Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Review: Sarah's Key & Giveaway

Summary: 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. -- St. Martin's Griffin

I am so embarrassed to say that SARAH'S KEY by Tatiana de Rosnay has sitting in my TBR pile for over a month. When Sarah from St. Martin's Press asked me if I was interested in reading this novel, I knew it sounded like a book that I would love. I have always been fascinated with books about World War II, especially ones that deal with the Holocaust. Unfortunately this ARC (along with the giveaway copy) got buried, and I kind of forgot about them! What a huge mistake because I thought this book was very, very good. This just further proves what I already know -- too many great books and not enough time to read them all.

This book covered a horrific event in France history; and I hate to admit it, but I was absolutely clueless. Like everyone else in the world, I was aware of the Holocaust -- I just didn't know that almost 13,000 Jews were arrested in Paris on July 16th, 1942. These people were taken from their homes by French policemen under orders of the German Gestapo. Most of the adults were sent directly to concentration camps; however, some of the adults and children were moved to the Vél d’Hiv, an indoor stadium used for bicycle races. For almost a week, people were held here in horrific conditions until they were shipped out to concentration camps.

The beginning of this book just broke my heart. When the policeman came to round-up her family, Sarah, a 10 year old girl, locks her 4 year old brother in a closet and tells him that she'll be back for him soon. Unknown to her at the time, the French police are taking her and her parents to the Vél d’Hiv; and they have no plans to allow Sarah's family to go back home . The guilt that this young girl feels for leaving her brother just tore me apart. I actually felt sick as I read (and thought) about Sarah's pain. As a reader, I just kept wondering how much Sarah could handle; and I have to say that I couldn't stop thinking about this young child.

The book also tells the story of Julia, an American journalist living in France 60 years later, who is researching the Vél d’Hiv incident for an article. Julia is amazed that she wasn't familiar with this part of France's history, and she soon finds out that most French people aren't comfortable discussing it. As she learns more about this awful time, she discovers that her husband's family has actual ties to a displaced family. As Julia's personal life becomes more complicated, she begins to get emotionally involved with the people she is researching; and she eventually starts to question her own life.

I really appreciated how the author went back and forth between Julia's life in the present and Sarah's past -- it was an extremely smooth transition for me. I also felt that she did an incredible job of weaving together the two stories. From the very first page, I was drawn into these characters' lives, and I had to know what happened to them (especially Sarah.) It is very clear to me that Ms. de Rosnay did a huge amount of research while writing this novel. If you would like to learn more about that time in history, you can read this very interesting historical perspective. In addition, there is also a fascinating Q&A with the author where you can learn more about the background of this book.

This book also had quite a few surprises in it which kept the reader guessing. Most of the characters were living with some type of secret; and I thoroughly enjoyed how Ms. de Rosnay "unlocked" each of these secrets. I thought she did an amazing job of tying together the stories and developing the symbolism of the key throughout the novel. I was extremely impressed with Ms. de Rosnay's plot as well as her writing style.

This book would make for an amazing book club selection! There is a wonderful reading guide available to keep your discussion on track. There are so many important themes to discuss and analyze; and I know it would be very interesting to hear everyone's ideas about the book. I'm sure that my book club would enjoy learning about this historic event, while also appreciating the beauty of the novel.

I realize that SARAH'S KEY was released yesterday, and I'm a little late with this giveaway; however, I do have an ARC of this book that I'd love to give to one lucky reader. If you'd like to win a copy of this beautiful book, please leave a comment with your e-mail after this post. As usual, you can blog about the contest with a link back to this post to double your chances. The contest will be open until Saturday, October 11th at 11:59 p.m. EST. I will announce the winner on the following day. This giveaway is only open to those of you with U.S. and Canada mailing addresses. Good luck!

Also reviewed at:
Claire M. Caterer

101 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I would love to read this book. Please enter me. milou2ster(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Mom of 5 Boys said...

I also love WWII books, and I spent a year and a half in France, so this one really appeals to me. I would love a chance to win the book. Thanks!

