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4.4 out of 5 stars121
4.4 out of 5 stars
Format: Hardcover|Change
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on September 2, 2009
Five stars are not nearly sufficient to describe this most compelling read. By times, the story is so heart-rendering that one simply must put the book down and take a break. It is the story of a young girl, Sarah, and her family during the "French Roundup" of the Jewish people living in France during World War II. As the chapters unfold, a modern-day couple enter the scene and there is a second story to be told.

Apart from the plot and well-developed characters, an additional plus to the book is the short chapters. Written as a reflection on Sarah's childhood trials and tribulations, the chapters alternate from war time years of the early 40's to modern day. The alternate modern day chapters give a pleasant break to the attrocities committed during war time. Sarah's childhood and imprisonment in a concentration camp, the brother she left behind, and the loss of her parents are very painful parts of the book to read. The author has a unique writing style; the reader cannot help but feel all the emotion and chaos as if one was "living the reality" of this horrendous period in time.

The knowledge gained from "Sarah's Key" is that no matter how challenging our world is today, (yes, war still goes on and it is not a perfect world,) we should appreciate the freedom we do have and cherish each day. May there never be another holocaust, and may we learn to respect each other's values, religions, cultures and lifestyles so the world may live in peace and harmony. This book is most highly recommended. Also recommended is "Those Who Save Us" by Jenna Blum.
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on February 21, 2010
The book's historical story line was very interesting of the treatment of French Jews during the Holocaust. I enjoyed this part very much and often had a hard time reading how horrible the French police were at rounding up victims. As someone who has studied the Holocaust extensively I was shocked to discover that I knew nothing of Veladrome in France and what happened during the Holocaust. This part of the novel was well researched and constructed and it was interesting to see it through the eyes of a child. However, the "modern" story line of the main character was rather dull, predicable and cliche. It was step above a Danielle Steel novel. This part was rather disappointing and held little interest to me.
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on February 13, 2011
"Sarah's Key" centers on the shameful Vel' d'Hiv roundup of Jewish families in Paris by their compatriots, the memory of which has been collectively suppressed by the French people. Unfortunately the fictional part of this story fails to live up to the strength of the historical elements and is instead filled uninteresting, unbelievable, or unlikeable characters in contrived situations.

The historical facts in this story deserve telling, and I would suggest that you take a pass on this book and find a work of non-fiction on this topic instead except there don't seem to be any. For that reason alone this book may be worth your time.
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on November 29, 2013
I couldn't wait to start reading this book as I had heard so many great reviews from friends and colleagues. It was such a disappointment. The historical story of Sarah is interesting. Learning about the devastating conditions and extreme cruelty that occurred during the Vel d'Hiv round up was an education and eye-opener. However, the modern day tale of the journalist researching the events in July, 1942, was a complete waste of pages. As someone else mentioned, it's written like a bad romance novel. This book would be so much better if the author had stuck to telling Sarah's story and left out the rest. I struggled to finish the book once Sarah's story was told.
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on March 18, 2014
There's a good story in here somewhere, but this author didn't manage to write it. The historical events described are really interesting, and the idea for the book's plot is pretty good, but it is ruined by the sappy and predictable writing. Neither of the young girls is at all convincing - they are both wise well beyond their years. Julia's husband is a caricature and so are most of the (modern) French people in the story, which plays up the worst stereotypes about Parisians. I think the author incorporated the Julia storyline so that female adult readers would identify with the narrator more, but I just found her annoying -- and frankly, by the end her obsession with Sarah was bordering on creepy. I wanted to like the book, and I guess to a certain extent I did, but I kept finding myself rolling my eyes at the transparent attempts to wring tears from the readers. The events described are sad enough without needing to layer on extra pathos.
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on August 22, 2011
I was so disappointed in this book, I saw an advertisment for the movie coming out and since I prefer books to film I purchased it for my Kindle, I did not read the more negative reviews,I won't make that mistake again. I felt this was just too simplified reading. It only kept me reading as I wanted to find out what happened to Sarah, the idea was a good one. I felt I was dragging myself through the book a paragraph at a time. Very repetitive and writing over and over again the facts which had already been covered. It reminded me of several books I have read over the years. If I know I'm reading page by page the writing is very poor. I just kept hoping it would ge better it didn't. It seems like a writer once they become known need to turn out a book every year rather than one good book every few years or they are a poor writer and just fill pages. Another reviewer said it reminded her of Danielle Steele, I haven't read her books in years for the very same reason. I found The Kite Runner to be the same. Great reviews but a poor read. I keep hearing 'what a great book' and I'm thinking am I the only one who doesn't feel that way.
I can't say much more without being repetitive myself.
Annette Code
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on March 3, 2012
Amazon has never steered me wrong when it comes to great books... and Sarah's key is no exception. I have been moved to tears on numerous occasions while reading this book. It is unbeliveably powerful, haunting, and at the same time has such joyful moments they also bring a tear to your eyes. You feel so strongly for Sarah and her poor unfortunate little brother. These characters come alive with each page. I had not known of the Vel d'hiv previously and now that I do I want to go to Paris and find the plaques. This awful tradgey should be talked about and remembered so something like this doesn't happen again. I know Sarah and her family is fictious, however what they endured is accurately portrayed in this novel. It is coming up to the 70th anniversary of the Vel d'hiv roundup. Everyone should read this book and remember.
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on April 24, 2009
I absolutely adored reading this book. The book delves into a black time in Parisian history that while I am well versed in history I had no idea happened. I was actually left questioning why this topic isn't covered in school. I had an absolutely amazing Comp Civ teacher in school who pushed the boundaries on what he taught his students, but yet this was not included in our learning. His theory was that it was his responsibility to teach us as much about the past injustices inflicted on innocent people that history wouldn't repeat itself.

Not only does this book tell a dark story, it also tells a story of hope. Those who risked their lives to do everything they could to make the lives of these Jewish children should be an inspiration to us all.

One piece of advise, make sure that you have an extended block of time available to sit down at read Sarah's key, because if you're like me you'll read the entire novel in one sitting, and then head to the computer to read more.
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on July 22, 2010
I found Sara's side of the story to be very much a page-turner, gripping, sad, and I enjoyed reading this part of the book for the most part. I didn't know much about what had happened in Paris so some of it was very new for me which I appreciated. I was not at all interested in Julia as a character, honestly found her to be quite pathetic, did not sympathize with her. I thought it was very weak character development, if that's what you call it, kind of predictable and seemed almost phony. I agree with a previous review that it was something like Danielle Steel. Didn't love the writing style. I would give it three stars because it wasn't terrible, but I certainly wouldn't go rushing out to recommend it to friends...and I know there are better books out there on this topic area...
Overall an easy read though and some women in my book club really enjoyed it.
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on July 18, 2012
A wonderfully written, captivating work of fiction. I am not one to re-read books but have just ordered the gift edition of this book so that I could at least have one copy in pristine condition. I recommend this book every time the talk of books arises.

It will tug at your heart strings, make you wonder, make you want to read faster...but then slower since you never want it to end. Such an amazing book it is hard to find words. If you're thinking of picking it up, just do. Truly amazing!
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