By Tatiana de Rosnay Released on September 30, 2008 By St. Matin's Griffin Genre: Fiction - WW II- Holocaust
The Story: (from Goodreads.com) 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. My Review: This story broke my heart. I wasn't even sure I could rate this story because it was so heart wrenching but when I though about it how are we ever going to not repeat the past if the stories are not retold? The book opens with a disclaimer that the people are fiction but the facts of the round up are as accurate as history records show. The story itself is told from alternate periods of time. In 1942 Sarah is 10 and is taken in the round up and it flips to 2002 Paris where an American who has lived in paris over 25 years is the narrator, Julia. Julia's marriage is falling apart as she searches for what happened to Sarah. The two stories slowing intertwine for a heart broking tale that made me cry and laugh. I recommend this book to anyone who reads historical novels about WW II and or the holacaust as it talks about a little known round up of French Born Jewish families by the French Police in 1942.
My only complaint is that the ending of one of the tales is wrapped up too nicely for my taste. That is all I can say on the matter without giving out spoilers. I highly recommend this book. Within 24 hours of finishing it I had already pasted it on to a girl at work that enjoys these types of stories too.