Feener said...

count me in...feener44atgmaildotcom

Serena said...

you know, WWII books and I am all about it, particularly those dealing with the Holocaust.

savvyverseandwit AT gmail DOT com

Jersey Shore Deb said...

Someone in my book group had recommended this book, and your post makes me want to read it--and have our group read it--even more. I'd love to win your copy!
Debby
email: ruthsgirl61(at)yahoo(dot)com

Ti said...

Count me in please. This books sounds wonderful.

thereedfamily[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

Amanda said...

Oh count me in! Thank you!

Lisa said...

I would love to read this book - please elnter me in your giveaway!
Thanks
lisamos64[at]gmail[dot]com

Ruby (Mouth) said...

Would love a chance to read this book. I have heard lots of good things.

angelleslament @ gmail.com

Dar said...

Oh, pick me, pick me.
bj19662001@yahoo.ca

Melissa said...

Would love to read this one! Thanks for the chance.

bluebyrd said...

Please add me! I love historical novels!

bluebyrd24 at gmail dot com

bookworm said...

This sounds like a wonderful novel, please enter me for it! Thank you.

Red lady-Bonnie said...

Please add my name to your drawing, I would love to read this book!

redladysreadingroomATgmailDOTcom

Red lady-Bonnie said...

I'll be blogging about this as well today!

http://redladysreadingroom-redlady.blogspot.com/

Laura H said...

I am interested in WWII also. Please enter me.

Seaside Book worm said...

I have been wanting to read this for a year. Please add me to your drawing.

Mariah said...

Please enter me, it sounds interesting! I have posted about your contest here: http://www.randombuzzers.com/forums/?view=posts&forum_id=7&post_id=75179#post_75179

Thanks!
penguinqueen(at)hotmail(dot)com

Seaside Book worm said...

just added a link to your blog

traveler said...

When I was browsing through a bookstore this weekend I saw this book and was immediately captivated by it. What a wonderful giveaway. Thanks for this chance.

anne said...

I am extremely interested in reading books that are about this era and dealing with the Holocaust, in particular. Thanks for featuring this unique novel.

diane said...

This story reaches out to me. I have a favorite type of novel and this is it. What a great story and it would be a pleasure to read.

Corinne said...

One of my favorite periods in history :) sheelysmom at gmail dot come

heatherlo said...

I would LOVE to win this book... I'm also posting about the giveaway right now. YOu can find the giveaway post at my blog: http://heatherlo.wordpress.com.
thanks for doing this!!

ruth said...

One book that I intend to read is this amazing story. This type of story appeals to me and I would appreciate it greatly.

ellie said...

This historical and beautiful book of a difficult time and place is fascinating and a worthwhile story. Thanks for this great giveaway.

Heather said...

this book sounds fantastic!
belleofthebooksATgmailDOTcom
Thanks so much!

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

Sounds wonderful! Please enter me!

Karlie said...

Sounds like a great read. Please enter me.

kamewh said...

This sounds like a great book!

cpullum said...

I would love to read this book!!!

A Real Librarian said...

Sounds like a great book!! Please enter me! Thanks!!!

areallibrarian[at]gmail[dot]com

Michele said...

I'm most certainly interested!

Icedream said...

This sounds like a wonderful book. I would love to be entered. Thank you. I will be posting this giveaway and will be back with link back from my blog.

waitmantwillie(AT)hotmail(DOT)com

mrs.mommyy said...

this is on one of my daughters want to read so since she has good taste, I wanna read it too..then she can read it

windycindy said...

Hi, My dad is a survivor of WWII. He is 90 years old. He tells the most interesting stories about his experiences. Please enter me in your delightful book drawing. Many thanks, Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

Carrie K. said...

This sounds like a fantastic read - please enter me!

nnjmom at yahoo dot com

Melanie said...

Enter me. I can never have enough books to read!

Melanie
ladynole35@yahoo.com

Holly said...

