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Sarah's Key Paperback – September 30, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (September 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312370849
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312370848
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,064 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"A wonderful book." --Joy Behar, The View 

“This is the shocking, profoundly moving and morally challenging story...  It will haunt you, it will help to complete you… nothing short of miraculous.”  -Augusten Burroughs
 
“Just when you thought you might have read about every horror of the Holocaust, a book will come along and shine a fierce light upon yet another haunting wrong.  SARAH'S KEY is such a novel.  In remarkably unsparing, unsentimental prose... through a lens so personal and intimate, it will make you cry--and remember.” -Jenna Blum, author of Those Who Save Us
 
"A haunting, riveting novel... This book grabs your heart in the opening chapter, and its scenes and characters stay with you long after you finish." --Publishers Weekly, a PW 2008 Staff Pick
 
“Masterly and compelling, it is not something that readers will quickly forget. Highly recommended.”-Library Journal, Starred Review

“Exceptional, emotional, and compelling…” – Sacramento Bee

“A powerful novel… Tatiana de Rosnay has captured the insane world of the Holocaust and the efforts of the few good people who stood up against it in this work of fiction more effectively than has been done in many scholarly studies. It is a book that makes us sensitive to how much evil occurred and also to how much willingness to do good also existed in that world.” --Rabbi Jack Riemer, South Florida Jewish Journal
 
“A remarkable novel written with eloquence and empathy.” -Paula Fox, author of Borrowed Finery
 
"A story of hearts broken, first by the past, then by family secrets, and the truth that begins to repair the pieces. A beautiful novel." -Linda Francis Lee, bestselling author of The Ex-Debutante
 
“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
 
“This is a remarkable historical novel... it's a book that impresses itself upon one's heart and soul forever.” –Naomi Ragen, author of The Saturday Wife
 
"Sarah's Key is told from both the perspective of an 10-year-old girl whose family is rounded up during the Vel D'Hiv in France in 1942 and an American who presently lives in Paris. The heartbreak is real, the love is true, and the need to find out how their two lives are connected made this one of my absolute favorites!" -Sarah Galvin, The Bookstore Plus, Lake Placid, NY
 
"Just read Sarah's Key and LOVED IT... SUCH FUN TO DISCOVER A TREASURE.  THANKS FOR EVERYTHING." -Diane Garrett, Diane's Books of Greenwich
 
"I was overwhelmed by a novel that I had missed when it first came our way--Sarah's Key.  It is a page-turner about World War II, the Holocaust and contemporary Paris.  I couldn't put it down."  -Roberta, The Book Stall at Chestnut Court (Front Line, Newsletter)
 
 “Just as gripping as The Diary of Anne Frank and Schindler’s List.” -Ginny Thompson, Book Club Member
 
 “Sarah’s Key is the most compelling, gripping novel I’ve read in a long time.  Loved everything about it.” -Audrey Raclaw, Book Club Member
 
“An incredible story, beautifully written.  Could not put it down.” -Georgia Kelly, Book Club Member
 
“I will remember this story…..I enjoyed the characters and learned something about this period that was not a popular tale.” -Barb Toslosky, Book Club Member
 
“Wonderfully written.  Kept me on the edge of my seat every moment.  An emotional journey.  One of my favorite novels.  Up there with the best- If walls could talk.  An outstanding personalization of the horrors of the hococaust.” -Charlotte Hanebuth, Book Club Member
 
 “A beautifully written, poignant novel based on a shameful period in French history.  A must read for all lovers of historical fiction.” -Barbara Mix, Book Club Member
 
 “Totally excellent book.  Read it in one day.  The book made me aware of the French round up.  I would like to know if Julia and William got involved.” -Kathleen McCann, Book Club Member
 
 “Wonderfully written page turner.  Such an interesting and mysterious story!” -Sue Sneary, Book Club Member
 
 “Tatiana’s ability to get me into the ‘head’ of her characters is phenomenal.  I had such empathy for Julia and Sarah.” -Kathleen Voight, Book Club Member
 
 “The book is beautifully written – two stories that intersect in a Paris apartment.  Sarah’s love of her brother filled her life with guilt, overshadowing her life with sadness.” -Beth Carpenter, Book Club Member
 
 “Wonderfully written one woman’s quest for the truth.” -Carol Adams, Book Club Member

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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 http://www.tatianaderosnay.com/
Her Twitter feed : http://twitter.com/tatianaderosnay

Customer Reviews

Simply put, Sarah's Key is a well written, very interesting story.
Susan J. Calderon
Having just finished reading it (truly hard to put down), I believe this book will stay with me a long time.
The Good Life
If you are interested in historical fiction, Holocaust history this is the book for you.
Lovely Reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

876 of 899 people found the following review helpful By Z Hayes HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
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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207 of 219 people found the following review helpful By Roger Brunyate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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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499 of 556 people found the following review helpful By S. Hanson on July 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
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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59 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Jane Wittbrodt on October 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book seems to have two different authors. The first writes a poignant, riveting story based on an important event in history. De Rosnay weaves a personal human tragedy into the horror of Vel'd'Hiv', smacking the reader in the face with man's inhumanity to man. The first half of the book and its conclusion were heartbreaking, physically painful, and I felt that De Rosnay was making the statement of her life. I will "Zakhor. Al Tiehkah/ Remember. Never Forget".

The second half of the book made me mad. I only kept reading because of Julia's relationship with her father-in-law. It was predictable, Hollywood schlock.

I wish the author would rewrite the book from page 160 without the superfluous characters, destinations... and without Julia's incessant, repetitious thought process. Unfortunately, De Rosnay dilutes a powerful story and loses her reader's respect; respect that I think was well earned in the first half of the book.
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