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The Fountains of Silence

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A portrait of love, silence, and secrets under a Spanish dictatorship. Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming promise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, who arrives in A portrait of love, silence, and secrets under a Spanish dictatorship. Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming promise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother's birth through the lens of his camera. Photography--and fate--introduce him to Ana, whose family's interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War--as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel's photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of difficult decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city. Includes vintage media reports, oral history commentary, photos, and more.


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A portrait of love, silence, and secrets under a Spanish dictatorship. Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming promise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, who arrives in A portrait of love, silence, and secrets under a Spanish dictatorship. Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming promise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother's birth through the lens of his camera. Photography--and fate--introduce him to Ana, whose family's interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War--as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel's photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of difficult decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city. Includes vintage media reports, oral history commentary, photos, and more.

30 review for The Fountains of Silence

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paromjit

    Ruta Sepetys paints a richly descriptive and historically detailed picture of post war Spain under the fascist dictator, General Franco. It is 1957, and Spain is desperate for money and to facilitate this, is welcoming tourists to the country. 18 year old American Daniel Matheson is staying at a luxury hotel with his family, his father is an oil tycoon looking to make a deal with Franco's regime. Spain is the country of Daniel's mother, and he is looking to explore it, with every intent of Ruta Sepetys paints a richly descriptive and historically detailed picture of post war Spain under the fascist dictator, General Franco. It is 1957, and Spain is desperate for money and to facilitate this, is welcoming tourists to the country. 18 year old American Daniel Matheson is staying at a luxury hotel with his family, his father is an oil tycoon looking to make a deal with Franco's regime. Spain is the country of Daniel's mother, and he is looking to explore it, with every intent of looking beneath the official versions of Madrid. Whilst his father wants him to work for the business, Daniel has other ideas, he wants to be a photographer, and has made plans to study photography at college. Ana is the young, bright and beautiful hotel maid charged with looking after the Matheson family and meeting their every need. This is a well researched multilayered story of David and Ana, love, identity, heartbreak, and the walls of silence behind which are hidden the true horrors of Franco's Spain. Rafa, Ana's brother remembers the family, and its tragic past, his parents opposition to Franco and their death. He works hard, although he still goes hungry, at his two jobs at the slaughterhouse and the graveyard, with his friend, Fuga, an intense force of nature, with dreams of becoming a famous bullfighter and protecting the children. Ana's cousin, Puri, works at the Catholic Adoption Centre. Ben is an American journalist who urges David to capture the Spain beyond the official version through the lens of his camera, deploying angles that tell the truth, the varied stories that lay beneath the surface. As David connects with an Ana with her dreams of travelling and escape, she begins to slowly entrust him with the inner secrets of a country where people live in fear and terror. However, she puts at risk her job, love and freedom, she has family responsibilities, a job that is essential in keeping her family going. The stories of the host of characters interconnect to uncover Spain's secret history under Franco, and the fall out from the Spanish Civil War and its repercussions that continued into the 1950s. Sepetys writes with humanity and compassion about this dark historical period, the vast swathe of untold suffering, pain, despair and the tyranny of a repressive regime. This is brilliant immersive historical fiction of a brutal period of history that I have long been fascinated and interested by. This is for those who are interested in this period of Spanish history and those who enjoy well written and informative historical fiction. Highly recommended! Many thanks to Random House Children's for an ARC.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Hey friends, I’m so excited to read a story about story an emotional, heart wrenching story takes place in Madrid in late 50’s when General Franco’s dictatorship takes over and rules the city! I’m taking small bites from patatas bravas, empanadillas accompanied by a big pitcher of Sangria (my new decision, tasting the foods where the book’s story is told to have a better focus on my book! I also ate beef stroganoff and had several vodka shots when I’m reading “Bear and Nightingale series”. Maybe Hey friends, I’m so excited to read a story about story an emotional, heart wrenching story takes place in Madrid in late 50’s when General Franco’s dictatorship takes over and rules the city! I’m taking small bites from patatas bravas, empanadillas accompanied by a big pitcher of Sangria (my new decision, tasting the foods where the book’s story is told to have a better focus on my book! I also ate beef stroganoff and had several vodka shots when I’m reading “Bear and Nightingale series”. Maybe because of that I was so enthusiastic to write those reviews. Smirnoff dearest might have invaded my seat in front of my computer. By the way I did something smart and for reducing the take out expanses, I charged my husband –hourly paid by 2 Belgian chocolates- So everybody is happy!) So here we go: I love Ruta Sepety’s writing and enjoyed her previous works so I was so sure this book wouldn’t disappoint me! Buuuuutttt… I have to ask those questions urgently to the author: Me-But grandmother hmmm I mean: dear author, why so many POVS this book have? Imaginary author/ traitor wolf-The better you get used to read books with so many characters. Just like you loved so much with “Lady in the lake” Me:-Oh come on! There may be even postman and milkman’s POVS on that book. And second question is: Dear author, why this book is not emotional and stunning enough even you write about heavy subjects including kidnapping, prostitution… Why I didn’t get the edginess and heart-wrecking moments that touch my feelings? Imaginary author/ traitor wolf- Such a spoiled, cry baby! If you want to cry so much, why don’t you read Kristin Hannah, Amy Harmon, Heather Morris, Georgia Hunter, Martha Hall Kelly? Me: And last question, dear author, why this book’s pacing is SOOOOOOOO SLOOWWWWWW SOOOOOOOO BORRRRIIIINGGGGGG! (I didn’t hear the imaginary answer! The last thing I heard was my own snoring! If you read “Goldfinch”, “Imaginary Friend”, “Ninth House” and 200 pounds weighted Stephen King’s books at the same month, it is normal to suffer from exhaustion!) As soon as I woke up, I read the last chapter with all strength I could muster. I’m so sorry to admit but I didn’t like this book so much. I wish the story could be simpler, less complicating and told by the POVS of ONLY ANA AND DANIEL! (It took me at least 100 pages to find out, Daniel is one of the main characters, really?) Do we have to read Ana’s family members’ detailed stories? Less characters and narrators with emitted 100-150 pages, strengthen with more action, heart throbbing scenes and more romantic, emotional parts, this book could be amazing! From Hemingway’s amazing books we know about the ruling term of Franco was bloodier, more violent than described this book. With its nearly 26,000 political prisoners had been locked and self -sufficiency economy policy isolated Spain from the other European countries. Let’s not forget his creation of vast secret police network to spy on citizens. So I was expecting edgier, harsher, more realistic page-turner but the result didn’t satisfy me! I know that most of the readers loved this book and I will win wear my big crown in the minority palace but maybe I wasn’t in the mood to read some slow burn historical fiction with too much POVS! Who am I kidding? That was not about the mood. I know myself, slowness, too much POVS and lack of action never works with me!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    I'm not going to rate or review this. I've only liked one of the three Sepetys books I've read in the past, but I was really hoping a book on Spain under Franco would be the equalizer. It wasn't to be. I'm just not a fan of the way the author jumps very quickly between multiple POVs. I feel so detached from the stories. Just not for me.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Greendale

