Brilliant, Memorable Sarah’s Key

I think what I liked best about Tatiana de Rosnay’s memorable work of fiction entitled Sarah’s Key is its movement. I admire a writer who can make me want to turn the page, quickly. I found myself devouring every word Ms. de Rosnay wrote, wanting to know more, wanting to learn more, wanting to understand the characters and what happened—and happens—to them all.

Her writing is swift, often curt, with added punch. She uses fragments throughout the book to build the rapidity of the secret that our main character uncovers. Like this. Turn the page. Learn more. Insightful thoughts. Spanning time.

The brilliance of this novel is Ms. de Rosnay’s ability to bridge two time periods—present day and the 1940s in occupied France. And even more stunning is her ability to make us give a damn about the characters from both time periods. As an engaged reader, I care. I feel. I mourn. I hurt. I understand. I sense hope. All of these emotions emanating from the characters she has written for us.

I refuse to divulge one single element of this plot to readers. There is plenty of that online for you to read if you feel so inclined. Instead, I will simply tell you, this is a book that I will not soon forget. The haunting images Ms. de Rosnay paints for us combined with a sense of present-day hope taunt us and compel us to read on. Her eloquent, descriptive language, combined with the vigor with which she tells this story, add to its quickened pace and gripping nature.

Additionally, this book, its characters, her images—they all kept me up at night. I fell asleep one evening only to wake in the middle of the night with the plot weighing heavily on my mind. Sixty pages remained, and I was caught up in wonder. How would this story end? What was the author going to leave me with on the last page?

She did not let me down or disappoint me with Sarah’s story. Though readers may be able to guess at some of the plot lines of the present day story, it has no bearing on how they’ll feel about Sarah’s story.  The present day story gets a bit dull, but Ms. de Rosnay handles the possible predictability of her plot like a champ.

And that, my friends, is some incredibly strong writing.


  • Mom

    SARAH’S KEY evokes the same emotional response as SOPHIE’S CHOICE…different style of writing, but similar visceral reaction to the tragedy of that time and events. It’s interesting that both books center on a female character to recall the gut-wrenching circumstances of the war…and that goes for THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK too!!!

  • Steph's Scribe/Stephanie Verni


    As we talked about, I haven’t read Sophie’s Choice (and I know I should). For some reason, that book’s plot is so troubling and depressing to me…it will be hard to get through (though I did manage to make it through Sarah’s Key. I think the present day story helped with that). It’s a good observation about women writing about that time period, and doing so from a very emotional perspective, with description leading the way to understanding the immense tragedy of the events that occurred. It’s still hard to believe that it happened, and not that long ago.

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