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Sarah's Key [Kindle Edition]

Tatiana de Rosnay
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,880 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $13.95
Kindle Price: $7.53
You Save: $6.42 (46%)
Sold by: Macmillan

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Book Description

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.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. De Rosnay's U.S. debut fictionalizes the 1942 Paris roundups and deportations, in which thousands of Jewish families were arrested, held at the Vélodrome d'Hiver outside the city, then transported to Auschwitz. Forty-five-year-old Julia Jarmond, American by birth, moved to Paris when she was 20 and is married to the arrogant, unfaithful Bertrand Tézac, with whom she has an 11-year-old daughter. Julia writes for an American magazine and her editor assigns her to cover the 60th anniversary of the Vél' d'Hiv' roundups. Julia soon learns that the apartment she and Bertrand plan to move into was acquired by Bertrand's family when its Jewish occupants were dispossessed and deported 60 years before. She resolves to find out what happened to the former occupants: Wladyslaw and Rywka Starzynski, parents of 10-year-old Sarah and four-year-old Michel. The more Julia discovers—especially about Sarah, the only member of the Starzynski family to survive—the more she uncovers about Bertrand's family, about France and, finally, herself. Already translated into 15 languages, the novel is De Rosnay's 10th (but her first written in English, her first language). It beautifully conveys Julia's conflicting loyalties, and makes Sarah's trials so riveting, her innocence so absorbing, that the book is hard to put down. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“This is a remarkable historical novel, a book which brings to light a disturbing and deliberately hidden aspect of French behavior towards Jews during World War II.  Like Sophie's Choice, it's a book that impresses itself upon one's heart and soul forever.”
–Naomi Ragen, author of The Saturday Wife and The Covenant
“Sarah's Key unlocks the star crossed, heart thumping story of an American journalist in Paris and the 60-year-old secret that could destroy her marriage.  This book will stay on your mind long after it's back on the shelf.”
–Risa Miller, author of Welcome to Heavenly Heights

Product Details

  • File Size: 780 KB
  • Print Length: 305 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0312370830
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; Media Tie-In, Movie Tie-In Edition edition (June 12, 2007)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001HNE3NO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,622 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
875 of 895 people found the following review helpful
July 1942 marked a dark period in the history of France where thousands of Jewish families were rounded up and forcibly kept in the Velodrome d'Hiver. They were then sent off to transit camps in France such as Drancy, before being packed off to Auschwitz, a Nazi death camp. What is so unnerving about this whole incident is that the rounding up and mobilisation of Jews for deportation was done by the French authorities.

Based upon this seldom mentioned, little known piece of French history, author Tatiana de Rosnay has crafted a well-written novel that alternates between the past in 1942, and the present. The past centers around a 10 year old Jewish girl Sarah Strazynski who is forced to go to the Velodrome d'Hiver with her mother and father, innocently leaving behind a 4 year old brother Michel locked in a secret cupboard with the assurance that she would return to let him out when it was safe.

The present revolves around writer Julia Jarmond, a transplanted American who is married to a frenchman and finds herself being consumed by the story of the Vel d'Hiv incident. As she digs deeper, she uncovers dark secrets surrounding her husband's family which are connected to the deportations of Jews from France. As the truth emerges, the author deftly handles the question of guilt caused by supressed secrets and how the truth can sometimes not only bring about pain and disrupt the regularity of life, yet also have the ability to heal and move forwards into the future.

The method employed by the author, which alternates between the past [1942] and the present is an effective tool for it ties both periods together and brings the story to a satisfying conclusion.
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208 of 220 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reliving History September 27, 2008
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In the first half of this book, two stories interlace with each other in short alternating chapters. Sarah Starzynski, a ten-year-old Parisian girl born to Jewish parents, is captured in the round-up of June 16, 1942, and imprisoned with almost 10,000 others in an indoor cycling arena, the Vélodrome d'Hiver, awaiting transportation to Auschwitz. When the police arrive, she has just time to hide her younger brother in a concealed closet in their apartment, locking him in and promising to return. Sixty years later, Julia Jarmond, an American journalist married to a Frenchman, researching for a story on the "Vél d'Hiv," stumbles on the trail of Sarah's family, and becomes obsessed with trying to discover her fate. She is struck by the fact that the round-up and subsequent disposal was carried out, not by the Gestapo, but by ordinary French policemen, enabled by a citizenry that for the most part looked the other way. A coincidental discovery leads her to question the involvement of her husband's family at the time and to re-examine her own marriage.

Apart from this one coincidence that one has to grant for the sake of the novel, Tatiana de Rosnay mostly avoids melodrama, excessive sentiment, or plot surprises. Sarah's story may be merely a variant on the Holocaust narrative often told before, but its child's-eye viewpoint gives it a moving authenticity, and the short chapters keep it bearable. Especially touching are the glimpses of individual concern and kindness among the general indifference of the French people; the novel honors those unsung saints and heroes who put aside their fear to help in individual ways.
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495 of 551 people found the following review helpful
The theme and historical context of this book is certainly compelling and the moral issues raised by the story, though familiar, are still intriguing. However, once the key elements of Sarah's story are revealed, the book looses steam and we are left with the banal life crisis facing our journalist narrator who comes off frequently as more than a little spineless, letting the people around her direct the flow of her thoughts and actions. The angst of modern life over-shadows past tragedy. Most of the author's characters seem stereotyped, merely cardboard cut-outs who are ill-suited to the task of explicating the difficult gray areas between good and evil. When Joshua, Julia's editor, points out to her the fact that she has left out one whole side of Sarah's difficult story, he might as well be describing this novel. It never really does address the issues of responsibility and moral culpability in any deep and meaningful way. When Sarah's voice disappears from the narrative, the book looses its psychological edge and Julia's subsequent quest seems to lack real purpose. The confrontations which do take place towards the end of the novel are not the one's a reader might be anticipating and ultimately, leave the reader feeling unsatisfied and disappointed. Read this book to learn more about the Jewish experience in occupied France but don't expect to be challenged--this book doesn't take readers anywhere near the true tragedy symbolized by Sarah's key.
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75 of 82 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 1/2 Great, 1/2 Teen Romance February 15, 2010
By Reader
This would have been a great book to have borrowed from the library. I'm a little disappointed that I paid money for it. The story of Sarah is gripping, well told, and was news to me. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out what happened to little Sarah and her little brother.
Once this mystery was solved, however, and the secondary mystery of the Tezac/Sarah tie, then the rest of the novel was just plain silly.