    Congested, sacharrine, and melodramatic.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alex's Reads & Reviews

    Do you realize the lengths I would go to for a copy of this book? I NEED THIS SO BADLY

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest A while back, I read another book called Ruta Sepetys, called OUT OF THE EASY, a work of young adult historical fiction set in 1950s New Orleans. It had the potential to be an interesting book, but the lazy, meandering pace; lack of action; and reliance on an almost entirely character-driven story made for some tough readin'. I hoped that THE FOUNTAINS OF SILENCE, with its intriguing premise of characters struggling to exist under the Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest A while back, I read another book called Ruta Sepetys, called OUT OF THE EASY, a work of young adult historical fiction set in 1950s New Orleans. It had the potential to be an interesting book, but the lazy, meandering pace; lack of action; and reliance on an almost entirely character-driven story made for some tough readin'. I hoped that THE FOUNTAINS OF SILENCE, with its intriguing premise of characters struggling to exist under the militaristic dictatorship of Francisco Franco in Spain might be better. At the very least, it might be more action-packed. I was wrong, on both counts. The slow pacing and character-driven stories seem to be hallmarks of Ruta Sepetys's style, regardless of whether she's writing for an adult or a young adult audience. And even when writing about "edgy" content, like prostitution or stolen babies, her books have an overly clean, sanitized feel reminiscent of Amy Harmon's - only, she isn't the emotional storyteller that Harmon is. It's like these books were put in a juicer and everything pulpy and interesting was extracted, leaving only the inoffensive concentrate behind. There are multiple POVs in this book - another literary technique I'm also not a fan of, which wasn't present in OUT OF THE EASY - which made this book hard to read. One of the advance readers I saw actually ended up not finishing this book because of that, and I'll be honest and admit that I considered doing the same because this book took so long to get into. Daniel is the main character, I would say, even though it takes a while to get to him. His mother is Spanish, but his father is a Texas oil baron, and he's in Spain because his dad's trying to secure a drilling deal with Franco. The other main character, the love interest, is a girl named Ana, who works in the high class hotel, the Castellana Hilton, at which Daniel and his family are staying. Ana's family also gets POVs, primarily her brother, Rafa(el), who wants to be a bullfighter; her married sister, Julia, whose fear at challenging the system makes her more willing to play by the rules; and then Ana's cousin, Puri, who works at a Catholic adoption center with the nuns and is beginning to discover something sinister about the babies being brought into their charge. Their stories intertwine, sometimes in dull ways, sometimes in interesting ways, sometimes in irrelevant ways that feel like they're only there to bulk up the page count. Ana learns desire and rebellion; Daniel learns to confront his own privilege; there's a love story that bends and twists under pressure and strife, but doesn't break; all of this is happening under a fascist yoke, where the Guardia Civil are everywhere, and so are their plants, slowing down the inevitable influence of Western capitalism. I ended up liking this a bit more at the end than I did at the beginning, and obviously, since I made it to the end of this nearly-500-page tome, I ended up feeling invested enough to finish. It was an OK story, but again - it felt sanitized. History is dirty and awful. I didn't really feel like the fear, paranoia, and persecution of the dictatorship was adequately captured here. Even when bad things do happen, they come across as understated. You, as the reader, are utterly numb to the stakes. It's the type of book you might encounter at a book club or bring with you on an airplane, only to leave it behind you on the seat once you've finished. I don't think this is a bad book, but it's definitely not what I want out of historical fiction, and it's cemented my suspicions that Ruta Sepetys is not an author for me. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!   2.5 to 3 stars

