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Sarah's Key Audiobook

Sarah's Key

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Audible Editor Reviews

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay is the heart-breaking tale of 10-year-old Sarah Stravinsky, a French Jew, and her journey during the Holocaust in 1942. Paralleling her story is the account of American journalist Julia Jarmond, in the year 2002, who is living in France and assigned to cover the 60th anniversary of the Vél' d'Hiv', the French round-ups in which little Sarah and her family were arrested and sent to concentration camps. The two women have a tie that binds, as Julia discovers her French in-laws have owned the apartment that Sarah once lived in since her family was removed from it. As Julia desperately searches for Sarah, hoping she was one of the lucky few who escaped death at Auschwitz, she uncovers the unspeakable horror that Sarah endured in the very same apartment — a secret that has haunted her in-laws for 60 years.

If the superb simplicity of this saga isn't enough to draw you in, Polly Stone's flawless narration will. She gives each character a distinct voice (complete with accurate accent and pitch), which lends authenticity, as if the characters themselves have come alive within her. This novel, like most accounts of the Holocaust, is weighty, ridden with horrific details. Stone's tone is subtle, letting these details ring out and strike your heart. She's also a master at building suspense, and you'll find yourself so endeared by little Sarah, that you will be white-knuckled for her during her frightening journey.

The last portion of the novel is a bit drawn out, but this is forgivable, as the denouement is touching, and Sarah's struggle is one that will stick with you long after you've finished listening to it. —Colleen Oakley

Publisher's Summary

Now a major motion picture starring Kristin Scott Thomas.

Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a 10-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.

Tatiana de Rosnay offers us a brilliantly subtle, compelling portrait of France under occupation and reveals the taboos and silence that surround this painful episode.

About the film: Stéphane Marsil presents a film by Gilles Paquet-Brenner, adapted from the novel by Tatiana de Rosnay published by Heloise D’Ormesson; Kristin Scott Thomas, Melusine Mayance, Niels Arestrup, Frederic Pierrot, Michel Duchaussoy, Dominique Frot, Natasha Mashkevich, with the participation of Gisele Casadesus and Aidan Quinn in the role of William Rainsferd. Screenplay by Serge Joncour and Giles Paquet-Brenner; Produced by Stéphane Marsil; Director of Photography Pascal Ridao (A.F.C.); 1st Assistant Director Olivier Coutard; Casting Gwendale Schmitz; Set Design Francoise Dupertuis (A.D.C.); Wardrobe Eric Perron; Sound Engineer Didier Codoul, Bruno Seznec, Alexandre Fleurant and Fabien Devillers; Editing Herve Schneid (A.C.E.); Original Music Max Richter; Line Producer Clement Sentilhes; Production Manager Antoine Theron. The Weinstein Company presents a Hugo Productions – Studio 37 – TF1 Droits Audiovisuels – France 2 Cinema; Co-Production with the participation of Canal+, TPS Star and France Televisions with the support of Region Ile-De-France; in association with the sofica A Plus Image.

©2007 Tatiana de Rosnay; (P)2008 Macmillan Audio

What the Critics Say

"This is a remarkable historical novel, a book which brings to light a disturbing and deliberately hidden aspect of French behavior towards Jews during World War II. Like Sophie's Choice, it's a book that impresses itself upon one's heart and soul forever."(Naomi Ragen, author of The Saturday Wife and The Covenant)
"Sarah's Key unlocks the star crossed, heart thumping story of an American journalist in Paris and the 60-year-old secret that could destroy her marriage. This book will stay on your mind long after it's back on the shelf." (Risa Miller, author of Welcome to Heavenly Heights)
"The story is heart-wrenching, and Polly Stone gives an excellent performance, keeping a low-key tone through descriptions of horror that would elicit excessive dramatics from a less talented performer." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (2486 )
5 star
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4 star
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4.2 (1561 )
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Story
4.3 (1544 )
5 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    JustABookie 11-22-11
    JustABookie 11-22-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    102
    7
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    "Uneven Transitions"

    This story is a based-on-fact Holocaust story from the French perspective, and the story itself was lively, all encompassing and kept me hanging on for more details; however, I felt that the transitions from the historic story to the modern day were too abrupt. When listening, I often found it hard to identify the young girl's narration from the modern woman's narration. The narrator could have done a much better job of distinguishing between the two.

    This being said, my book club read this book and the hard-copy book readers enjoyed the transitions. The listeners & the Kindle readers had trouble with them. Maybe a clearer chapter heading would have helped?

    At any rate, I loved the story!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deb New Milford, CT, United States 11-09-11
    Deb New Milford, CT, United States 11-09-11 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    "Great Read"

    This was a great story and the narration was perfect. The story went back and forth, but you never feel any disconnect. I recommend that anyone read this book!!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shannan 10-21-11
    Shannan 10-21-11 Member Since 2006
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    3
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    Story
    "History Good, Modern Story is Eh."

    I'm an avid reader and wild about Audible, so I'm just going to be honest. There are places in this story so frustrating, I wanted to stop it and walk away, but I knew I had to get through them to get back to the good parts, which are about Sarah Stravinsky. The modern story is pathetic and slow, predictible and frustrating to the point of hair-pulling.

