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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Book Club Book Review: Sarah's Key By Tatiana de Rosnay

My Book Club's book pick for the month of February was Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

I just want to start by saying the author did not intend this to be a historical book but as a tribute to the children of the Vel' d'Hiv. The Vel' d'Hiv is part of a sad and confronting history of France's involvement in the Nazi directed raid on Jewish men, women and children living in Paris in July 1942. Over 13,000 Jews were arrested including 4,000 children who were taken to Auschwitz concentration camps to meet their end.

Be that as it may, this book is a very good history lesson, and one that I learnt a lot from.

This is the story of two families involved in the Vel' d'Hiv round up - one story is told from the present day and the other from the past, with each chapter running parallel.

From the present is Julia a middle aged American living in France with her French husband and daughter, she's a journalist researching the Vel' d'Hiv round up for it's 60 year anniversary. I found Julia to be quite dull, I didn't warm to her character, and I didn't really agree with some of the things she did in the story.

From the past in 1942 is a young 10 year girl Sarah who was a part of the Vel' d'Hiv round up and to keep her younger brother safe locks him in a cupboard in her family's apartment, thinking she will be back soon. It was Sarah's story and her innocence that pulled at my heartstrings and made this story amazing.

The writing style is simple, straightforward and easy to follow. It's the layout of the story which makes this such a special read - told by two characters, one from the past and one from the present, both stories align so you are right there with Sarah at the camp just as Julia is discovering the brutality that went on there. It made for a very intense read and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.

I would have given this book top marks except I was disappointed when Sarah's story stopped towards the end of the book and we were left with only Julia's - if Sarah had continued until the end I would have rated this book 5/5 stars.

I recommend this book to everyone from school aged kids to elderly readers as it's an important part of history that we should never forget.

I have reviewed similar books of World War 11 which I highly recommend - The Book Thief and Between Shades Of Gray

I give this book 4 stars out of  5

Jarrah Jungle's Star Rating:
1 Bad - I'd rather eat brussel sprouts topped with anchovies than read this again
2 Not Good - I'd rather watch paint dry than read this again
3 Ok - I'm sitting on the fence - its not great but not terrible either
4 Good - I'd give up a bottle of the worlds best champagne for this read
5 Great - I'd pass up a date with Johnny Depp for this read

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