Julia is an American journalist that has lived in Paris for the past 15 years. She, her French husband, Bertrand, and their daughter, Zoe, have made plans to renovate and move into Bertrand’s grandmother’s Paris apartment after she has moved into an assisted living facility. At the same time that the renovations are being planned, Julia begins working on an article about the round-up of thousands of Jewish families in Paris in 1942. These families were held in the Vélodrome d’Hiver, a stadium on the outskirts of Paris, and then transported to Auschwitz. Julia becomes completely consumed by the facts and details and article and beings to realize that her husband’s family may be more connected to this story then she first realizes.
10-year old Sarah Starzynski and her family are one of those very families that Julia is researching. In the alternating chapters we learn about the horrors Sarah witnesses first at the Vélodrome d’Hiver and then at the camps.
A compelling and haunting work of historical fiction. Sarah’s story intertwined with Julia’s creates a slight air of suspense and mystery. Recommended for those that have enjoyed Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.