Sunday, January 11, 2009


SARAH'S KEY by Tatiana deRosnay was read for the Jewish Literature Reading Challenge, the New Author Challenge, and the Every Month is a Holiday Reading Challenge (January 27 is Holocaust Memorial Day).

From the back of the book:

Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten-year-old girl, is taken with her parents by the French police as they go door-to-door arresting Jewish families in the middle of the night. Desperate to protect her younger brother, Sarah locks him in a bedroom cupboard - their secret hiding place - and promises to come back for him as soon as they are released.

Sixty years later: Sarah's story intertwines with that of Julia Jarmond, an American journalist investigating the roundup. In her research, Julia stumbles onto a trail of secrets that link her to Sarah, and to questions about her own romantic future.

In 1942, around 14,000 Jews were taken from their homes in Paris by the French Police. They were sent first to the VĂ©lodrome d'Hiver (Vel' d'Hiv'), an enclosed bicycle track in the center of Paris. From there, the men were sent to Drancy, a transit camp, from which they were then sent to Auschwitz. The women and children were sent to Beaune-la-Rolande; the women were then separated from the children and also sent to Auschwitz. After being left alone at the camp for some time, the children were also then sent to Auschwitz. The French authorities never accepted responsibility for their actions until 50+ years later when French President Jacques Chirac made a public apology.

I had never heard of this roundup before. I'm sure there are many things about the Holocaust that have never been made public. I cannot fathom how or why these atrocities happened.

This book broke my heart. I had to keep reminding myself the story of Sarah and her brother was fiction, although the facts about the roundup were all too true. There were a few little "side" stories that were fillers and not directly related to the Sarah storyline, but these did not detract from the book and the writing.

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This challenge is no longer officially running. It's being left up so you can find good books to read and read the reviews. Comments are moderated and are NOT gone through often. So don't expect to see your comment show up fast.