Vel’ d’ Hiv’
Three Word Review: Heartbreak, Tragedy, Secrecy
Sarah’s Key surrounds two individuals and time periods: Sarah a ten-year-old Jewish girl in 1942, and Julia an American Journalist in 2002. Both stories begin in Paris, France. Julia begins research on the sixtieth anniversary of the Vel’ d’ Hiv‘. The Vel’d’Hiv’ Roundup was a mass arrest upon 13,152 Jewish men, women, and children in July 1942 by the French police. Julia discovers that many French citizens are either unaware of the tragic event or deny it. Sarah’s family was arrested and taken to the Vélodrome d’Hiver (indoor cycle track) where they lived in terrible conditions before being sent to death camps. During the arrest, Sarah told her younger brother Michael to hide in the cupboard and she would return to free him with the key. Julia discovers a secret connection to Sarah and is determined to learn all the facts. However, during her research into Sarah’s past she begins to question her own life. Sarah’s Key is filled with heartbreak through Sarah’s and Julia’s eyes.
I enjoyed Sarah’s Key, but at times I thought it was a little predictable. It highlights a small tragic event through the eyes of a young girl. I think Sarah’s Key would be a great discussion for a book club.