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lea ♞ That_Bookdragon

    A solid 5/5 Thank you so much to Penguin Random House International for providing me with a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest opinion. A very pretty bookmark was also included in the package they sent me, which you can see HERE "The history hasn't written itself yet, Matheson. But you're capturing it as we speak with your photos." Before we start, I would like to say that I was really eager for this book to be released because it is set during Franco's Spain. You guys need to A solid 5/5 ⭐️ Thank you so much to Penguin Random House International for providing me with a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest opinion. A very pretty bookmark was also included in the package they sent me, which you can see HERE "The history hasn't written itself yet, Matheson. But you're capturing it as we speak with your photos." Before we start, I would like to say that I was really eager for this book to be released because it is set during Franco's Spain. You guys need to know that my great-grandfather was one of those lucky ones who managed to escape Franco's dictatorship and found refuge in France. Unfortunately, I didn't get to meet him when he was alive but I felt like this book would be truly important for me on a personal level to better understand what life was like for him in Spain at that time. Of course we studied fascist regimes in high school, but this book provided a very different insight of something I had no idea was happening. I will try to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible and will mark the spoilers accordingly should there be any. This book is set in 1957 Madrid, namely 20 years after Franco took power after the Spanish Civil War. While Spain is hiding a very dark secret, it opens its arms to American investors eager to do business with the European country by selling itself as the country of wine and sunshine. Daniel Matheson, the aspiring photographer son of one of those wealthy oil businessmen finds himself in this country with rules and laws so different from what he knows of America. He will meet plenty of local people and befriend them, taking photographs of them in their everyday lives in hopes of taking the shot that will offer him the first prize of a photography contest. While he stays at a newly open luxury hotel, he gets to meet Ana, a young Spanish maid assigned to his family. Secretive and discreet, Daniel will quickly understand that Spain as he imagines it is nothing like it actually is... "It's impossible for outsiders to understand. There is a tension that exists between history and memory, señor. Some of us are desperate to preserve and remember, while others are desperate to forget." This book was the first book I've read by Ruta Sepetys and I know for sure it won't be the last. She has a way to use words that hits right home. Through powerful prose, she depicts a deeply insightful image of Spain and its post-war status with a dictator holding a firm grip over it, controlling his citizens and threatening them at all moments. I didn't know prior to reading this book that Spain so desperately tried to attract tourists, especially Americans. I learned a lot while reading this book, and I do believe that's the quintessential essence of Historical Fictions to make readers learn more about very specific aspects of History that are often put aside by school's curriculums. It was interesting to see the clash of these two very different cultures. Americans with their freedom to do almost whatever they want against Spanish people being barely allowed to breathe. I loved the little "extras" the interviews and extracts from real papers brought to the text, it made the book even more believable and, in a way, even more gut-wrenching. I think it's always complicated to review a book that's based on events that truly happened and it always baffles me to see the sheer amount of research that needs to be done to write Historical Fictions. "When captured at the right moment, truth reveals itself to the camera." The characters of this story were also what truly brought it to life. This story follows multiple points of view but each character's voice is so different from the other that it was truly easily to distinguish who was talking and when. I think Daniel was my favorite character. He was genuinely good, a light within the darkness of all these people's lives. He wanted to help by taking pictures to show the world the reality behind Franco's Spain, the horror and the terrible secrets that are kept within its borders. However, I grew really attached to Ana and her family as well. They are the descendants of a mother and a father who were opposed to Franco and his dictatorship and ended up being executed for it, branding Ana and her siblings as the children of "degenerated people". All of them work hard, they often have two jobs to try to sustain their family and keep everyone fed. Miguel and Fuga were also memorable characters that I truly enjoyed reading about. Overall, I feel like every character in this story will leave a mark on me for a very long time, and not only because of their link to my family's history. I finished this book last night, gobbling up the 250 pages I had left of it in less than one hour and a half. I really didn't want to leave them because they all felt close to me. However, I needed to know what would come to them so I kept reading anyway and ended up staring at my ceiling in silence for half an hour once the last page was turned. I wanted to write this review as soon as possible to have my emotions and feelings still raw and fresh from what I read. As I said before, it's hard for me to rate and review books talking about events that happened, but this one taught me about something terrible I had no idea was happening but will most certainly tell people about because I think it needs to be more widely known. If you want to know what I'm talking about, then you will have to get this book and find out for yourself because otherwise I would basically be revealing to you the whole plot of this mind-blowing book. And I very highly recommend you do, even for the sake of a History lesson given to you by the fantastic teacher Ruta Sepetys is. This book touched my heart very deeply and I really hope as many of you will pick up a copy of this book. My Bookstagram

