This fictional story follows two very different people. The first is Julia, an American journalist living in Paris, who is also married to a Parisian. She discovers an account of a Jewish girl, Sarah, whose family was taken from Paris during the round-up in 1942. Sarah also contributes her account to the story.
Historical fiction is my favorite genre, so this book was very interesting to me. While I have read other accounts of this time in history, I was not familiar specifically with the round-up of Jews that occurred in Paris and the scandal surrounding the Velodrome d’Hiver. I also like when an author tells a modern day story alongside the telling of a story in the historical setting.
This novel was very engrossing…almost too engrossing. The details that are given about what went on during the round-up and at the concentration camps are vivid. The terror, degradation, and grief that the Jewish people experienced, while horrifyingly true, were told in a way that was so haunting that I sometimes had to stop reading and put the book down for a while. This is definitely not a book to read right before bed.
The modern day story of Julia was intriguing, but I got tired of it and of her by the end. She was so obessed with Sarah that she did nothing else in her life. I also thought that the contrast of what the Jewish people went through compared with the ‘traumas’ in her life towards the middle and end of the book was in poor taste. I’m sure the author did not mean for the reader to think that Julia’s problems were anywhere near as bad as what the Jews went through during World War II. But, I got tired of Julia’s problems and just wanted the book to end.
Sarah’s Key is a unique historical fiction novel that pays tribute to the countless lives that were lost in the Holocaust.