Summary and book reviews of Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Sarah's Key

by Tatiana de Rosnay

Sarah's Key
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2007, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2008, 320 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

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.

Soon to be a major motion picture!

Chapter One
Paris, July 1942

The girl was the first to hear the loud pounding on the door. Her room was closest to the entrance of the apartment. At first, dazed with sleep, she thought it was her father, coming up from his hiding place in the cellar. He’d forgotten his keys, and was impatient because nobody had heard his first, timid knock. But then came the voices, strong and brutal in the silence of the night. Nothing to do with her father. “Police! Open up! Now!”

The pounding took up again, louder. It echoed to the marrow of her bones. Her younger brother, asleep in the next bed, stirred. “Police! Open up! Open up!” What time was it? She peered through the curtains. It was still dark outside.

She was afraid. She remembered the recent, hushed conversations she had overheard, late at night, when her parents thought she was asleep. She had crept up to the living room door and she had listened and watched from a little crack through the panel. Her father&#...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. What did you know about France's role in World War II—and the Vél d'Hiv round-up in particular—before reading Sarah's Key? How did this book teach you about, or change your impression of, this important chapter in French history?
  2. Sarah's Key is composed of two interweaving story lines: Sarah's, in the past, and Julia's quest in the present day. Discuss the structure and prose-style of each narrative. Did you enjoy the alternating stories and time-frames? What are the strengths or drawbacks of this format?
  3. Per above: Which "voice" did you prefer: Sarah's or Julia's? Why? Is one more or less authentic than the other? If you could meet either of the two characters, which one would you ...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

Sacramento Bee

Exceptional, emotional, and compelling…

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. It beautifully conveys Julia's conflicting loyalties, and makes Sarah's trials so riveting, her innocence so absorbing, that the book is hard to put down.

Library Journal

Starred Review. Masterly and compelling, it is not something that readers will quickly forget. Highly recommended.

Sarah Galvin, The Bookstore Plus, Lake Placid, NY

Sarah's Key is told from both the perspective of an 10-year-old girl whose family is rounded up during the Vel D'Hiv in France in 1942 and an American who presently lives in Paris. The heartbreak is real, the love is true, and the need to find out how their two lives are connected made this one of my absolute favorites!

Roberta, The Book Stall at Chestnut Court (Front Line, Newsletter)

I was overwhelmed by a novel that I had missed when it first came our way - Sarah's Key. It is a page-turner about World War II, the Holocaust and contemporary Paris. I couldn't put it down.

Reader Reviews

Brooke

Sarah's Key
Sarah's Key was very intriguing. I loved it from the very beginning. I highly recommend this book if you are into historical fiction books that are exciting and have a touch of romance in it. I loved it, and I hope that you do to. Do not be afraid to...   Read More

HP

Sara's Key
I loved the story, although, It was sad and hard to read. Being Jewish myself, it brought tears to my eyes. It was a surprise ending. Everyone should read this book.

Kathy West

Sarah's Key
This is a must read book. I really enjoyed how she used the 2 characters past and present to tell this important story. I had a difficult time putting down my book. I was concerned about reading another Nazi story because it is so unbelievable ...   Read More

Kaylaa (:

Ohhmygoooosh.
Oh, my! There are so many words to describe this book .I love this book & I will recommend it for anyone. I hope who ever sees this reads it & enjoys it ! :D.

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Sarah's Key, try these:

  • Trieste jacket

    Trieste

    by Dasa Drndic

    Published 2015

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    "A masterpiece" (A.N. Wilson), this many-layered novel of WWII combines fiction with a Sebaldian collage of facts to explore the fate of Italian Jews under Nazi occupation, through the intimate story of a mother's search for her son

  • The Sandcastle Girls jacket

    The Sandcastle Girls

    by Chris Bohjalian

    Published 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    The Sandcastle Girls is a sweeping historical love story steeped in Chris Bohjalian's Armenian heritage.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Holding Up the Universe
    Holding Up the Universe
    by Jennifer Niven
    Jennifer Niven's spectacular Holding Up the Universe has everything that I love about Young ...
  • Book Jacket: Coffin Road
    Coffin Road
    by Peter May
    From its richly atmospheric opening to its dramatic conclusion, Peter May's Coffin Road is a ...
  • Book Jacket: The Guineveres
    The Guineveres
    by Sarah Domet
    It's a human need to know one's own identity, to belong to someone, to yearn for a place ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win All the Gallant Men

All The Gallant Men

The first memoir by a USS Arizona survivor, 75 years after Pearl Harbor.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

K Y Eyes P

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.