2016 Book #109 – Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

51tmfgrj45l-_sx332_bo1204203200_Title: Sarah’s Key
Author: Tatiana de Rosnay
Date finished: 11/17/16
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: September 2008
Pages in book: 293
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

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.
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.

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I read this book for the Terryville Library’s Fiction Lover’s Book Discussion group discussion for this month (November). This book alternates between telling two stories, that of Sarah from her viewpoint in July of 1942 when she and her parents are arrested by the French police for being Jews, and that of Julia from her viewpoint in the same city in 2002 when she is assigned by her editor to write an article about the tragic events of July 1942. While we hear about Sarah’s story, we also learn of what Julia is uncovering in her research. Julia actually ends up having a fairly close connection in her life to Sarah and it was really interesting to see how the stories were interwoven. This was a tough read as it deals with some horrible subjects and delves deep into some very dark periods of time for humanity as a whole. It was terrible to read about what Sarah had experienced at “the camp” because even though she’s a fictional character, those kinds of things happened to real people. And not just a handful but so, so many. I think it is something that is important for people to realize truly happened though and I would encourage people to read it even if it is difficult. Event with the tough subject matter, I really liked this one and it was an engaging read. I would definitely recommend!

The bottom line: This was a tough book for me, subject matter like this is painful and really gets under your skin. I think that makes it doubly important though for us to experience it and realize that while this is a fiction novel, this actually happened to so many people. I think this is an important book for everyone to read, I would definitely recommend reading it.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #102 – The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

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Title: The Little Paris Bookshop
Author: Nina George
Date finished: 9/26/15
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Crown
Publication Date: June 23, 2015
Pages in book: 400
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself; he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.
After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.
Internationally bestselling and filled with warmth and adventure, The Little Paris Bookshop is a love letter to books, meant for anyone who believes in the power of stories to shape people’s lives.

My rating: 2.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I’ve seen this book around a lot the past couple months, it was a very popular summer read and I have seen many positive reviews on it so I thought I should give it a try. To be honest I probably could have passed on by and been perfectly. While this book has been widely praised, I just could not get into the story myself. I found the book to be extremely wordy and the main character is a 50 year old man who has lived in self-induce purgatory for the past twenty years. I could not connect with him at all, I just found his character to be so martyr-ish. And the story line was hard to follow for me in some way. There were just a lot fo random things that happened that didn’t necessarily seem connected at all and in some cases didn’t even really make sense to me. There were some parts of the book that made me tear up, there were many emotions that came alive in the story and the reader can sense love in each page of the book, love between friends, that first love that is ever-consuming, and even love that lives only in one’s imagination. The books speaks eloquently of France along Jean Perdu’s journey south, of the food, the scenery, and the people. For anyone who would like to experience the beauty of France, this would be a great book to read!

The bottom line: I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to hear of the beauty of France. This book wasn’t a great one for me but is very popular with the general population.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page