She intertwines two stories, the past, which is the Vel’ d’Hiv’s , roundup of the Jews in 1942 that took place in France on orders from the German military. The story is based on historical information. In particular we follow the tragic story of Sarah as she tells us her tale. The other part of the story, the present, is about Julia Jermond, an American journalist, who discoveries the atrocities of the roundup. The past and the present eventually come together.
Our book club thought Tatiana did a beautiful job of bringing history to life. It entangled the past with the present which we felt made the message of the story so powerful. De Rosnay informed and enlightened us since we didn’t know this particular event of history concerning the Holocaust.
The parts which affected us the most were the secret (I won’t give it away!), the round up, and how Julia’s husband treated her.
We agreed on two central themes and morals of the story, one being secrets. Secrets become heavy weights and they are kept to protect someone. We felt in this story, secrets are best if they are NOT kept. Too many bad events occurred because secrets were kept.
If something is happening which is bad, such as the round up of the Jews by the French, and let it happen, you are still contributing to it. It doesn’t absolve anyone.