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Author Spotlight: Tatiana de Rosnay

About the Author

Tatiana de Rosnay is an author that I’ve been following for a while. Her ability to write an emotionally impacting novel always keeps me looking out for her latest books, and her words will transport you to the setting of her novels as if you were physically there. If you choose to check out any of these reads, definitely keep a box of tissues nearby!

Novels

Sarah’s Key
Published: September 2006, St. Martin’s Press

Trigger Warning: This novel discusses the following: death, murder, war crimes, crimes against humanity, starvation, abuse.

“Zakhor. Al Tichkah. Remember. Never Forget.”

img_6315The novel introduces Sarah, a 10 year old Jewish girl living in Paris in July of 1942. What unfolds is a first-count point of view of the Velodrome d’hiver, the Jewish round-up in Paris, France during the German occupation in World War II. The roundup sent over 4,000 children with their families to Auschwitz. As Sarah’s story unfolds, we are transported 60 years ahead and introduced to Julia, an American-born journalist researching the Vel’ d’Hiv for it’s 60th anniversary. Although she has been living in Paris for 25 years, she struggles with being accepted as anything more than “L’Americaine”, The American. While researching about Paris’s dark past, she connects to the history that many Parisians blocked from memory.

Without giving too much away, Julia’s search into the horrific night of July 16, 1942 leads her to Sarah’s own story, and it changes everything. Julia’s family relationships shift, and she is left with many choices to make, moral and otherwise. Using her journalistic skills, she searches for answers until the final pages of the book, where the past is finally laid to rest.

Although these are fictional characters, the events of Vel d’Hiv were real and tragic. Sarah’s Key serves as a reminder to never forget the events brought about by the German Occupation throughout Europe during World War II. Even dark times in the past still have a way of changing our present and future.

A Secret Kept
Published:
April 2009,  St. Martin’s Press

Trigger Warning: This novel discusses the following: death, murder, war crimes, crimes against humanity, starvation, abuse.

Modern day Paris, France, Antoine has decided to celebrate the good of the past with his sister, Mélanie, for her birthday. Both of them have recently been through bad break-ups, so traveling to their family’s old vacation haunt in Noirmoutier seemed like the perfect escape. While away for the long weekend, Antonie reflects on his life- the devastating divorce from his ex-wife Astrid caused by her affair with a man named Serge; his teenage children that has become strangers to him; and his tattered relationship with his father and the Reys after his mother Clarisse’s untimely passing in 1974. Antonie isn’t sure what can be done to mend the broken relationships in his life.img_6317

Ever since his mother’s passing, the Rey family buried the memory of Clarisse, and she became a taboo topic to discuss. To be in Noirmoutier was like giving them permission to talk about her, to remember her. But then on the drive back to Paris, Mélanie remembers something so startling that when she turns to tell Antonie, who was in the passanger seat, she loses control of the car. As Antonie awaits the update from the doctor, he can’t help but wonder what the recollection was, despite his agony of the unknown condition of his beloved sister. As Tatiana de Rosnay slowly reveals the truth about Clarisse, Antonie finally comes to realize that he barely knew who his mother really was.

The Rain Watcher
Published:
October 2018, St. Martin’s Press

Trigger Warning: This novel discusses the following: flooding, homelessness, LGBTQ, illness, death.

Linden, a successful international photographer based in San Francisco, and his family are preparing for a reunion trip in Paris. Linden’s parents, Lauren and Paul, live in Vénozan where Paul has made himself famous for saving trees and other plant species around the world. Unfortunately, Paul succumbs to illness that eventually lands him in the hospital. Simultaneously, the Seine river is threatening to flood Paris, closing down the city. While Paul lies in the hospital, Linden reflects on his relationship with his family, and most especially his father. After years of distance, Linden worries- is it too late to connect with Paul? And what will happen if the Seine overflows, trapping them in the hospital?img_1591

The Rain Watcher’s plot is slowly but exquisitely revealed, and the characters’ emotions are tangible through the pages. With Linden, I felt his uncertainty, his hesitation in his relationship with his father, his security in his current relationship, his artistic eye behind the Leica. I also adore the imagery that transports the reader into de Rosnay’s Paris- the rues, the arrondissements, the food, and in this novel, the unabating rain washing into the Seine and rising.

 

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Categories: Author Spotlights

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1 reply

  1. I have read The Rain Watcher only till now. I guess it is based on a real incident and the characters may be real as well. It touched me as well.

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