  8. 5 out of 5

    Book of the Month

    Why I love it by Danielle McNally When I read, I want to be transported. To another place, to another time, to a world I never could have experienced on my own. In Ruta Sepetys’s latest, The Fountains of Silence, I was taken to a sepia-toned summer in 1950s Spain. The entire time I was reading (which wasn’t long, since I flew through the 475-page novel in three days), I felt as if I, too, were walking the cobblestoned streets of Madrid, the heat of the late afternoon sun on my shoulders. That said, Why I love it by Danielle McNally When I read, I want to be transported. To another place, to another time, to a world I never could have experienced on my own. In Ruta Sepetys’s latest, The Fountains of Silence, I was taken to a sepia-toned summer in 1950s Spain. The entire time I was reading (which wasn’t long, since I flew through the 475-page novel in three days), I felt as if I, too, were walking the cobblestoned streets of Madrid, the heat of the late afternoon sun on my shoulders. That said, this time period wasn’t a particularly pleasant one—at least, not if you were Spanish. Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version: Daniel, a 19-year-old Spanish-American aspiring photographer, is staying with his wealthy parents at the Castellana Hilton (a real place!). There he meets Ana, a young maid who, along with her siblings, has struggled to make ends meet since her Republican parents were punished for their views. I love historical fiction, particularly stories about World War II, but I’d never read anything about how that seismic event played out in Spain. Through the stories of Ana, Daniel, and the many characters they encounter, Sepetys educated me about a point in modern history that has been largely ignored by popular media. Though there’s no murder or heist, The Fountains of Silence plays out like a mystery. But rather than trying to solve a crime, you, reader, are tasked with uncovering what happened to the characters before the book began. And just like any good mystery, there are twists and reveals down every alleyway and in every whispered secret. This book is as much about life under Generalissimo Franco as it is about young love, bullfighting, swaggering Americans abroad, and family obligations. Hope you’ve got your passport, because you’re about to go on one hell of a trip to Spain. Read more at: https://bookofthemonth.com/the-founta...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Renee (itsbooktalk)

    If you're like me and tell yourself that you don't like YA, give this book a try and prepare to be blown away! My automatic reaction when I come across YA is to pass it by but after reading several I've loved (Field Notes on Love, Hope and Other Punchlines, Salt to the Sea) and now this, I have to say...I'm LOVING YA! I know this author is known as a "crossover" author since her books appeal to both teens and adults and I would agree but with The Fountains of Silence, I'd almost say it has a If you're like me and tell yourself that you don't like YA, give this book a try and prepare to be blown away! My automatic reaction when I come across YA is to pass it by but after reading several I've loved (Field Notes on Love, Hope and Other Punchlines, Salt to the Sea) and now this, I have to say...I'm LOVING YA! I know this author is known as a "crossover" author since her books appeal to both teens and adults and I would agree but with The Fountains of Silence, I'd almost say it has a more overall "adult" feel. I don't throw out the words brilliant or spectacular too often in my reviews but those words exactly describe how I felt about this story and the characters. I listened to over half on audio and the narrators were excellent! I'd highly recommend reading part or all of the book this way as there is so much spoken Spanish that comes alive with each of the narrators. I was wholly invested in the story of Ana, Daniel, Rafa, Julia, Puri and many more that I literally couldn't stop listening (my house is really clean, all the laundry is done, and I walked extra long for my workout:). The amount of research the author completed to write this is staggering but it shows in every detail as the setting of Madrid and Spain as a whole came alive, I felt I was there, I felt the people were real and when I finished I already missed them and could've read more...that's saying a lot considering this is a 500 page book! I thought the ending was perfection and so appreciate the time span the author provided. I loved it and fully expect it will be in my top 10 of the year!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kim Friant

