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April 16, 2023

To Dream of Shadows by Steve N Lee ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

She'll save hundreds of lives. But can she save her own?

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of historical fiction novel To Dream of Shadows by Steven N Lee
April 2023; Blue Zoo; 978-1914292156
ebook, print (354 pages); historical fiction

To Dream of Shadows
 begins in 1943 when Eva, an 18-year-old Czech, is in a packed cattle car with no idea of where she and her family are headed.  They believe that it's a resettlement until they are taken out of the cars and she is taken into a prison while her family disappears in the other direction.  Eva is sent to a barracks that is crowded with women and the next day is sent on work detail.  At first, she doesn't understand the cruelty that happens daily at the camp but makes a friend who shares advice with her on how to survive.  The work they are required is backbreaking and they are watched over by people who don't hesitate to use a whip to keep them in line.  After a short period of time in the prison, she and a group of women are forced to walk to a local concentration camp.  The commandant of the concentration camp is cruel and enjoys inflicting pain on his Jewish prisoners.  The second in command is Rudi who is beginning to question what he's been taught about Jewish people for his whole life.  When the camp leader is injured and sent away to recuperate, Rudi starts doing things to help the prisoners as he begins to view them as people and not vermin.  When Eva and Rudi first meet, there is interest between them but both know that it will be a death sentence for both of them if they allow their relationship to develop.  They can't hold back their feelings for each other even though it puts them in grave danger.  What will happen to both of them when their feelings for each other become known to the leadership in the camp?

This well-written book required significant research and it shows it on every page.  I'll admit it was tough reading in some places - for me, the description of the torture that was inflicted on the women was horrendous and unsettling but from other books that I've read during this time period, no matter how horrible it was to read about -- it actually happened.  Eva is an interesting character - no matter what is going on in her life she continues to try to take care of her best friend and the other women in her barracks.

According to the author this book was inspired by an untold true story and it would be interesting to learn more about the true story.  Overall, this is an epic tale of compassion, sacrifice, and the ultimate strength of the human spirit.

Buy To Dream of Shadows at Amazon

Susan Roberts grew up in Michigan but loves the laid-back life at her home in the Piedmont area of North Carolina where she is two hours from the beach to the east and the mountains in the west.  She reads almost anything but her favorite genres are Southern Fiction and Historical Fiction.  

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  1. Thank you for sharing my book with your readers, Sue. And cool graphic!
    Unfortunately, it looks like you stopped reading when you reached "The End" - if you'd carried on a little further, you'd have found the afterword which gives some information on the true story and other aspects of the writing. Readers can also download a specially written book - free, of course - from my website which gives a massive amount of detail on the real couple behind the story, more than you'll find anywhere else. That link too is at the back of the book.
    Thanks again.