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“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: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France’s past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl’s ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d’Hiv’, to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah’s past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.”

This is one of those books that I was looking forward to reading for a while now. I found it in the Bay Area Free Book Exchange. Everyone in the area really needs to check them out.

So I am going to admit I am super biased. I hate French media. The books are long winded, the movies are dull, and the music is too tame. If I would have known this was even remotely connected to France outside of the setting I wouldn’t have read it. Good thing I didn’t know! I would have missed out on a really good book. This book focuses on two plots that take place sixty years apart.

The first plot is one of a young Jewish girl that locks her little brother in a cupboard so he can avoid the police when they are rounding up the Jews. The other is the story of a modern day French woman realizing that the French police helped in the Holocaust in a way that is rarely discussed.

I am a huge fan of historical fiction that revolves around the Holocaust and Victorian England. This book gave me a great look into events I didn’t even know happened and I consider myself a Holocaust buff. I really need to check out the books the author recommends. If you like books by Jodi Picoult then you will like this.

It is well written, has a pretty quick pace, and has a real emotional punch. This is a book for a rainy day or a long trip. You will not want to put it down and time will fly by.


4 out of 5 stars. I would recommend this book.

You can buy this book here.