November's book club choice was intense. It was Meg's turn to host, and she selected Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. A synopsis from GoodReads:
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: Journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past, and she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah.
As Julia retraces Sarah's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.
Apparently our book club has set a precedent of choosing horribly sad books (Shanghai Girls wasn't exactly full of laughs). I just finished this on vacation the other day (sadly, I wasn't able to make it to this month's book club meeting), and I found myself racing through it to find out what happened. At times, my heart was beating out of my chest, and I realized I was holding my breath. It was that good.
I knew nothing of what happened during Paris in July 1942, and it was devastating to learn of the horror that took place. The historical basis of this work of fiction only made the plot all the more intriguing. The only minor drawback to this book: I did wish the author had devoted a little less time to the situation of present-day Julia, and more time to Sarah's.
MR is hosting a special holiday edition brunch meeting next month, and the pressure is ON. Meg really knocked it out of the park with this one!