    4 Stars—Ok so first off, I love Sepetys’ books. They’re amazing and she’s one the authors that I pick up no matter what the book is about. But I’m gonna start with my one criticism that applies to multiple books. The endings frustrate the crap outta me! I’m learning to accept open endings that could go in any direction and could be interpreted and imagined in a myriad of ways. However, with Sepetys’ stories, I want to know more! She always seems to completely draw me into the stories and the 4 Stars—Ok so first off, I love Sepetys’ books. They’re amazing and she’s one the authors that I pick up no matter what the book is about. But I’m gonna start with my one criticism that applies to multiple books. The endings frustrate the crap outta me! I’m learning to accept open endings that could go in any direction and could be interpreted and imagined in a myriad of ways. However, with Sepetys’ stories, I want to know more! She always seems to completely draw me into the stories and the characters’ lives and I get so involved and want to know as much as possible, but then she just cuts the story off. It feels like there’s so much more of the story, but she just refuses to give us the info. That is honestly my only criticism and I’ll admit it’s a big one. However, up until the endings, the stories are all fantastic. This book is no different. The setting is stunning and I now officially want to go to Spain and explore as much as possible. She captures the fear and tension of Franco’s Spain and shows what true fascism looks like. She didn’t pull any punches and I appreciated the history. The characters were all likable and the twists scattered throughout were believable and realistic. I’ll admit that I found this book weeks before the release date at a bookstore and I’m so glad I did! It’s a beautiful book and I recommend it to pretty much everybody!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Ruta Septeys' latest novel takes readers to Madrid, Spain in 1957 under the vice like grip of General Francisco Franco, a fascist dictator. This is my first time reading about this period of 20th century history and I continue to be in awe of the author's talent in making the bridge between YA and general historical fiction. If this book were to be adapted to a screen, it would have to be a television series because the author alternates between a full cast of characters (think LOST) who all Ruta Septeys' latest novel takes readers to Madrid, Spain in 1957 under the vice like grip of General Francisco Franco, a fascist dictator. This is my first time reading about this period of 20th century history and I continue to be in awe of the author's talent in making the bridge between YA and general historical fiction. If this book were to be adapted to a screen, it would have to be a television series because the author alternates between a full cast of characters (think LOST) who all eventually cross paths in the narrative. Not every reader likes this type of jumping around, but it's quickly becoming one of my favorite ways to have an author relate history. We have the young idealist character in Daniel, a young Texan who is traveling with his American businessman father and Spanish mother. Armed with a camera, Daniel, like the reader, "wants to understand" what life is like in the real Spain not what is being advertised as a tourist destination. It is through his encounters with Ana, a young hotel employee, her family members (Julia,Antonio, Rafa, and Puri) , fellow Americans Nick Van Dorn and journalist, Ben that Daniel realizes the violence amidst a nation that is forced by its government to remain silent. A haunting historical that finds itself automatically heading to my classroom library. Goodreads review published 23/11/19

  12. 5 out of 5

    may ❀

    this book was incredibly informative and eye-opening. there's so much deep information about spain during franco's rule and the horrors that occurred during that time. this book is rich with details and the many different faces and lives that spain had to offer. i found it kind of slow and drawn out. the beginning and middle portion of the book felt like it went on forever. i really liked the ending though i would have liked to see more of the characters closer to present day. lots of thoughts on this book was incredibly informative and eye-opening. there's so much deep information about spain during franco's rule and the horrors that occurred during that time. this book is rich with details and the many different faces and lives that spain had to offer. i found it kind of slow and drawn out. the beginning and middle portion of the book felt like it went on forever. i really liked the ending though i would have liked to see more of the characters closer to present day. lots of thoughts on this one. 3.5 stars

