Sarah's Key

Sarah's Key

Book - 2007
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Baker & Taylor
On the anniversary of the roundup of Jews by the French police in Paris, Julia is asked to write an article on this dark episode and embarks on an investigation that leads her to long-hidden family secrets and to the ordeal of Sarah.

McMillan Palgrave
An American journalist researches the notorious roundup of Parisian Jews and uncovers her French family's war-era secrets.

Blackwell North Amer

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.

& Taylor

On the sixtieth anniversary of the 1942 roundup of Jews by the French police in the Vel d'Hiv section of Paris, American journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article on this dark episode during World War II and embarks on investigation that leads her to long-hidden family secrets and to the ordeal of Sarah, a young girl caught up in the raid. 25,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2007
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780312370831
Branch Call Number: FIC ROS
Characteristics: 294 p. ;,25 cm.


From the critics

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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.

This novel shifts back and forth between Nazi-occupied Paris of 1942 and one journalists investigation in 2002 of an event that happened back in 1942. Cleverly written deRosnay brings the horrors of an actual event alive and makes you which that sixty years later survivors do survive with their spirit intact. But, history cannot be changed, only learned from. And horrors can be survived physically but not always emotionally. I'd recommend this book, it provides a shocking window into France's role in the Jewish Holocaust. NF

Jul 16, 2017

I checked out the large print edition and was confused by so many characters and the fact the author wrote about the present then went to the past and back and forth. so many characters to keep straight. I checked out the video and it was very good and helped me with the book. I realize it is fiction and I prefer non-fiction but this story reflects what the Jews went through in Europe at the hands of the Nazis. I did enjoy the book afterall and am glad that a friend recommended it.

Mar 26, 2017

I wanted to love this book. Maybe it was spoiled by seeing the movie almost a year prior to reading. The story of France’s complicity with the Nazis in sending thousands of French citizens to their death was a facet of history I was unfamiliar with, and it’s a story that needs to be honoured by retelling.
However, the story came across somewhat flat to me. The historical Sarah’s story was gripping and I wish we had more of this point of view. But the modern section about Julia of this dual track plot left me skimming lines and rolling my eyes at the melodrama. I really question why Julia hangs on to Sarah’s suffering for years the way Sarah hung on to the closet key. She remains a rather static, weak character and doesn’t grow beyond the issue. Ultimately the problem is in the writing – the author repeatedly tells us how to feel, slathering us in Julia’s tears and angst. Go see the movie – it has tightened up on the book’s wanderings and the riveting acting breathes truth into the characters.

MirandaJo Feb 24, 2017

This book tells the story of a little girl during the Holocaust and a young woman in the present who learns what that little girl went through. I love the emotional investment the reader has with the characters of the novel coupled with the historical accuracy of the events. This is one of my favorite historical novels.

Jan 30, 2017

I enjoyed this book, because it gave me a history lesson in addition to an intriguing story. Written in the style of Dan Brown, where two unrelated story lines are started and then converge into one (about halfway through the novel). I had read another book by the same author (A Secret Kept) and also enjoyed the writing, but not the way she left the story line(s) unfinished at the end. In Sarah's Key, she was able to tie up more of the major plot lines, so left me feeling more fulfilled as a reader. I had a hard time putting this book down at night, as the chapters were short and made me want to continue on (long past my bed time).

Dec 04, 2016


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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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Age Suitability

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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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