An Unexpected Story! Sarah’s Key #review

Posted March 27, 2018 by Berls in Review / 8 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
An Unexpected Story! Sarah’s Key #reviewSarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Published by St. Martin's Press on June 12th 2007
Genres: Historical, Mystery, Suspense
Pages: 294
Format: Paperback
Source: Borrowed

Tatiana de Rosnay offers us a brilliantly subtle, compelling portrait of France under occupation and reveals the taboos and silence that surround this painful episode.

Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.

Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.

Tatiana de Rosnay offers us a brilliantly subtle, compelling portrait of France under occupation and reveals the taboos and silence that surround this painful episode.

I borrowed Sarah’s Key from a co-worker who insisted I read it, even though it’s not “my kind of book.” Man am I glad she did; if it weren’t for responsibilities (aka adulting) I would have finished it in a night.

I don’t tend to like books about Nazi Europe – I don’t know why exactly, it’s just not a time period I enjoy reading. But this book is haunting and grips you. I found myself hoping for things that I knew were impossible and anxiously trying to pull together the threads between the modern day part of the story and the historical part.

It’s told in a fascinating back and forth fashion – first we’re in Paris during WWII, then we’re in a modern Paris (I forget, maybe early 2000s), then we’re back to WWII, back to modern, etc. And you immediately get the sense that there is SOME connection between the two stories, and trying to find that connection is what let’s you dare to hope and get anxious and just… Wow! A must read!

5 stars Flipping Fantastic

Berls found an unexpected love for this book! Sarah's Key #review 5/5 stars! Click To Tweet

About Berls

Michelle adopted me as part of her blog when I decided to close down my blog, Fantasy is More Fun. The blog was dying, but my love of reading and the blogosphere was still strong as ever - so I found my new home here at Because Reading!

I'm not just a book lover, but a one time author (that hopes to be more in the future), wife, and step-mom to the craziest, sweetest 17 year old on the planet. I also have the privilege of teaching Kindergarten. I love what I do and you can expect it to bleed into my posts. Teaching is a big a part of me as my family and reading. So grab a glass of wine and chat books, blogging, and family with me!



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8 responses to “An Unexpected Story! Sarah’s Key #review

  1. I tend to steer clear of books about both WW time periods, but several bloggers suggested I read it anyway, after it first came out, and I had forgotten about it! Thanks for the reminder and for sharing your review. You have nudged me into wanting to reading it. 💜

    • Yes, I do too! Just not my thing and I do enjoy tear jerkers, so it’s not that. I hope you get to read it.

  2. I agree, this is exceptional for this time period stories, especially as someone who isn’t usually drawn to them 🙂

  3. Jonetta (Ejaygirl)

    I loved this book and am glad you found it special, too. Might I also recommend The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.

  4. Loved this one! I tend to enjoy WW II-era fiction anyway, and this was was a real stand-out. I was totally immersed in both time periods and just captivated by the story. So good!

  5. I don’t often read these kind of books either but this one sounds really interesting. I like dual timelines, especially when they are cleverly tied together. I’m guessing it is a bit of a tear-jerker too?

    • Yes, definitely a bit of a tear-jerker, but not as bad as you might expect from this era. I think the dual times is really what pulled me forward with the book.