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    Having had twelve hours to process the book after reading it in the span of twenty-four hours including a car ride (and I don't read in the car because well, motion-sickness, but there are just times where that needs to be overcome), I can now write a review that consists of more than hearts and exclamation points. Picking stories that represent dark times in our global history is likely the easiest part, but deciding to tell it with the emotional strength and depth required can only be trusted Having had twelve hours to process the book after reading it in the span of twenty-four hours including a car ride (and I don't read in the car because well, motion-sickness, but there are just times where that needs to be overcome), I can now write a review that consists of more than hearts and exclamation points. Picking stories that represent dark times in our global history is likely the easiest part, but deciding to tell it with the emotional strength and depth required can only be trusted to a few writers. Sepetys is one of those chosen few, and chosen because three books have already solidified her ability to write historical fiction and this one is equally captivating. Her appeal lies with adults and young adults who want to access the worlds she opens up. In this story, there are four characters who intersect in mesmerizing ways: Spanish brother and sister Ana and Rafa, their cousin Puri, and the American-- Daniel. Their connections unfold in a series of suspenseful, dark, sentimental, and deeply personal ways in and around the Castellana Hilton, a hotel that's a piece of the United States inside Madrid, Spain during the tumultuous and tenuous reign of Generalissimo Franco. The policies and practices that emerge lead to tragedy that Puri begins to uncover while Daniel as an outsider who pines for Ana also discovers additional stories when using the lens of his camera. Everyone has a story to tell. There are characters you'll love to hate and characters you want to fall in love. One thing is for sure, you'll fall in love with Sepetys again. Storytelling is her passion and her purpose. And the power of the story is similar to Doerr's All The Light We Cannot See and Hannah's The Nightingale and the length and span of the story to Julie Berry's newest Lovely War. Whether readers are understanding the importance of dress for a bullfighter or poverty in Vallecas. I had no problem following the array of characters because they are all instrumental, even as the book moves forward in time and new secrets emerge, I would have gladly welcomed more. It's the nuanced relationships and evocative time period that teach us about humanity. The setting creates is own set of problems and character so anyone who has visited will easily recognize it while those who haven't (me) can understand through Sepetys' choices what we didn't experience firsthand. She's a guide for epic stories of love and loss, politics and economics. The human toll of dictatorship. The secrets and the danger of secrecy. There was a constant pull to uncover and understand, so when Sepetys adds a confessional and power struggles, money and beauty, no one is ever quite certain who to trust but that in that, we can only imagine why even now there a vow of silence as Spain moves on. One thing is for certain: this book is layered. It can be re-read as one of the three books someone would take on a deserted island and never tire of whether I'm staring at the cover or remembering all that unfolded between the pages. It's masterful and a book I will continue to re-live.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bitchin' Reads

    My favorite Ruta Sepetys yet. The last third of it had me sobbing regularly. SOBBING, I SAY. BIG FAT BITTERSWEET TEARS.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Joey T

    WORDS CAN NOT EVEN BEGIN TO EXPLAIN (Seatbelts pls, y’all are about to engage on a very crazy fan rant ) GAIS, i need help. Anyone know how to perform open heart surgery????? I trusted Ruta Sepetys with my heart (again), and she ripped it out unmercifully (again). This book was so beautiful- everything about it. And tbh guys, I CRIED. AND I HARDLY EVER CRY WHEN IM READING BOOKS. THAT’S HOW GOOD THIS WAS and also as a side note I mayyyy have read this in less then 24 hours. *nervous chuckle* yeahhh WORDS CAN NOT EVEN BEGIN TO EXPLAIN (Seatbelts pls, y’all are about to engage on a very crazy fan rant 😉) GAIS, i need help. Anyone know how to perform open heart surgery????? I trusted Ruta Sepetys with my heart (again), and she ripped it out unmercifully (again). This book was so beautiful- everything about it. And tbh guys, I CRIED. AND I HARDLY EVER CRY WHEN IM READING BOOKS. THAT’S HOW GOOD THIS WAS and also as a side note I mayyyy have read this in less then 24 hours. *nervous chuckle* yeahhh ooooops The things I loved (aka basically EVERYTHING) The characters: Ana, Julia, Ben, Nick, Daniel, Rafa, I had to love everyone. They were so beautifully well done and somehow the author allowed me to feel deep connection to each one, even if I couldn’t relate that well personally to them. The romance: DAN AND ANA FOREVER. I loved it so much, it was so fresh and real, maybe it was a little(?) too rushed(?). Personally I didn’t think that at all but I could see others thinking it was. The social issues: I love how Ruta Sepetys doesn’t JUST write for entertainment. She exposes many social issues during this period and displays them in such a talented way. And let me tell you- she has done her research. For all of it. Everything. The writing. Was amazing. As always. What’s else can I say. Basically just everything sucked me in and enraptured me to the point where I could. not. put. this. book. down. Thing(s) i didn’t love: There was A LOT of catholic religion. They attend mass, go to confession, etc. And personally I don’t agree with any of that, but at the same time, having been to Spain, YOU CAN NOT REALISTICALLY WRITE HISTORICAL FICTION IN SPAIN WITHOUT CATHOLICISM. Again, I don’t agree, but I respect that it’s there, and admit the accuracy of it, and it really didn’t bother me. A few times it got to be a little heavy but i know what i believe, and this didn’t rly bother me. Content: H*** is used as a curse word about half a dozen times. God’s name is taken in vain (in Spanish) multiple times. A sprinkling of other minor language includes a**, p*ss. Christ’s name is taken in vain once. Mentions of a woman wearing a bikini, and references to bikinis. Ana wears a dress that exposes a decent amount of her back. Daniel goes into a bit of detail as he stares at her. Daniel and Ana kiss, like, a lot. Never really very detailed. Anyway- YOU GUYS NEED TO READ THIS I AM TELLING YOU. It’s probably my favorite book of the whole year. That’s how good it is. Anyway, if you’re still here after all my ranting, kudos to you! Happy reading guys!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Skip

