This novel takes place in two different settings. The first is in Paris, France in July of 1942. It starts in the Starzynski apartment, where Sarah lives with her parents and younger brother. Then the setting changes when they are forced out of their home and into the Vélodrome d’Hiver along with thousands of other Jewish people. Later, the setting changes again as they are taken on trains to an unknown area. Eventually we learn that they were taken to the Beaune-la-Rolande internment camp. In time, Sarah escapes and the setting changes to the home of a farmer and his wife in southeast Orleans. These various settings are all very important to the history that is in this novel. It shows what happened to a lot of the Jews and gives us an idea of the various places they were forced to go.
The second setting follows Bertrand, Julia, and Zoë Tézac in Paris, France in May of 2002. This setting sticks in France as the family is moving into a new home, and Julia is travelling around France taking a close look at various internment camps in order to write an article on the Vélodrome d’Hiver roundup. This setting is important to the story as it connects Julia to Sarah Starzynski as Julia is moving into the apartment that Sarah and her family were forced out of. We find out what happened to Sarah and if she survived or not based on the research that Julia does on her. Recently Julia found out that she was pregnant. She was quite happy about the news, but her husband felt much differently. He does not want her to have the baby and suggests she get an abortion.