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.