    Well-researched book about life in Spain under the leadership of Franco. Set in 1957, we follow the life of 18-year old Daniel Matheson, who has travelled from Texas to Madrid with his father (who is trying to negotiate an oil deal with Franco) and Spanish mother, who is dealing with her own problems. Daniel is adrift, having broken up with his high society girlfriend, and unsure how to tell his father that he wants to be a photographer. He falls for the hotel maid, Ana, and gets a real view of Well-researched book about life in Spain under the leadership of Franco. Set in 1957, we follow the life of 18-year old Daniel Matheson, who has travelled from Texas to Madrid with his father (who is trying to negotiate an oil deal with Franco) and Spanish mother, who is dealing with her own problems. Daniel is adrift, having broken up with his high society girlfriend, and unsure how to tell his father that he wants to be a photographer. He falls for the hotel maid, Ana, and gets a real view of life in Spain as he explores the city and her life, with his camera in tow. Meanwhile, there is the story of stolen babies, with political and religious overtones. The story was very slow at the outset, which kept it from being a 5 star rating for me, but Sepetys writes characters with great depth. I especially liked the bullfighter from the barrio.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Misfit

    I don't normally read YA, but when I was offered an ARC and saw how how popular this author was, I decided to go for it. The setting is 1950s Spain under the rule of General Francisco Franco. The hero, 18 year old Daniel Matheson arrives with his parents as his father conducts whatever business Texas oil tycoons do. They stay at a swanky hotel that is popular with the Hollywood type set. Many famous names are dropped throughout the story - say too many names. Anyway, Daniel meets up with hotel I don't normally read YA, but when I was offered an ARC and saw how how popular this author was, I decided to go for it. The setting is 1950s Spain under the rule of General Francisco Franco. The hero, 18 year old Daniel Matheson arrives with his parents as his father conducts whatever business Texas oil tycoons do. They stay at a swanky hotel that is popular with the Hollywood type set. Many famous names are dropped throughout the story - say too many names. Anyway, Daniel meets up with hotel employee Ana, and the two have adventure kind of stuff Nd some mysteries about babies to solve. Sorry, but this just took too long to get going, and I was terribly bored until the very last when things were wrapped up. The terribly short chapters with too many point of view was a big distraction for me, and that slowed the story line as well. Sorry, this one just wasn't my cuppa tea.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Belkiss Misa

    My body and soul are ready

  19. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea Humphrey

    BOTM YA add on November 2019!

  20. 5 out of 5

    My_Strange_Reading

    #mystrangereading The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys (4.5 stars rounded up to 5 for GR) Only Ruta Sepetys can rip your heart completely apart and then put the pieces back together again with a beautiful conclusion. My only qualm was that I really wanted an epilogue, but goodness that was heartbreaking, painful, inspiring and just stunning. I love Spain and even lived there for a summer, but damn did I learn so much more than I ever understood before. Aspects that make this historical #mystrangereading The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4.5 stars rounded up to 5 for GR) Only Ruta Sepetys can rip your heart completely apart and then put the pieces back together again with a beautiful conclusion. My only qualm was that I really wanted an epilogue, but goodness that was heartbreaking, painful, inspiring and just stunning. I love Spain and even lived there for a summer, but damn did I learn so much more than I ever understood before. Aspects that make this historical fiction remarkable: 💃🏻 Her undeniably creative way she can weave so many seemingly unconnected stories together in a powerful way. 💃🏻 The amount of research and study you know she had to put in to write with such depth about this era and the people 💃🏻 The incredible performance of the voice actor on the audible version. I couldn't stop listening. She was so engaging and could do so many different voices/accents.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sophie "Beware Of The Reader"

