This book started out as a 5. Halfway through it became a solid 4 and then slowly but surely it degraded into a generous 3, and now, looking at it in retrospect, I cannot give it higher than a 2. I only liked this book because of Sarah's story, which was not even developed all that well. Unfortunately, I had to wade through the melodrama of 1st person narrator Julia Jarmond to get Sarah's story. I see there was a movie adapted from this book. It may actually not be half bad. A great story in a terrible book often is. And since 1/3 of this book is unnecessary fluff, the adapters would have great freedom to tell the best story possible. Perhaps they can give me more Sarah.
ETA: I just finished The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak and now I must reconsider all things relative. Sarah's Key is an insult to humanity. 1 Star. To copy and paste what I wrote to a friend about it:
The present-day story of the American journalist and her narcissistic French husband drove me crazy. There was not nearly enough about Sarah and her life as a survivor. I didn't just hate the ending, I hated the entire second half of the book. Sarah's story just stops halfway through the book and we are left having to read about this annoying woman who has to find Sarah just to let her know that "someone cares" about the atrocities that she experienced. I feel like de Rosnay started something she could not finish, so she just gave it up in favor of chick lit. It's a shame, because the story of The Vel' d'Hiv roundup is one that should be told. This story was way too big for this writer's ability