By: Tatiana De Rosnay
To be completely honest, I read this book a few months ago and never got around to writing a proper review. Perhaps that says something about my feelings on the book, or maybe it just shows my laziness. Regardless, this review will probably be more general than most since the story isn’t as fresh in my mind and my emotions about the book are not as crisp as when I first finish a book.
Anyway, this book is set in Paris and is told from a modern-day narration by Julia, an American woman living and writing in Paris. Her latest assignment is on the 1942 Paris roundups and deportations of Jewish families. When they were initially arrested, they were held in a giant stadium and treated terribly and then eventually transported to Auschwitz. Julia ends up following the story of one particular young girl – Sarah.
Sarah’s story is heartbreaking and horrifying. The reader quickly learns what Sarah’s “key” is really all about and is sickened. Then we learn how it relates back to present day and Julia.
To be honest, I felt that the 1942 narrative was much more realistic and emotional than the present day. I actually began to feel like many things in the present day story were being wrapped up and tied together too neatly. I could almost expect what was going to happen next. And then when it did, I was disappointed.
All in all, I thought there were some really moving and important parts of this book. However, the present day narrative left me a bit disappointed overall. I think the idea behind the book is unique and much of the storytelling is genuine, but the present-day story ended up influencing my overall regard for the book. I still think it’s a worthwhile read – I just suggest you be prepared to be a little disappointed when the historical narrative is over and you’re left only with Julia’s current life.