by Taiana De Rosnay
During World War II, the French police in Paris rounded up thousands of Jews and sent them to a Parisian stadium, the Velodrome d'Hiver, where they were held until being sent to Auschwitz for extermination.
This horrific event in history is one that I’d never heard of before reading this book and for that reason alone, I’m glad I read it. The story is written from two points of view. There’s Julia, the present day journalist researching the event, then there is a young girl, Sarah, who experiences the roundup as it happens. We flash back and forth between the two as the story unfolds.
The historical aspect of the plot was fascinating, but I didn’t like the modern day parts. The main character is married to a man that she continuously makes excuses for while he treats her horribly. It’s hard to embrace a character who puts up with someone like that.
The author decided to pair the issue of the Jews extermination in the 1940s with the modern day issue of abortion. I was definitely not expecting that and I felt like it unnecessarily complicated the plot. It’s not that abortion isn’t an important issue, it just felt like a very forced element in the story.
I was really disappointed with this book because there was so much potential. I felt like the emphasis was placed on the wrong things. There was an opportunity for a truly powerful story, but the author ignored it in lieu of talking about Julia’s personal drama. I’m still glad I read it, but in the end it just made me want to learn more about the Vel’ d'Hiv roundup.
Here’s more info on the actual event.