Tatiana de Rosnay
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Source: Purchased NookBook
You can read the Goodreads summary here.
In July 1942 thousands of Jews were rounded in in Paris and sent to Vel d'Hiv, an indoor arena where they suffered for days without food, water, or bathroom facilities, before they were sent by train onto concentrations camps. In 2002, journalist Julia Jarmond is assigned to write a piece for the 60th anniversary of the event. At first she finds it difficult; the people of Paris would prefer to forget about it completely, but Julia soon stumbles across the story of a little girl and her family and they inspire her to learn more.
I had heard of Vel d'Hiv before I read this novel, though I chalk that up to my degree in history. Before Sarah's Key was written, I suspect most people had never heard of the event. What Sarah's Key has done is make the historical event more humanized. By reading about one family affected by the tragedy, the reader realizes that there were thousands more people who went through the same thing. It hurts, as a human being, to know that this happened.
It's hard to know what to else say about Sarah's Key. Most of the novel was heartbreaking, filled me with despair, made me heart cringe for the thousands of people who suffered as a result of the Vel d'Hiv. But at the same time, I loved this novel. The switching points of view really help the novel rather than hinder it, and the subplot of Julia's own personal tribulations provide some relief from the terrible events. Sarah's Key is incredibly well written and I will definitely be looking out for other things written by de Rosnay.
I wish I could tell you more, but instead I'm going to tell you to read this novel. It's just so significant.