Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

‘To Dream of Shadows’ Will Leave You Breathless


To Dream Of Shadows : A Gripping Holocaust Novel Inspired by a Heartbreaking True Story

By Steve N. Lee

Publisher: Blue Zoo (April 2023)

Genre: Historical Fiction

Print Length: 466 pages

Via: Author Request

Note: We received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

“Here we go again!” says I, Kimber the Magnificent. “You’d think one of us would learn. Don’t start a top-notch historical fiction thingy at night. If you do, you’ll be up till the wee hours finishing it. Cuz you can’t put it down! But you know Mom!” (Insert eye roll here.)

Just being all magnificent and everything.

Yeppers, Steve Nee’s To Dream of Shadows is one of them thar barn-burning page turners. Here’s the 4-1-1:

“Compassion is contagious. Always spread it around.”

Inspired by a previously untold true story, To Dream of Shadows is an emotional roller coaster. It’s brim-full of heart-pounding action, suspense, close calls, and much more. It’s 100% riveting.

World War II is raging. Eighteen year-old Inge Zaleska, a Jew, is prisoner #1582 in a Nazi death camp in Estonia. She feeds a hungry robin during the dead of winter. SS Oberscharfuhrer Heinz Rudolf “Rudi” Kruse is the camp commandant. He sees Inge feed the bird. That single act of kindness ignites an epic tale of love and courage.

“He sipped his coffee. How was he going to carry on in this soulless place?”

We’re Tellin’ Ya

Kimber: Mom and I? We love history. And we love well-written historical fiction. We’ve read boatloads of both. Think of us as armchair quarterbacks on the HF Expert Team. We’re tellin’ ya, To Dream of Shadows is one of the finest historical fiction books we’ve ever read. And since one of us is older than dirt, that’s really saying something (Hi, Mom).

“Could everything he had been told for as long as he could remember be wrong? … he was going to uncover the truth… if he wasn’t careful, it would cost him his life.”

To be sure, To Dream of Shadows isn’t for the faint-hearted. It’s heart-warming and heart-rending. Intense. Gripping. And utterly shattering. It’s also much more.


To Dream of Shadows is about a lot of things. It’s about light in the darkest hellhole imaginable. It’s about shoes. (Yep, shoes.) Soup. Friendship. Kindness. Unspeakable brutality. A magnificent German shepherd named Bruno. (Well, not as magnificent as You Know Who. That title’s already taken, thank you very much.)


But most of all, To Dream of Shadows is about the triumph of the human spirit against seemingly insurmountable odds. It’s about finding humanity in the face of staggering inhumanity. It’s about compassion. Beauty in the midst of unimaginable ugliness. Sacrifice. Loyalty. Love. It’s simply stunning.

A Word From Her Momness:

We were a bit reluctant to accept the request for a review of this book when it arrived. Our backlog of review requests was/is the size of Alaska. An historical fiction novel of nearly 500 pages? We kinda balked. It just sounded… exhausting. Especially after a prior read that made watching paint peel look exciting. 

But Mr. Nee was gently persistent. And followed-through. So we decided to take a chance on a book by an author previously unknown to us. After receiving a complimentary copy, we grabbed a hot cuppa and sat down to read. The original plan was to just nibble two or three chapters before bed. (You’d think one of us would learn….!)

Well. Expertly written with pitch-perfect pacing, To Dream of Shadows is jaw-dropping. It grabbed us from chapter one and reeled us in, hook, line, and sinker. Just finished it. One of us is still shaking (Hi, Mom).

Indeed, To Dream of Shadows is the kind of book that grabs you by the throat. Slides both thumbs down your jugular. And doesn’t let go until the final page. It will leave you breathless.

Our Rating: 4.5

2 thoughts on “‘To Dream of Shadows’ Will Leave You Breathless

  1. Thank you for sharing my book with your readers, Kristine (and Kimber, of course). I’m thrilled you enjoyed it so much, and my apologies for making you miss your bedtime!

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