Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Review: Sarah's Key

Title: Sarah's Key
Author: Tatiana de Rosnay
Length: 378 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Genre: Fiction/Historical fiction
Source: Purchased
My Rating:SmileySmileySmiley
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
A young girl.
A fateful key.
A woman searching for the truth…
Experience the novel that has touched millions.
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 future.                                                                                                       
With more than five million copies in print and over two years on the New York Times bestseller list, Sarah’s Key has made its way into the hearts and minds of readers everywhere. Now, with this beautiful new hardcover edition, the gift of powerful storytelling can be shared with the ones you love.

My Review:  I bought this book based on some good reviews and my current like of  WWII historical fiction.  This book was well written and engaging, at least for the first 2/3rds of the story.

I loved the chapters which described Sarah's experiences.  They were riveting, emotional, and horrifying all at the same time. I had not previously been aware of this incident in France during WWII and was glad to read it's history.  I became involved with this character.  Each time her story was paused I waited for it to be Sarah's turn again.  Unfortunately Sarah's story ended too soon and then we are left with just Julia's.

I never really liked Julia's character but also didn't dislike her, at least in the beginning.  I was able to follow along, patiently, with the parallel stories, waiting for them to intersect.  I could understand both her professional and personal reasons for pursuing Sarah's story. However, at some point, her continued pursuit goes beyond reasonable and becomes completely selfish.  It was at this point that issues with her character in the beginning of the book could no longer be overlooked, because the underlying story was so good, but combined with her selfishness and made her completely unlikable in my eyes. I'm afraid if I say much more it will fall into the spoiler realm so I'll leave it here.

If this had been Sarah's story alone this book would've been great.