Sarah's key by Tatiana De Rosnay
In 1942 in Paris a ten year old girl, Sarah is rounded up with her
parents by the French police and taken to Vel’ d’Hiv’. Before she leaves
she locks her little brother in a cupboard thinking she will be back
soon to release him.
In a parallel story Julia Jarmond is asked
to write a story about the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup for the 60th
anniversary. She is determined to follow Sarah's footsteps.
Switching between the two stories the book tells us of Sarah's trials
and ordeals and the horror of being a Jew in occupied France. Julia
meanwhile, feels Sarah's anguish as she pursues her story and finds out
how closely intertwined it is with her in-laws' story. Julia starts to
question her own marriage and life. I did not really empathize with
Julia and found while Zoe her daughter seemed to be so mature it was
I did not know about the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup but
I did know about how the French do not want to discuss any of their
'ugly' part in WWII. Interestingly, I recently picked up A Thread of
Grace By Mary Doria Russell which is about Jews in occupied Italy and
how they were hidden. Two authors, similiar subjects and completely
different treatments. As much as the French were shown to be brutal the
Italians are shown to have some sympathy.
I would never have continued living in an apartment where the body of a
little boy had been found. I may not have had the courage to stand up
to the brutality and even might have overlooked how I got the apartment
but to continue to live there. UGH!!!
One never knows until one is in that situation how one will react. I could always hope I would stand up and be counted.
First Line: "The girl was the first to hear the loud pounding on the door."