Now the many fans of Tatiana de Rosnay’s novel, Sarah’s Key, will be clamouring to see the movie version, starring Kristen Scott Thomas as Julia and Melusine Mayance as Sarah, in theaters across the nation — I will be one of them! Over a year ago I read this riveting and haunting Holocaust tale and I knew I must share it with my book club. Since that time Sarah’s Key has been read by countless book clubs!
For those who might not be familiar with the book, de Rosnay, intertwines two stories. Sarah’s story takes place in 1942 in Paris during the Vel’ d’Hiv’ Roundup as Sarah and her family suffer the astrocities of the roundup and the deportation to Auschwicz at the hands of the Nazi. The roundup of the Jews took place on the orders from the German military and were carried out by the French government. The other part of the book takes place in 2002 as Julia Jarmond, an American journalist living in Paris deals with her own personal crisis. While in Paris, Julia discovers a mystery that she feels she must uncover. Over the course of time the past and the present come together. Julia learns of a horrific discovery which involves her husband’s family and leads to the eventual connection to Sarah.
On a winter evening back in January 2010 our book club found in Sarah’s Key a realistic and exquisite piece of work by de Rosnay. Many readers will discover this as the story unfolds. The history of the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup came to life for all of us as we read and discussed Sarah’s Key. It interconnected the past with the present which we felt made the message of the story so powerful. We were much more informed and enlightened of this relatively unknown event in history due to reading this particular book. The portions of the book which affected us most were: the roundup, Julia’s husband’s treatment of her, and most importantly “Sarah’s key to the secret.”
Our book club agreed on the following as the main central theme and the moral of the story. The theme of keeping secrets was quite present. Secrets become heavy weights and many times they are kept to protect someone. We felt in this particular
story, secrets are best if they are NOT kept. There were exceedingly numerous events which occurred due to the fact secrets were not divulged. We determined
those who stood aside and let the round up of the Jews by the French on the orders
of the German government take place, had a moral obligation to try to at least
help their fellow citizen.
If your book club has yet to read and discuss Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay, now is the perfect time to do so. Here’s the link to discussion questions for Sarah’s Key. Join the magnitude of book clubs who have already discovered and embraced this mesmerizing tale.