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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 (2618 )
5 star
 (1227)
4 star
 (854)
3 star
 (380)
2 star
 (109)
1 star
 (48)
Overall
4.3 (1679 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (217)
2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.3 (1661 )
5 star
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4 star
 (505)
3 star
 (180)
2 star
 (46)
1 star
 (25)
Performance
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  •  
    Cat F. 04-12-10
    Cat F. 04-12-10

    I read it as if I wrote it.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    52
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    7
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    "An unpolished book on an important topic"

    If this was the best the book editor could do with the manuscript it will have to do. It was frustrating to have to read "the girl" through the first 1/3 of the book as we were not supposed to know the name of the main character, and then have the same awkward stumbling at the end with the baby because the editor couldn't get the author to use more elegant means. But the book covers important historical French actions during WWII that are not usually spoken of. I had a hard time caring about the husband but I had to take the good with the bad.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lisa Indianapolis, India 03-21-13
    lisa Indianapolis, India 03-21-13 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The worst narrator I have ever listened to"
    Would you try another book from Tatiana de Rosnay and/or Polly Stone?

    No


    Has Sarah's Key turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Not really. The genre was not the problem. The writing was poor.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Polly Stone?

    The narrator was very poor. Her attempt to do character voices made a tragic situation laughable. It was like listening to a poorly performed puppet theater without being able to see the stage. I think almost anyone could have done a better job.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Sarah's story was good but was only a small part of the story and ended way too soon. I did not care about Julia at all.


    Any additional comments?

    There are 2 stories in this novel. A tragic story of Sarah who was a Jewish girl in 1942 and a self absorbed one deferential American woman living in France with her philandering husband sixty years later. If the whole story had focused on Sarah's story, this would have been an excellent read. Unfortunately the author spent too little time on Sarah's story and a great deal of time on Julia's sex life with her French husband.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G. Jones Laguna Beach, CA United States 03-17-11
    G. Jones Laguna Beach, CA United States 03-17-11 Member Since 2006

    No Webcrumbs

    HELPFUL VOTES
    47
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    93
    19
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    "Pendantic, child-voice reader. Teen-level read."

    This felt like it was junior high school level reading. Harlequin meets Holocaust. Predictable with undeveloped characters.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonny Greenwich, CT, USA 07-11-09
    Bonny Greenwich, CT, USA 07-11-09 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
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    17
    6
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    "Hard to turn off."

    Your emotions will spin with this story ... little children, Nazi occupation, love and war. It's a present day story with a WWII mystery intertwined. I really got absorbed in this one and hated to see it end. A must read.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ermilo Capitola, CA, USA 05-18-09
    Ermilo Capitola, CA, USA 05-18-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
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    4
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    "Slow start, strong finish"

    This book does start off slowly, however, you are captivated by real characters, awesome dual story line, Jewish/French history along with modern France/America. This story was well worth the purchase. The story was so good and touching, that I can't but help think of the book every now and then and smile.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patti Chittenango, NY, United States 07-02-12
    Patti Chittenango, NY, United States 07-02-12 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Similar to other opinions"

    I am not sure why I do not pay much attention to other reader's reviews until AFTER I have read (listened to) the book. But that is how it happens. I probably would have gotten to this book anyway. But as many other reviewer's have already stated, I loved the historical part but was dissappointed with the modern day side. There were other directions it could have taken, but did not. The end was long, drawn out, and boring.

    The beginning was slow and difficult to get into. When listening, one is not aware of paragraph changes, chapter endings, and such. Therefore, it was difficult to know when it was 1942 or 2002. But as the story continued, it caught me up in the story. The middle was wonderful. But then as it was ending, it went downhill. The long struggle to find some survivor of Sarah, the marital difficulties, the all-knowing-come-to-the-rescue older daughter, even the story of the son were a bit trite. If the author had kept to Sarah's story she would have been better off.

    Narration was excellent. Transition's between characters was well differentiated and accents were wonderful.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Hurley 11-03-11
    D. Hurley 11-03-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This is a great read-don't understand naysayers"

    This is a wonderful story. Admittedly it's a bit slow getting started. And the cutting from the present to the past and back again takes getting use to; however, it is an excellent way of telling the story. Both stories are told in tandum and are wrapped up in a most satisfying way. It reminded me of a geneological search.

    The book is well worth the time to read. I think those that do take the time will be very glad they did. Polly Stone, the narrator, does an outstanding job. Her accents are on point and she gives each character their own recognizable voice.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Harriet Bloom Riverside, CA United States 08-06-09
    Harriet Bloom Riverside, CA United States 08-06-09 Member Since 2017

    Boo

    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
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    "Very engaging"

    I found this book fascinating, and learned some historical information. The charachters were realistic. All in all, a very good listen.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexis Richmond, CA, USA 01-31-09
    Alexis Richmond, CA, USA 01-31-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    75
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    99
    14
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    "Haunting and Heartrending"

    Beautiful, poignant and often poetic, the story of Sarah, a heroic, tragic child living in a time of horror left me breathless. At the same time, the novel portrays a believable, smart and quirky contemporary protagonist who is strong and honest. I enjoyed this novel immensely. The reader does a superb job with each voice. I especially enjoyed her rendition of the contemporary protagonist, and I had not expected that at all. Well worth the time and energy. Thanks you.

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ElizabethAnn Lebanon, VA, United States 06-18-16
    ElizabethAnn Lebanon, VA, United States 06-18-16 Member Since 2015

    I'm always listening -from driving to working out and I'm learning..Historical Fiction is my love currently WWII. Prefer British Narrators

    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
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    "Beautifully haunting.... And yet...."

    It's quite understandable why this work is a Bestseller.
    It truly is a memorable work.
    Historically accurate, the overall story is not one I've come across before regarding the French and WWII.

    Normally, when I'm reading historical fiction from this period (European WWI and WWII), I do not choose an author that writes from the perspective of " looking back" from the present time.
    However, Tatiana de Rosnay is a wonderful exception to my self imposed "rule".

    Without giving any spoilers or even a suggestion of the ending, I have to admit it was the reason I have the story 4 stars instead of 5.

    That said, I think it's just a matter of preference on my part ( the way a story ends) and it truly takes nothing away from the novel.

    I highly recommend "Sarah's Key"

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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