Sarah's Key

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Historical Fiction: Sarah’s Key

The horror of the Holocaust is known by almost everyone in the world. We know of Hitler, the German army, however what tends to go un-noticed or forgotten are other countries’ implications. This is what Tatiana de Rosnay’s book Sarah’s Key brings up throughout its pages. Utilizing a fictional character set in the historic time of 1942 during the round-ups of the Holocaust, the reader is able to get a better sense of the great amount of pain the French Jewish people of France faced. Including these historically based chapters that were woven within another interlinking plot helps the reader learn at the same pace as the book’s main character Julia. The reader begins to rely on Julia for emotional support when learning information of such a shocking historical moment. The book offers the reader a way to learn and remember a forgotten past.

Tatiana de Rosnay alternates her story between the past and the present. In the present journalist Julia Jarmond discovers the story of Sarah Starzynski, a young French Jewish girl, while researching for an article to cover the 60th anniversary of the roundup. She discovers that the apartment she is about to move into with her family was once, sixty years ago, the home Sarah had been taken from during the roundup known as “spring breeze”. Julia becomes intrigued to the point of obsession with Sarah’s story and wants to know every aspect of her life, and how it is that the French police were able to do such a horrific thing. Most of the population during the time of the war simply thought, “It’s the French police, no one will harm them…nothing was in the papers… No one seemed preoccupied. So we weren’t either” (68). Julia later learns that her in-laws, who acquired the apartment after Sarah’s family, knew a lot about the situation yet do not want to talk about it. Having the fictional life of a current woman greatly aids in having the reader relate to Sarah and the historical events;...
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