    And the voice of Michael - REALLY - you couldn't find a man or someone who could pull off something not creepy as his pieces of the performance?

    Who edited this book? Because this person must be getting paid by the page. I could have easily edited this book so the pace would be much better rather than constantly jerking the reader from the faster moving historical parts that were really good to the modern portions, which were mostly not that good. I'm just going to be honest here.

    This book was an inferior read to let's say, The Help. Buy that book. Or buy a real history book on this subject of the round up of Jews in Paris in July '42. Or follow the masses in sheepish baa's and think as they do - that this is a good book, and it's, well, it's - eh. It's ok. 3 Stars is the best I can do with this. And for those who think this is a 4-5 star book - this is the problem with modern fiction, right there - raise your standards, or just, "Baaaa!"

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Virginia 10-21-11
    Virginia 10-21-11 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    59
    7
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    "A compeling Story"

    I really enjoyed this audio book. I wanted to find out what happened to Sara and her key. I didnt know what part the French played in the Holocaust and it was very insightful. Julia need to find out what happen to Sara became my need. I would recommend this book... once you turn the book on you wont want to turn it off!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S United States 10-20-11
    S United States 10-20-11 Member Since 2011

    Writer, editor, translator.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    "Story better than the reading"

    If you like a twisty story with lots of plot developments (and I do) you won't be disappointed in the plot of Sarah's Key (and I wasn't). However, I'm not sure that an interesting story really can survive being badly told.

    I am a fanatic about all things WWII Europe and I had high hopes for this book. I did very much enjoy the setting, character set-up, and basic storyline the author created. But I didn't enjoy the telling of the tale very much at all.

    My main problem with this book was the character development (meaning the lack of it) and the way the characters are drawn mostly by listing things they dislike about a given situation--obvious things, but we are forced to sit through these lists time and again.

    The POV goes back and forth between a girl of 10 or 11 and a woman of 45. There are interminable passages for both where we are forced to hear long lists of things they hate. It's rote and boring, as if after writing the story, the author went back to each plot turn and inserted a dutiful, lengthy list of dislikes in answer to the question, "and how did the girl/woman feel about that?" It drags the story down enormously.

    Another character development problem was people (especially the main character) not behaving consistently with who they are. We are told the main character is a journalist, but her lack of even the slightest fact-checking before acting on information (e.g., spending a lot of money for something, traveling a long distance to meet someone whose identity she hasn't verified ) is ludicrous to the extreme. Then, when she is unhappily surprised (which happen with tedious regularity), she just marvels at how no alternative to her preconceived notion had ever occurred to her. No reasonable adult would behave that way, much less a professional journalist; it was just a cheap and lazy way to move the plot in a specific direction.

    There are also dialog problems For example, the American woman never uses a contraction. The narrator reads every. single. dislike. with the same odd, unidiomatic intonation and emphasis. "She did NOT like it. She did NOT want to see it. She would NOT give in." In fact, every character gets this odd emphasis and inability to use contractions. I did NOT like listening to this and I will NOT be listening to another book by either this author or this narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julia Manchester, TN 10-19-11
    Julia Manchester, TN 10-19-11 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    3
    2
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    "great start, slow finish"
    Would you listen to Sarah's Key again? Why?

    probably not, story was captivating at first and then waned and was very predictable toward the end


    Would you be willing to try another book from Tatiana de Rosnay? Why or why not?

    Yes


    Have you listened to any of Polly Stone’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no


    If you could take any character from Sarah's Key out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Sarah, I think her story would be captivating


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rhonda Salem, VA, United States 10-16-11
    Rhonda Salem, VA, United States 10-16-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Compelling"

    I have to admitt it took me a bit to get into the book, but once it kicked in i could not put the book down, i had to read until i finished it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lorin 09-25-11
    lorin 09-25-11 Member Since 2011

    s/l/s

    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    "Sarah's Key.....to what?"

    This was a wonderful book and it really touched my heart. The plot was great and I could not stop listening to the book because there were so many twists and turns and I had to know what happened. At one point when I was listening to the story in my car I missed my turn because I was so engrossed in the story. The narrator was terrific and she was able to portray each character so you could envision them. I must admit I needed some tissues to get through the book!. GREAT BOOK!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne Philadelphia, PA, United States 09-22-11
    Suzanne Philadelphia, PA, United States 09-22-11 Member Since 2009
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An amazing book"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I would recommend this book to anyone. It is a heartbreaking and fulfilling story.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    It is hard to pick between Julia and Sarah.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, I was listening to it in my car but the last half I listened to because I had to finish it, had to know how it ended...just like Julia felt.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne L. Coste USA 09-22-11
    Suzanne L. Coste USA 09-22-11 Member Since 2009

    Zan Zan

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An amazing book"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I would recommend this book to anyone. It is a heartbreaking and fulfilling story.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    It is hard to pick between Julia and Sarah.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, I was listening to it in my car but the last half I listened to because I had to finish it, had to know how it ended...just like Julia felt.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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