! I’d still like to read this one.

  2. 2 softdrink December 26, 2009 at 10:57 am

    I wasn’t crazy about the modern day scenes and characters, either. I would’ve been happier with just Sarah’s story.

  3. 3 Marie December 26, 2009 at 11:58 am

    You didn’t have your expectations too high- you know how I felt about it! :-) Great review and I liked the way you included links to different perspectives on the book. :-)

  4. 4 Amused December 26, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Intriguing! I have this one on my bookshelf so now I am interested to compare notes!

  5. 5 historyofshe December 26, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    I liked the way you did this review. I also like your banner– so cute!

  6. 6 Lisa December 26, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    I’ve often felt that a book disappointed me in large part because my expectations were unrealistically high. I have this one and now I’ll probably enjoy it more because I’ve adjusted by expectations.

  7. 7 diaryofaneccentric December 26, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    I read this one recently and liked it, but I must say that I wasn’t as attached to Julia’s story as I was to Sarah’s.

  8. 8 diaryofaneccentric December 26, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Oh, I almost forgot. I linked to your review on War Through the Generations.

    –Anna

  9. 9 Kailana December 27, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    This looks good. I hadn’t heard of it before.

  10. 10 iliana December 27, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    I remember when everyone seemed to be reading this one and I was so excited when I got it at the bookstore but then I put it aside. I felt it was so hyped up that I may not enjoy it so it’s waiting for me. I still want to read it but not in a rush.

  11. 11 Debi December 27, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    I added this to my wish list back when Nancy/Bookfool reviewed it, but I have to admit in the time since then I’d forgotten all about it. I’m happy for the reminder. This is definitely a part of the War that I know very little about.

    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas, Care! I sure have been missing you!

  12. 13 oh December 27, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Dear Care, Oh, you would shake your head at the stuff I’m reading – but stopped here especially to wish you a continued very Merry Christmas! And will look forward to “bookin'” and blogging about it in the coming New Year.

  13. 14 Katie January 31, 2010 at 1:34 am

    I too had high expectations for this book and was let down. At times I felt the outline of the book was transparent and predictable. The word choice clearly set the scene for what would happen further down the line. The backdrop of the setting however I enjoyed. It served as a excellent set to describe the events which occurred in France post 1943


  1. 1 The Girl Who Stopped Swimming « Care's Online Book Club Trackback on March 11, 2010 at 6:55 pm

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