For the last 24 pages, we knew what Juala named her daughter. But we had to drag through 24 pages of stilted writing, with the author using every stupid device available to NOT say the name of her daughter. Worse even than the first part of the book where she worked so hard at not telling us "the girl's" name. Too affected for me. By the time she "revealed" the names, we already knew them. Does she think we're that stupid? I guess hundreds of people thought this was an ok way to develop the climax.

This is a book I ran through, and when finished, wanted to throw across the room. It could have been so great. I have to agree with other reviewers that said that the story of Sarah was beautifully done, and far too short. The story of Julia, which the author seems to feel is more important, is weak and poorly done.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Intense and captivating
This book drew me in and wouldn't let me go. I felt all of the emotions a great novel engenders.
Published 6 hours ago by Beverly K Murdock
5.0 out of 5 stars Reflection on SARAH'S KEY
The story captivated my interest throughout its pages. The characters were real, experiencing life in all its beauty and tragedy. Read more
Published 11 hours ago by roberta thoen
5.0 out of 5 stars Sarah's Key
Exceptional book to read. Gripping and thought provoking. Tears at your heart and you want the story to keep going.
Excellent book.
Published 23 hours ago by Pamela Farrar
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reading and a heartbreaker...
This is a very, very heart touching story... A child's story of persecution, imprisonment, separation of family, tragedy during World War II then the struggle to cope with it all. Read more
Published 1 day ago by shelby a snider
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful
I actually liked this book so much better the second time I read it. The second time through I really concentrated on the characters and what they felt and what their view of the... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Pat clement
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast read
I don't need to explain the's a great book, an exciting read. This book has really stuck in my mind over the years....a sign of a good book! Read more
Published 2 days ago by Beverly K. Bryan
4.0 out of 5 stars Love
loved this book all of it from beginning to end
the end nearly made me break down lol

always remember never forget!
Published 2 days ago by Cathy
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
This was a unique story based on the Jewish nightmare that WWII was to everyone. This isolates the drama & makes it more understandable.
Published 3 days ago by Marianne Henderson
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!!
This book was such a great book, I did not want it to end.
Wish there were a she quail to this fabulousness story. So sad, but yet so beautiful.
Just loved it.
Published 5 days ago by Shirley Gannon
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
This is such a Touching story, couldn't put it down! Well written, loved the two stories being told, kept me wanting to read more!
Published 5 days ago by Rule
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More About the Author

Tatiana's new novel, The Other Story, will be published at Saint Martin's Press on April 22 2014.

Tatiana's books have sold over 8 million copies around the world.

Tatiana de Rosnay was born on September 28th, 1961 in the suburbs of Paris. She is of English, French and Russian descent. Her father is French scientist Joël de Rosnay, her grandfather was painter Gaëtan de Rosnay. Tatiana's paternal great-grandmother was Russian actress Natalia Rachewskïa, director of the Leningrad Pushkin Theatre from 1925 to 1949.

Tatiana's mother is English, Stella Jebb, daughter of diplomat Gladwyn Jebb, and great-great-granddaughter of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the British engineer. Tatiana is also the niece of historian Hugh Thomas. Tatiana was raised in Paris and then in Boston, when her father taught at MIT in the 70's. She moved to England in the early 80's and obtained a Bachelor's degree in English literature at the University of East Anglia, in Norwich.

Returning to Paris in 1984, Tatiana became press attaché for Christie's and then Paris Editor for Vanity Fair magazine till 1993. Since 1992, Tatiana has published ten novels in France (published at Fayard, Plon and EHO).

Sarah's Key is her first novel written in her mother tongue, English. Sarah's Key was to be published in 40 countries and has sold over 8 million copies worldwide. Film rights have also been sold and a movie starring Kristin Scott-Thomas has been released. 4 other of her novels are becoming movies in France.

Tatiana is married and has two children, Louis and Charlotte. She lives in Paris with her family.

Her website is at
Her Twitter feed :

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Well said!
Jan 30, 2010 by Boomzilla |  See all 5 posts
upcoming trip to Russia
City of Thieves, The Madonnas of Leningrad, The Swan Thieves. I have not read them yet, but a friend who read Sarah's Key and The true story of Hansel and Gretel recommended them to me.
Apr 6, 2011 by Sharon |  See all 4 posts
Crude Language
I also just finished the book and don't recall any use of the "F" word ... It's a beautifully written book --ripe for discussion in a book club ...
Mar 25, 2010 by Daniel Acker |  See all 14 posts
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