This sounds fascinating. I've seen the book but yours is the first review. I definitely want to read it. Thanks for offering it. I blogged it too: http://2kidsandtiredbooks.blogspot.com/2008/10/giveaways.html

Alyce said...

This is definitely a book I would like to read!

Anna said...

I'd love to read this book! I'm always looking for good books about the WWII era.

I put your contest in my sidebar.

--Anna
http://diaryofaneccentric.blogspot.com
diaryofaneccentric[at]hotmail[dot]com

Rebekah E. said...

I would love to read this book. Please enter me.
bc428[at]juno[dot]com

Marigold said...

What a fascinating story about a terrible period of world history. Thanks for sharing!

boldnessbe(at)gmail(dot)com

jenna said...

A book that concentrates on this profound and painful topic is appealing. I think that this historic time should never be forgotten. Thanks for this giveaway which is the ultimate.
rojosho(at)hotmail(at)com

blueviolet said...

I can tell that this will be a book I'm unlikely to forget. I'd love to read it.
doot65{at}comcast[dot]net
Elizabeth

ForstRose said...

I love historical fiction and have long had a facination with especially this period of history.

Please enter me.

Melissa
forest_rose[at]yahoo[dot]com

janetfaye said...

Please enter me for this beautiful book.

janetfaye (at) gmail (dot) com

Liz said...

I would love to read this book DJLunchlady91404@yahoo.com

Tiffany said...

I'd love to read this book as well....please throw my name in the batch.

bethany said...

WOW, you have so many entries for this one!!! Awesome! I will keep my fingers crossed that I get a good shot at this book.

Thanks so much!!
bethany (dot) canfield (at) gmail (dot) com

Jeane said...

I would love to win a copy of this book, but it's looks unlikely- wow, how many comments you got on this one! jeanenevarez at gmail dot com. Thanks!

Stephanie said...

Looks like a great book!

daq_17 at hotmail dot com

janehixon said...

I have seen several reviews of Sarah's Key recently. It is such a terrible time in the world's history........a time that is important that we do not ever forget. I would very much like to read this book.

Wezzie125 said...

After reading about your giveaway on Redlady's Reading Room, I decided to come over and read your review! Bonnie was correct, that was an awesome review and you make it a must for a wishlist! Yes! I want to read Sarah's Key!!~Marie-Louise ;o)
mybarnie@optonline.net

Carrie K. said...

I posted about this giveaway:
http://carrie.homeschooljournal.net/2008/10/03/links-for-friday-69/

samsakara said...

I would love to get my hands on this book.

samsakara@twcny.rr.com

jenna said...

Count me in!
frog123 (at) cyipcom (dot) net

Anita Yancey said...

I enjoyed the review very much. This book sounds very interesting. I would love to read it. Please enter me.
ayancey@dishmail.net

deb said...

First time to your reviews. Found it compelling and would very much like to read the book.
saturn53@aol.com

Megan said...

I would love to read this book.

meganmichel4@gmail.com

AmandaSue said...

Sounds like a good book, I was unaware of all that happened, and I'd surely love a chance to learn more about it. Thanks for entering me

Nancy said...

This sounds like a very interesting book about a fascinating time in history. Until now, I was not aware of the events on that day in France. Thank you for the chance to win this book.

Nancy
allibrary [at] aol [dot] com

mommyjen99 said...

I have been hearing a lot of good reviews on this book, please enter me to win
jen62728@aol.com

Brimful Curiosities said...

This sounds like a very good book. Thank you for the chance.

ihchicky said...

This looks like a wonderful book. I love WWII books. Thank you so much for the chance. If I don't win this, I'll probably have to end up purchasing it!

ihchicky said...

I blogged about your giveaway here: http://everythingupclose.blogspot.com/2008/10/giveaway-list.html

Jessica said...

I just saw this book at Borders today and added it to my tbr list. I'd love to be entered in your giveaway. My email is jnaomicline at yahoo dotcom

planetbooks said...

