There are two parts to this novel and the author moves from one to the other weaving the two into one fascinating story.Â In 1942, little Sarah and her family are taken from Paris home by the French police at the direction of the Nazis.Â Ten-year-old Sarah hides her younger brother in a secret area, hoping to keep him safe.Â She believes the trip with the police will be short and promises to be back to let him out.Â Â With the key in her pocket, she and her parents join others sent to the Vel' d'Hiv for processing to eastern "labor camps".Â Â Most die in concentration camps.
Sarah tells the story of the Jewish people, the conditions in the Vel' d'Hiv, and how children were separated from parents, some torn from the arms of their mothers or fathers.Â Later packed into cattle cars they are deported to "labor campsâ.Â Â Always the frightened Sarah thinks always of her brother locked away waiting for her return.
Years later, Julia Jarmond, an American journalist, is researching to write about the 60th anniversary of Val' d'Hiv.Â Like Julia, I was unaware of the horror of this period during the Nazi occupation.Â JuliaÂ uncovers Sarah's story and what happens to her parents and her brother, hidden away only to die of starvation.Â Finding a link to her husband's family she becomes deeply involved and determined to learn more.Â
The Vel' d'Hiv gathering of Jewish people by French collaborators is a tragic eventÂ most French prefer to forget.Â Â This tragic part of French involvement in exterminating their Jewish population was concealed.Â The French prefer to forget and focus on the future.Â The author reminds us to be alert and to never forget how little human life can mean to some groups.Â Â In our own country with violent groups bent on creating chaos and upsetting our government, we must be alert to what could happen.Â It's so important.Â NEVER FORGET
I saw the movie (on Netflix) before I read the book. 99% of the time the book is way, way better than the movie, so if possible I always see the movie first, so I can enjoy it for what it is, and then read the book to enjoy it more. This time I would say the book and movie are about equal. The book has more detail, more background, more insight into Julia's marriage. When there are discrepancies between book and movie, the movie actually tightens the plot, cuts down the rambling end, removes the swearing (there's not much of that to begin with), and keeps it down to a PG13. I highly recommend both book and movie.
I thought I had read all of the holocaust books I'd ever read, but had read nothing about the Jews who were rounded up in July 1942 in France by the French police, under orders from the Nazis ocupying France. It is definitely worth reading combining Sarah's story, the mystery of her missing brother, and 60 years later the connection to an American journalist and her family living in France.
It was definitely a page turner, rich in intrigue and suspense. Yes, you will weep, but you will also rejoice.
It took a while for me to read this - so glad I did.
Truly amazing and chilling story about an event that I was not aware happened historically.
Well written page turner!!
although, this was one of the most heartbreaking, sad, tearful book I have ever read, it is one of the best stories I have ever read.
The Story line was interesting. I found it hard to relate to the characters. The history woven in was the most compelling.
Present and past collide in this novel, which very cleverly deals with the unraveling of a marriage and the story of Sarah, a child who survived the round-up and extermination of French Jews in 1942. Very moving (and more than a little emotional for me, as my father also survived Vichy France).
An unflinching look at the horrors of war and the Holocaust as perpetrated by the French Vichy government and the Parisian police force. The anti-Semitism and betrayal of the French Jewish population was a crime against humanity and an indictment of French society for its collaboration with the Nazis and its indifference to its own citizens. Could have been a 5-star read but for a slow beginning and some unevenness--predictable in places but throat-gripping in others. Probably will keep my copy and read it again.
Great book! The cover pictured on website is not accurate. The cover is a more updated & colorful. This was also made into a movie, but the movie did not come close to being as good as the book.
Very interesting and well written. I would highly recommend it
really liked this book. would recommend this highly.
This is a gripping story that I had to read in one day. This author takes you back
in time to WW11 and then to the present and when you follow the main character you feel her trauma. A good club read.