By Tatiana De Rosnay
St. Martin’s Griffin
Sarah’s Key: A shocking and profoundly moving story.
Tatiana De Rosnay, author of Sarah’s Key, tells a haunting story of a historically tragic past, mystery, suspense and love. The story follows protagonists Julia Jarmond and Sarah Starzynski.
It begins in Paris 1942 when the French Police began rounding up all Jewish people into the street. Sarah, a ten-year-old Jewish girl hides her four-year-old brother, Michel, in a secret cupboard in their apartment to keep him safe before the Police knock on their door. She believes she’ll be back within a couple of hours to let him out. Instead Sarah and her parents are sent to the Drancy internment camp.
Sixty years later Julia Jarmond, an American journalist married to a Frenchman, is writing an article about the heinous Vel d’Hiv round-up in the heart of Paris on July 16, 1942. She finds her life is strangely intertwined with that of Sarah’s.
Julia tells her husband Bertrand Tezac about the Starzynski family who happened to live in the very apartment they were living in sixty years earlier. Bertrand seems not to care and warns her to stop investigating. Julia interviews Bertrand’s grandmother, Mamé, who is the current owner of the apartment but lives in an aged care home. Julia uncovers the unspoken secrets of the Tezac family. Julia discovers that Sarah escaped from the Drancy internment camp, eventually got married and had a son named William. She finds that Édouard Tezac, Bertrand’s father, was present when Sarah Starzynski found Michel’s body in 1942 in the tiny secret cupboard.
Julia meets William, Sarah’s son, and she tells him about his mother whom he had never known and of her time in the Jewish internment camp.
With Julia’s love life in despair, Sarah’s past brings to her some clarity and hope in the end. De Rosnay’s writing style and use of intense detail allows the reader to submerge themselves in an astounding historical fiction and finish reading wanting more. Sarah’s Key is a shocking and profoundly moving story that will haunt you, move you and make you remember.