I recently finished reading Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay, and it was an incredible, intense, heart-wrenching story.
The book intertwines two stories: one of a young girl (Sarah) who lived in Paris during World War II. Her Jewish family was taken in July of 1942, along with thousands of others, and put into a camp outside of Paris. The second is set in present day, and tells the story of a woman who is assigned to research the Paris round-ups of 1942 and finds a connection to Sarah and her family through a devastating secret her husband's family has kept for over sixty years.
I have never cried so much while reading a book - at least 3 times I can remember, and was on the verge of tears a number of other times. It was gut-wrenching, and there were times that I thought I couldn't read another word. It was horrendous what those families went through, and I can't even fathom how people survived and kept on living afterward.
There were a few things in the book I felt distracted from the main story. Maybe it's just me, but I'm getting really tired of authors trying to throw in every conceivable issue someone could have to make the story more dramatic - divorce, infidelity, infertility, estrangement, etc.. Can't we just have "normal" main characters and focus on the main story?
Even though that bothered me (mostly because I've seen it over and over recently, so it's kind of the straw that broke the camel's back on the subject for me), it didn't take away the raw emotion and devastation of the main story line.
I give this book a 4.75 out of 5.