Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

About the book/film

Set in Paris, this book has two main characters: Sarah, a 10-year old Jewish girl and Julia, an American journalist who is researching events of World War II. 

What I think about the BOOK

Fairly early on you can predict the fate of Sarah and her family, but yet reading about it - and all the harrowing details - is not boring. As Julia researches the events of the Vel' d'Hiv to write an article to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of this atrocity, she becomes more and more affected by what she discovers. Coupled with a personal trauma, I found her a very sympathetic character.

I immediately felt pulled in by this narrative. For the first half of the book the two main characters take turns to be the centre of a chapter. This has the effect of not one, but two stories driving the narrative forward and both were equally compelling. I liked the fact that the different chapters, those of Sarah and Julia, were written in different styles and found this book to be a real page-turner.  

What I Think about the FILM

Having read this book about six months ago I recently watched the film (director and screenplay: Gilles Paquet-Brenner). I always like to read the book first to allow my imagination to shape the setting and the characters. This does, more often than not, ruin the film. The best way round this is to wait a while. However, in this case I was not disappointed. The screenplay was phenomenally close to the original book to the point that I don't think anything was omitted or added unnecessarily. 

Kristen Scott Thomas is wonderful in the screen version of Sarah's Key (original title: Elle s'appelait Sarah), which is a predominantly French film. She brings depth and the right level of emotion to the character of Julia. The other actors, including Mélusine Mayance who plays the young Sarah Starzynski, are also brilliant. 

About the author

Tatiana de Rosnay was born in Paris and is of English, French and Russian descent. Since 1992 she has published eight novels in French. Sarah's Key was her first novel written in English and has already been translated into 20 languages.


  1. Will look out for this book. Sounds interesting.

  2. Sounds interesting, always on the hunt for new books that I can pile up to eventually read :-)

  3. Geweldig book. Het book ging over heel de afdeling op mijn werk. Wat ik leuk vind om te doen is via je boek aanmelden een nummer geven en in de trein achterlaten of op een bankje in het park. Soms reizen ze de hele wereld over!
    liefs Beatrix

  4. Hiya! I came across your blog by chance and as I love books as well, I had to post a comment. Sarah's key is on my TBR shelf. I really like Tatiana de Rosnay's books, her style of writing and everything in her stories. Have you read any other books from her?
    I have read Boomerang, Moka and Le voisin, and all three of them are great!

    Lara Emilie @

    1. I haven't read anything else by her, but certainly hope to! Thanks for reading and leaving a comment!

  5. Great review of one of my favorite books. I can't wait to see the film.

    Also now following your blog.

    Here's mine if you would like to check it out.

    1. I would really recommend the film - it's fantastic! I've been to your blog and am now following you back! :)


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