Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosney

January 7, 2014
Unlock your spirits with the novel, Sarah’s Key, written by Tatiana De Rosnay. This New York Times bestseller brings out the love between siblings while highlighting the importance of the French roundup in 1942 and giving tribute to the children of Vel’ d’Hiv’. The novel has received praise from various people including other authors, Holocaust survivors, and The Roanoke Times.

Sarah’s Key brings a new and fresh approach to the literary scene by introducing two protagonists and placing them in two completely different eras of life. The novel begins with Sarah’s, story in 1942 and her first glimpse at the French Vel’ d’Hiv roundup of Jews. In order to protect her brother from the French police, she locked him in their secret cupboard. As the story continues, it intertwines with that of an American journalist residing in France named Julia Jarmond. The novel explores both Sarah’s experience in the Holocaust, and Julia’s difficulty understanding the Vel’ d’Hiv’ along with all the obstacles it caused.
The different style Sarah’s Key was written in was a fantastic idea. However, the manner in which the two protagonist’s story lines were written can be very controversial. After every chapter, the story would change perspective by transitioning back and forth from Sarah and Julia. The changes in the plot could easily confuse the reader, and make the flow of each protagonist’s story difficult to follow. Though the breaks in the plot may be thought of negatively, another can argue that the transitions between the two characters provide suspense and leave the one eager for more. Despite the trade offs the style of writing contains, the two settings of the book creates a unique format that distinguishes the book from others.

In every piece of literature, characters are an essential element crucial to its success. Sarah’s Key successfully used the characters as a tool to provide a more real and intimate relationship with the reader. The characters in the novel are to life not only due to the depressing feelings associated with the Holocaust, but also the level of persistence brought on by each of the protagonists. Although there exists a big age difference between the two characters, the characters wound up with striking similarities within their virtues and characteristics. The persistence each protagonist had, was fueled from the human trait of want or desire, which allowed them to appear more realistic. As Sarah longed for her brother and freedom, Julia struggled with the need for information and truth about the under recognized roundup. The determination of the two females is both moving and inspiring, causing the novel to be set apart from other stories.

While the two protagonists struggled continuously with their own issues, the author did not forget about the terrors which occurred during that time. Tragedies such as death, loss, and abuse reoccurred throughout the novel which can cause hearts to drop. In regards to the severity of the subject, one can argue that the contents of stories such as these be lessened. Be as it may, the depressing events deserved to be recognized and the author did not shy away from taking on the challenge of writing about such a serious topic. Even while recognizing and writing about the grievous events, De Rosnay managed to incorporate aspects of love and hope. The setting of the plots are enhanced by these small, touching details because they allow for sympathy. Tatiana De Rosnay wrote an account of the Holocaust in a manner that described it without hindering the truth, but yet is not too gory and appropriate for almost all audiences.

The beauty of this novel was reflected through the actions the protagonists take in order to achieve their goals due to the horrors of the Holocaust. Tatiana De Rosnay’s take on the French roundup demonstrates virtues such as honesty, love, and care within her characters. Sarah’s Key is a fantastic fictional story written in a way to keep you rooting for the characters during a time of difficulty.

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