Emma Lou Reads: ‘Sarah’s Key’ Review

I started off February with the intention of reading Peter Pan, I bought the most beautiful hardback version of it at Barnes and Noble at the beginning of the year, and I’ve never actually sat down to read it.

I started Peter Pan but I couldn’t seem to get into it. It is a beautiful and whimsical story but I just can’t seem to allow myself to be lost in Neverland like it requires. I imagine that once it is warm out and I can go to the park to read I’ll be much more inclined to really sink my teeth in to it.

One day, I was sitting on my bed and noticed a book on my shelf that my roommate had given to me last year. Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay is a story full of twists and turns, joys and heartbreaks. The Amazon description does a wonderful job of explaining the premise, without giving away too much of the story:

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.

This incredible book really sunk into my soul. It was gut wrenchingly sad, the kind of story that almost hurts to read. At the same time, was the kind of story that is dripping with importance and it is one that will not leave me anytime soon.


I would highly recommend de Rosnay’s novel, in fact I’ve already lent it to my mom, who has since finished it and passed it along to my little brother for his next English project. I’m serious friends, this one will change you.


P.S. My mom watched the movie on Netflix a few days ago, she said it was very close to the book and was also emotionally reeling and incredibly well done. But, as usual, the book is better 🙂

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