Hi there! Please enter me in this giveaway. I would love to win!
XOXO-K

Sunny said...

I would love to be entered. Thanks!

sj3girls(at)hotmail(dot)com

Smilingsal said...

Thank you for the opportunity to win this book. I'd like to be considered.
smilingsal55[at]yahoo[dot]com

Come enter MY giveaway!
http://bookcritiques.blogspot.com/

Linda said...

Enjoyed your review; the idea of traveling back and forth from the present to the past sounds intriguing; and I enjoy the WWII era. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

pintolinda said...

I would love to read Sarah's Key. I recently visited Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam and felt so sad and touched at all that happened in WWII. Thank you for bringing this book to my attention and for the giveaway.

My Kingdom for a Book said...

This is my favorite era of history. Sadly, I don't know as much about the French part of history as I do about German and Dutch. I'd really love to read this book! Thanks for the giveaway.

busweet(at)gmail(dot)com

Pat Connors said...

I would like a chance too. Thanks for the contest.

risanjax@Metrocast.net

Paula said...

Have heard nothing but good things about this book. Would love to read it.

judybrittle said...

The book sounds really good. Thank you for the chance!

kaye said...

I would like a chance at this one, Please

florida982002@yahoo dot com

shelburns said...

I would love to get my hands on this book! I have posted about it here: http://writeforareader.edublogs.org/2008/10/08/wednesday-blog-watching/

avisannschild said...

Please enter me in this giveaway!

avisannschild said...

I also blogged about this giveaway here.

iubookgirl said...

Oh, I've been dying to read this one! Please enter me.

Melanie said...

Count me in!

ladynole35@yahoo.com

Cindy said...

I am dying to read this book. Please count me in

cindysloveofbooksarcATgmailDOTcom

petite said...

I just finished reading this emotional and beautiful story.I borrowed it from the library. It will remain with me forever. I would love to give it to a special woman who deserves it. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Awesome giveaway! The book sounds amazing!
Could you enter me? Thanks!

+ Evan S.

Carolyn said...

My daughter just finished Anne Frank and she would probably like to read this also. A very sad period in history.

Yansor said...

I am amazed at the attention my book has been getting here !

Thank you very much :)

Tatiana de Rosnay
paris, France

http://www.sarahskey.com/

kaylee8 said...

This sounds like a wonderful book!

bison61 said...

thanks-this sounds like a great book to read

tiramisu392 (at) yahoo.com

lorides said...

I could use a book to read, this one looks great

Peggy said...

I would enjoy reading Sarah's Key,enjoy history ,sadden that it happened . Count me in to win

Stephanie said...

This looks great! Thanks for the opportunity!

daq_17 at hotmail dot com

nancy said...

Looks like an interesting read, please count me in!

Heather said...

Do I even dare? I just cried and cried watching Sophie's Choice, and this sounds like something that would bring about the same reaction.
I swear, if I win and this makes me an emotional wreck, I will comment harshly! Harshly, I say! ;-)

klp1965 said...

PLEASE COUNT ME IN ON THIS AWESOME GIVEAWAY :)

darbyscloset said...

Jule,
I could swear that I entered this drawing yet I can't find my post.
I would love to read this amazing book...I need a good tear duct cleaning...your review is a very good teaser!
Darby
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

Sandra said...

Wow, what a lot of entries. I'd like to be entered too please. Thank you.

calgirl said...

This book is timely in showing how people who wanted CHANGE without knowing what was being changed and putting the blinders on can effect history. The holocaust is a tragic result. I hope I win.

girlof80s said...

This sounds like such a great book and I really hope I win it so I can read it. I like the fact that the book keeps readers guessing at times. I love books like that. This is a great giveaway. Thanks.
girlof80s@aol.com

Claire said...

I reviewed this on my blog as well, and since you asked, here it is:

http://clairecaterer.blogspot.com/2008/03/sarah-speaks.html

Melissa said...

I love WWII books and have heard great things about this one. Please enter me. My email is on my profile.