The history of the Vél' d'Hiv' is heartbreaking but necessary to remember. The novel shifts from the story of a Jewish girl Sarah, and a modern day writer Julia Jarmond, an American living in France who is researching the Vél' d'Hiv'. As she is looking into the details she stumbles onto the story of Sarah.
We learn that Sarah is forced to lock her brother into a cupboard during the roundup of Jews. Her story is powerful and tragic. This is where Rosnay's writing skills really shine. However once the details of Sarah's ordeal are finally revealed, the story seemed to devolve into a much less interesting narrative around Julia's marriage. I didn't much care for Julia, her husband or their disintegrating marriage. In the end I felt annoyed that they had been made a part of the story.