“I’ll come back for you later. I promise,”
I read reviews of this and most of them weren’t very positive. At the time, this befuddled me a bit. The premise was good, but in the end it seemed to be all about Julia Jarmond, an American writer who was keen to find out about what happened to the Jewish Sarah Starzynski. Sarah’s story took up only about 1/4 of the story while Julia’s (far less interesting) story took up most of it and it is supposed to come across as a poor excuse for chick lit or something, or at least a book where the central woman tries to redeem herself in some way.
The sections set in World War II were really good – its only a small pity the book didn’t abandon its sideplot about Julia and her selfish French husband and devote itself entirely to Sarah and her story. The Hel d’Hiv Roundup did happen, and reading the book has encouraged me to look further into the true story of what happened.
I’m giving it 4* because of the narrative concerning Sarah. It was a pity by the end that Julia’s narrative had totally engulfed the book, but never mind. The book is quite short but packs a lot into its pages. There’s only so much Julia Jarmond I can handle.
In truth, I wasn’t a blubbering mess of tears and snot after reading this book. But I did feel very heartsick and sad. Such atrocities should never be forgotten. Through the book, it also shows how destructive family bonds can be while at the same time managing to bond everyone closer together.
MY RATING: **** / *****