Sarah's Key

Sarah's Key

Book - 2007
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Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.
Paris, May 2002: On Vel' d'Hiv's 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.
Tatiana de Rosnay offers us a brilliantly subtle, compelling portrait of France under occupation and reveals the taboos and silence that surround this painful episode.

Publisher: New York :, St. Martin's Press,, 2007.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780312370831
Branch Call Number: FIC ROSN
Characteristics: 294 pages ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

When ten-year old Sarah and her family are brutally arrested by the French police in 1942, Sarah mistakenly tries to protect her little brother.

From the critics

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Nov 19, 2020

Good read

Nov 17, 2020

I wanted to like this book. But really only liked it till about halfway. The ending is predictable and falls flat. I was disappointed how the author ended Sarah's portion of the story and felt the character had so much more to share. Her ending made me feel cheated.

Aug 06, 2020

Sarah’s Key by De Rosnay, Tatiana, is a two perspective story. The first perspective is in July of 1942. A ten year old girl named Sarah who was arrested with her family in the Vel’ d’Hiv roundup, an act of the French in collaboration with the Nazis. However before the French take her and her family, she locks her younger brother, Michel, in their hiding place, a cupboard. She keeps the key thinking she will come back to get him a few hours later. The second perspective is in May of 2002. An American journalist named Julia Jarmond who is asked to write an article about the Vel d’Hiv. She feels ignorant and later finds herself retracing Sarah’s journey. This book was very interesting primarily for its historical genre. I most enjoy reading about historical stories because it gives me more knowledge and understanding of the world. The novel is most intriguing because of its two perspectives. I would rate this novel a 9 out of 10! @YoumnaLovesBooks of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

May 24, 2020

Books on WW2 Recommended by Cory, Tongue in Cheek:
All the Light You cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah
Sarah's Keys, by Tatiana de Rosnay
The Lost Letters, by Jillian Cantor

Feb 27, 2020

Not a book that I would recommend. The early parts of the book shift back and forth so quickly that I felt like my brain had whiplash. The relationship between wife and husband in the current day was unrealistic. The historic character's first hand account disappears mid way through the book. The ending was odd. There are so many WWII novels out there. You can skip this one.

Jun 20, 2019

A truly unforgettable story. Couldn't put it down. Loved it!

Feb 13, 2019

Sarah's Key was one of the best novel I have read in a long time where the suspense was thrilling, exciting, tantalizing and which made me cry at times. This is one must read books.

Set in occupied France, the Vel d’Hiv occurred in July 1942 – a Nazi decree to roundup the Jewish population and send them to concentration camps. A young girl locks her brother in a hidden cupboard and promises to return for him. The story is told both from the young girl’s perspective, as well as 60 years later from the perspective of a reporter doing a story about what happened. The two stories collide in present day, with heartache, tragedy, and even a little karma. A read for pleasure and education about a little known piece of the Holocaust puzzle. (submitted by JB)

Apr 09, 2018

Story about the round up of Jews in Paris in 1942 by the Paris Police, under the Nazi's instructions. A sad chapter in French history. Well written story.

CRRL_MegRaymond Oct 17, 2017

In 1942, when the French police are rounding up Jews in Paris, Sarah hides her little brother in a locked cupboard. Little does Sarah know that she will never return.

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mrsgail5756 Apr 03, 2013

“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” -George Washington

Dec 11, 2012

I realized I could not longer bear this alone. I felt isolated, broken. (William (288)

Dec 11, 2012

I don't want to know. (William 239)

Dec 11, 2012

My world felt hollow, empty. (Julia 242)

Dec 11, 2012

She did not bow her head in shame. She stood straight, her chin high. She wiped away the tears. (Sarah 58)

Dec 11, 2012

Nothing would ever be the same again. (57)

Dec 11, 2012

No respect for the past. (266)

Dec 11, 2012

Sometimes it's better not to know. (127)

Dec 11, 2012

The truth is harder than ignorance.(124)

Dec 11, 2012

Not one day has gone by without me thinking of you. (Sarah 259)

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Add Age Suitability
EuSei Nov 21, 2015

EuSei thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

May 02, 2013

Alohaohana thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Dec 11, 2012

fearlessforever thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

white_ape_15 Nov 25, 2012

white_ape_15 thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

livielou97 Dec 19, 2011

livielou97 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Dec 09, 2011

varaidzo89 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

MadPen May 04, 2011

MadPen thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Mar 24, 2011


Add Notices
Dec 11, 2012

Coarse Language: Very mild occasional course language

Dec 11, 2012

Other: This is definitely a very mature novel. I would not recommend it for those under at least 12 years of age. It addresses some very poignant topics.(Family Separation, Death, Suicide, War (the Holocaust), Abortion, Relationships ect) It is an amazing book, it will change the way that you see things and give you a lot of perspective on what the Holocaust was really like.

Dimmu16 Apr 30, 2012

Frightening or Intense Scenes: The 1942 parts.

Dimmu16 Apr 30, 2012

Violence: The 1942 parts are very violent.

Dimmu16 Apr 30, 2012

Coarse Language: Every good book has a few swears!


Add a Summary
bnotash70 May 15, 2012

A Jewish girl in Paris hides her little brother in the closet and locks it when the Gestapo comes for them, promising that she will come back for him...she escapes from the concentration camp and returns, but he has died. There is a subplot about the family who got the apartment afterwards and their descendants. and one of the wives, who is a journalist and searches the story of the little girl, and finds out the first story.

Apr 24, 2012

Haunting story of children caught in the holicaust that was carried out in Paris by the French themselves, the denial by the next generation and the discovery of the story of one doomed family by an American expat married into a French family. Her pursuit of the story which took place in her husband's family home tears the family and her marriage apart.

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