I think that De Rosnay is trying to communicate a few different ideas with this novel. First, I think she is trying to get people to have some knowledge of the events that happened during World War Two. Looking back at the war, many people think of the horrible things that the Germans and the Russians did. Many overlook what their own country was involved in. The Velodrome d’Hiver Roundup was one of the things that the French police had a hand in. They directly arrested the Jewish people living in their land, they were their neighbours. De Rosnay mentions how Sarah recognized some of the officers. Often she would pass them on the way to school, and they were very friendly to her. It really shows how personal this event was. While developing the story of Sarah and everything that she went through, De Rosnay sheds light on some of the horrible things that occured during World War Two. She helps us to remember the events that so many people tried to hide because we can really learn from it, and we can learn to become better people. It is important to look at everything that happened in the war, and remember that many countries did horrible things during this time. This will help us not to be prejudice towards different cultures.
Another theme that she developes is that no matter how hard it is, we need to stand up for what we believe in. She developes this idea through the story of Sarah and of Julia. As mentioned above, many of the French officers that arrests the Jews are very familiar to Sarah. She recognizes them as men she often saw and was friendly with. Yet, these officers blindly listened to what they were told to do. They arrested and helped lead their own neighbours to their execution. Then their were others who tried to help the Jews being taken away. For example the lady who tried to hand the children bread. Or Jules and Geneviève Dufaure, who willingly took in Sarah and Rachel who escaped. They even went as far as to hide them from the authorities and they raised Sarah, trying their best to give her a good life. People like them were honoured after the war for their courage. Julia also had to stand up for herself in the issue of the abortion. Her husband, Bertrand, wanted her abort their child, thinking he was too old for it. Julia on the other hand truly wanted it. Even though it was not born yet, she grew very fond of it. So she had to decide between her husband and the child. Even though it was a difficult choice to make and it would completely change her life, Julia had the courage to stand up for what she knew was right and she did not go through with the abortion. By using these two examples, I think that De Rosnay is trying to develop the theme that it often takes more courage to stand up for what you believe is right than it does to just do as you are told. In many cases taking the easy route can later cause much distress in your life. Julia eventually found out that her husband was still in love with Amelie, the women he had an affair with in the past and continued to have an affair with. Julia was better off breaking away from his unfaithfulness.