I recently finished reading Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay, and it was an incredible, intense, heart-wrenching story.

The book intertwines two stories: one of a young girl (Sarah) who lived in Paris during World War II. Her Jewish family was taken in July of 1942, along with thousands of others, and put into a camp outside of Paris. The second is set in present day, and tells the story of a woman who is assigned to research the Paris round-ups of 1942 and finds a connection to Sarah and her family through a devastating secret her husband’s family has kept for over sixty years.

I have never cried so much while reading a book – at least 3 times I can remember, and was on the verge of tears a number of other times. It was gut-wrenching, and there were times that I thought I couldn’t read another word. It was horrendous what those families went through, and I can’t even fathom how people survived and kept on living afterward.

There were a few things in the book I felt distracted from the main story. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m getting really tired of authors trying to throw in every conceivable issue someone could have to make the story more dramatic – divorce, infidelity, infertility, estrangement, etc.. Can’t we just have “normal” main characters and focus on the main story?

Even though that bothered me (mostly because I’ve seen it over and over recently, so it’s kind of the straw that broke the camel’s back on the subject for me), it didn’t take away the raw emotion and devastation of the main story line.

I give this book a 4.75 out of 5.

Comments on: "Book Review: Sarah’s Key" (6)

  1. Wow, you finished that really fast! I didn't rate it quite so highly, personally. The present-day part really took away from it for me. I couldn't connect with any of those characters and didn't care about them. I loved Sarah though and the parts that took place in her time. They were totally gut wrenching, yes, but for me, that was where the good writing and story telling was in the novel and once it stopped, it wasn't the same. Maybe my expectations for the novel as a whole were just too high with all the hype around it.


  2. It was a quick read! I just couldn't put it down. I didn't have many expectations going in though, so I'm sure that makes a difference.


  3. Ooooh, I've been looking for a new read. Gut wrenching and tear jerking though… sounds like you have to be in the right mood. :/


  4. I was wondering whether you would be happy to put up a link in my brand new monthly series called “Books You Love”. The idea is for people to link up posts about a book they loved – it doesn’t have to be one they just posted about. It could be an old fave. I am hoping we will end up with a nice collection of books that can go on our reading lists. Here is the link Books You Loved May Edition


  5. Hi – I have just finished Sarah's Key… took me 2 sessions as I too could not put it down. I also found myself crying out loud many times – more so than in any other book I've read. I have 6yr & 3 year old sons and I kept thinking of them while reading this tears running down my face..

    In the beginning I did find myself wanting to get the present day chapters over quickly to get back to Sarah's story and after the 'Sarah' chapters stopped in the middle of the book I felt a little deflated. However the mysteries and twists and turns that Julia was uncovering kept my interest to the end. I wish too that it had been a different ending..


  6. JB – thanks for sharing your thoughts about the book!


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