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A re-emergence of the past…
Natalie Clarke might be spiteful at best and vicious at worst, but was that reason enough for Phillip Gise to leave her lonely and diseased? Fortunately, she has a set of devious plans that just might keep her busy enough to forget her present situation.
Guy Lewis has played Best Friend Extraordinaire to Natalie since grade school, supporting her through all of her daily drama. This time around, Guy runs into his own troubles when his fierce, wealthy manager gives him the type of attention he never asked for…or expected.
Julia Clarke, Natalie’s younger sister, has arrived in Brooklyn to uncover their grandmother’s secret life in Block 24, the site of Auschwitz’s little-known brothel. What Julia discovers proves more relevant in the present age than ever before.
Both heady and sobering, Block 24 is a look at the ways evil from the past can so insidiously visit the present.
First I'd like to clarify that this book is not a typical romance, but considering it's one of my favorite books, I decided to feature it here on the blog, because I feel that not nearly enough people know about this powerful and inspiring novel!
It had taken breaking the rules for him to realize that he needed them. Maybe he had to experience the opposite of love to realize how valuable love was and how it didn’t come at the price of one’s soul.
Block 24 surprised me, in the sense that I expected one thing and got something completely different. The more I read, the more I loved it. Towards the end, I couldn’t part with the book. I finished it in 6 hours, it’s what my e-reader says.
The story is divided into two parts. We have two sisters Julia and Natalie Clarke and they’re complete opposites. In one part of the story, Julia is making a film about their grandma’s time in Block Twenty-four – Auschwitz’s little-known brothel. And the other part deals with Natalie and her issues. The Auschwitz part I liked less actually. I was more immersed in Natalie’s schemes. She is one of the most messed up characters I’ve had the chance to read about.
I’ve read my fair share of Holocaust novels, and Block 24 didn’t really make me emotionally involved that much. It tells us the story of Adina (Julia’s grandmother) and her little sister Avi and how they fell in love with an SS – Hans during WWII. I can’t exactly pinpoint why this part of the story left me cold. I felt detached somehow, just waiting for Natalie’s chapters. I also felt the book was maybe too short to properly describe all the war horrors. The whole atmosphere didn’t feel authentic enough, IMO. Perhaps, had the book been longer, I think I would’ve enjoyed the *PAST* part as much as the *present.*
However, while I felt the book was lacking with the actual story, it completely made up with its characters.
Natalie Clarke. Words can’t describe how dark, damaged and malicious she is. She’s driven by hate and destroys everything good around her. She plays with other people’s lives, takes fate into her own hands. What Natalie wants, Natalie gets. Can such a poisonous human being have a chance at redemption, at happiness? There’s nothing better to read about, I say. I like nothing better than when the author creates such twisted, messed up characters and makes you care for them. I loved reading about Natalie and her evil ways and seeing how she would claw her way out of her dark hole. Will she even? It’s a defense mechanism which so far has worked. But her boyfriend Philip can only take so far. How far is enough?
This was what it meant to hate life, to hate everything about it. This is what happened once a person tossed away something that couldn’t be recovered, when a person lost everything she loved because she hated herself.
This book really made me wonder. It asks important questions: What gives the person the right to play with others’ lives? Can love truly heal all wounds? Is love even enough to heal a person?
I thought I would like this book, and I did, but not for the reasons I initially thought. I love historical fiction and WWII novels are some of my favorites, but that’s not the reason Block 24 resonated so strongly with me. This book proved to be an excellent case of a character study. How is it possible that an author made me care more about the struggles of one vicious woman than about surviving Holocaust victim? That’s the reason my rating is somewhat lower. I know the author is capable of great writing; Natalie’s character proves that, so I expected the same emotional investment with the part narrated in the past. I wanted more cohesion and the same level of emotional intensity.
But that could be just me. You could end up loving the part about Avigail, Adina and Hans and stay indifferent towards Natalie’s black heart. Either way, I recommend you pick up this book!
BLOCK 24 is one truly inspiring story which tells us how people are capable of evil, regardless of the age we live in.