Title: Sarah's Key
Author: Tatiana de Rosnay
Challenges: Read 'n' Review Challenge
First Sentence: "The girl was the first to hear the loud pounding on the door."
Summary (From back of book):
Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten-year-old girl, is taken with her parents by the French police as they go door-to-door arresting Jewish families in the middle of the night. Desperate to protect her younger brother, Sarah locks him in a bedroom cupboard -- their secret hiding place -- and promises to come back for him as soon as they are released
Sixty years later: Sarah's story intertwines with that of Julia Jarmond, an American journalist investigating the roundup. In her research, Julia stumbles onto a trail of secrets that link her to Sarah, and to questions about her own romantic future.
My Two Cents:
I have been *trying* to read this book for months, ever since I tossed it into my Amazon cart while shopping for the library. When it came in, I was reading another book, so it made the rounds of several people. Then, I read about 50 pages one Saturday morning and was hooked, but someone came in requesting the book. So, it's taken me until now to read it.
Until reading this book, I had no idea there were roundups in Paris during World War II. It makes sense, seeing as France was Nazi-occupied for part of the war. But, it was still a shock to learn that people really were taken from their homes by French police, sent to French camps, and then taken by train directly to Auschwitz and killed. Horrifying.
I liked Julia as a character well enough, but there were some times when I had wished she would have woken up sooner and changed her home situation. Some of the things she put up with just annoyed me, and kind of set me against her character.
Sarah, though, is one of the most memorable characters I've ever met in fiction. She begins the book as a regular 10-year-old girl, but the horrors that she sees and the things she's forced to come to terms with change her permanently. While there probably wasn't a child during the roundup who was in her exact situation, there likely were several children who had their innocence destroyed by their own countrymen.
This is an incredibly powerful book. I usually try to stagger my reading of books, switching back and forth between two books I'm reading, but I couldn't put this one down. I finished more than half the book in about an hour on a train ride. This is one book you'll never forget.