For fans of The
Tattooist of Auschwitz, Beneath a Scarlet Sky, The Nightingale, and Schindler's List, To Dream Of Shadows is one of the most heartwarming, heartbreaking, and heroic tales of the
April 16th, 2023
Her compassion will
save lives. But will it end hers?
Inspired by a previously untold true story.
1943, Eastern Europe. 18-year-old Czech, Eva Zaleska is torn
from her family and imprisoned in some godforsaken hellhole. Half-starved and
suffering regular beatings, she battles through month after month of torturous
labor while praying for liberation by the Allies. But rescue never comes. And
her dream of surviving the war dies.
SS Sergeant Rudi Kruse has been force-fed the Third Reich's
poisonous philosophy since childhood. As a boy, he had no choice but to believe
it, however, nowadays, he uses his position to covertly save prisoners.
So when a random act of kindness thrusts Eva and Rudi
together, they can't resist being drawn to one another. And it turns their
world upside-down. Unable to deny their feelings, they dare to dream of a
future, a life… together.
But their relationship does not go unnoticed. For Eva and
Rudi, falling in love becomes a death sentence. And not just for them, but for
all those they care about.
Eva can make an unthinkable sacrifice.
Inspired by a previously untold true
story of a forbidden love, To Dream Of Shadows is an epic
tale of compassion, sacrifice, and the strength of the human spirit.
EXCERPT OF TO DREAM OF SHADOWS:
To Dream of Shadows, Chapter 1
[This is just 800 words.
If you’d like the full 1,400 word version, let me know.]
Inge Zaleska wiped the
sweat off her face on the short sleeve of her pink-and-white striped dress. She
panted, even though she was doing nothing but sitting on her suitcase with her
back against the side of the cattle car. Cursing under her breath, she glared
at the tiny window crisscrossed with barbed wire high in the far left corner.
The thing was worse than useless with eighty-six people crammed in the car
under the baking sun.
She raked her fingers
through her long, greasy black hair, pulling the straggly mess away from her
face. Would it ever be silky soft again?
Grimacing, she struggled
to flex her left shoulder, Mrs. Karkowski having slumped against it asleep
again. The unbearable stuffiness saw many of the older travelers constantly
dozing. Inge circled her shoulder, fighting to relieve the ache without
disturbing her friend’s slumber. The pain didn’t go.
“I’m sorry, Mrs.
Karkowski, but I have to move.” Inge eased Mrs. Karkowski’s head up, but
instead of the old lady waking and greeting Inge with a wrinkled smile, clouded
eyes stared like frozen millponds. Inge gasped and lurched away, bumping Mama
on her other side.
Mrs. Karkowski crumpled
over her knees.
Mama pulled Inge closer
and shielded Inge’s younger sister. “Don’t look, Agata.”
Agata buried her face in
Robert, Inge’s stocky
older brother, and a man in a blue shirt picked up the body.
Robert shouted, “Dead
The sea of people
parted, squashing themselves together just enough to create a narrow aisle to
the far right corner. The two men shuffled along it.
Dead coming through. What a horrible and degrading send-off for a dignified woman. The only
thing worse was how such a horrendous statement had become so commonplace that
it was now more likely to irritate people at the inconvenience of having to
move than to bring tears to their eyes.
In the corner, the men
dumped the old lady on top of the other six bodies piled there.
Glassy-eyed, Agata said,
“Why are they doing this, Mama?”
Mama stroked Agata’s
short brown hair. “Don’t wonder about the bad things that are happening,
sweetheart. Wonder about all the good things we’ll have when we’re resettled.”
“But I don’t want to be
resettled. I want our old home, and my old school, and my old friends.”
Inge clasped Agata’s
hand. “It’ll be fun, Aga. That nasty bully Vera Bosakova won’t be in your class
anymore, you won’t have math with that horrible Mr. Sliz, and ice cream is half
the price in the new place, isn’t it, Mama?”
“That’s what I heard.”
Mama stroked Agata’s hair again and smiled at Inge. But her eyes didn’t smile. Inge
could tell she was fighting to make it look genuine — fighting with all her
might because of her love for her family — but such sadness lay in her eyes.
Sadness Inge had never seen before. As if someone had said the sun was never
going to shine again, so they’d spend the rest of their lives in darkness.
Someone shouted from the
far side of the car, “Toilet bucket!”
A moment later, a
bespectacled man passed a metal bucket to Mama, who passed it to Inge. The
contents sloshed around and the stench clogged her nostrils. Holding the bucket
at arm’s length, Inge screwed up her face and quickly passed it to the chubby
man who’d spread into Mrs. Karkowski’s space.
The bucket reached a
middle-aged woman who wept as she squatted over it, screened by a bald man and
a boy encircling her with their jackets.
Three days ago, Inge had
cried too when she’d had to relieve herself surrounded by so many strangers.
Now, despite the revulsion and embarrassment, she was almost thankful for the
bucket — its stink helped mask the one coming from the corner of the dead.
Robert crouched and
nodded over his shoulder. “Someone saw a road sign through one of the cracks
and thinks they recognized the name — a town in Latvia.”
“Latvia?” asked Mama.
“Where the devil are they resettling us?”
“I don’t want to go to
Latvia.” Agata clutched Mama.
Inge let her head fall
against the side of the car and closed her eyes. Okay, so the journey was
horrendous, but hadn’t she always dreamed of traveling? Wasn’t that why she’d
studied languages so diligently? And now, here she was traveling. Of course,
she’d pictured a luxury passenger carriage, not a cattle car, but travel was
travel. Maybe this “resettlement” would be a good thing. A golden opportunity
to start fresh.
Yes, that was it. She
smirked. This wasn’t the end of her life — the way Agata imagined — but the
start of it. A life filled with wonder and adventure.
STORE LINKS & REVIEW SITES:
Amazon US - http://www.amazon.com/dp/
Amazon UK - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/
Amazon CA - http://www.amazon.ca/dp/
Amazon AU - https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/