    5 incredible stars Warning: gushing ahead! I am a late bloomer to the Ruta Sepetys bandwagon. I read or rather listened to “Salt to the Sea” around February this year. That story moved me so deeply that Ruta instantly became one of the authors I am vowing to follow in every adventure she goes on. Did the Fountains of Silence live up to my expectation? Totally! Is it another Salt to the Sea? No even if you can find Ruta's trademark in her precise and effortless writing; in her use of multiple point 5 incredible stars Warning: gushing ahead! I am a late bloomer to the Ruta Sepetys bandwagon. I read or rather listened to “Salt to the Sea” around February this year. That story moved me so deeply that Ruta instantly became one of the authors I am vowing to follow in every adventure she goes on. Did the Fountains of Silence live up to my expectation? Totally! Is it another Salt to the Sea? No even if you can find Ruta's trademark in her precise and effortless writing; in her use of multiple point of views and in her passion for history. Ruta has the knack to tell History with a big H through people's stories. THEY make history. She has you walking into her character’s shoes and makes you live history like no history book can do. Once again Ruta centered her story around a particular era of Spain’s history: Franco’s regime. One that was totally overlooked in my classes. One made of tyranny and of silence for the Spaniards. One hiding something that would become a tragedy for many families. Living in Europe our history classes were thorough on many periods and events. World Wars were analyzed in details but none of Ruta's topics came to light. Too sensitive. Too painful at that time. Ruta Sepetys is one of these authors whose writing seems effortless. It is fluid, precise, conveying so many emotions and visuals in few words that none of them seem superfluous but every one is necessary. Her prose is one of the most powerful that I have read. You will find several quotes below as I just want to highlight Ruta’s profound writing. In The Fountains of Silence, the characters are once again built to perfection. By the end of the book you won't want to leave them, wanting more. A glimpse of their future. Like getting a postcard with a few news every Christmas. Imagine: "Hi we got married on the coast in that small church overlooking the sea." "Hi we got our first daughter and she does look like my mother. She is the sweetest baby ever." "Hi...". We follow the lives of Daniel, Ana, Rafa, Fuga, Julia, Puria with Nick and Ben gravitating around them. As I don’t want to spoil your read I will focus on the characters and the very opening of the book. The story begins with Rafa. He is recalling tragic events from the past that cost his parents death. Rafa went through horrible events in his life before getting back to his sisters Julia and Ana. Their parents opposed Franco and in Franco's regime his opponents died and their children suffered. “Today, the young daughter of a journalist was dealt such bestial blows she died choking on her own blood. In many ways, it is the children of our country who will pay for this war—my own included—and for that, I cannot forgive myself.” Rafa works two jobs and he still is hungry. He is working at a slaughterhouse and a graveyard where he works alongside his fierce and untamed friend Fuga. Fuga is a character who won't have many lines in this story but that you won't forget. He has presence. Never have I read about a side characters emanating such oneness. Fuga is intense, savage, he is a storm, he is a bull. What happened to him as a kid is barely hinted at in the book and is horrible. “Sí,” whispers Fuga. “I will emerge from this fire and when I do”— his head snaps to Rafa, wild eyes ablaze—“I’ll burn them all down.” He dreams of fighting bulls and once he’ll be famous he will avenge and protect all the kids. “Resurrection is possible, Huérfano. You fight for the forgotten, the abused, the hungry, and the unwanted. You fight for your one and only friend, just as he fights for you.” The two main characters of the story are Daniel and Ana. Daniel is the son of a Texan oil tycoon come to Spain to seal a deal with Franco. That's when we learn that Spain needed money and opened its borders to tourists, many of them being American and especially Texan. Daniel is quintessentially a good guy. Raised by a Spanish mother he is educated, polite and considerate. His mother did a mighty fine job with her son even if, being from Spain, she never totally fit into Texan’s high society. “It’s difficult navigating two cultures,” she once told him. “I feel like a bookmark wedged between chapters. I live in America, but I am not born of it. I’m Spanish.” Daniel dreams of becoming a photo journalist even if his father wants him to join the family company. Dressed in jeans, belt buckle, boots and plaid shirt he is a far cry from high society men always wearing suits. An encounter with Ben, an American journalist will set a chain of events in action. Ben will be his mentor and will offer unique opportunities to Daniel.   “Ben is right. The perfect word is like the perfect camera angle; it expresses the true nature of the situation. Change the camera position slightly and the picture tells tales.” Daniel chases the truth. Any truth. He will embrace Spain and its secrets like he would a lover. With care, respect and utter dedication. “You’re a photographer, a storyteller. In a dozen pictures, you showed me ten layers of Texas. Choose an angle and show me ten layers of Madrid.” Ana is the hotel maid assigned to his family. Ana is young, smart, kind, beautiful and hiding a secret. Under Franco’s regime women’s freedom was very restricted. Working at the Hilton is living in a totally different world for Ana. It is a dream world for the young woman who wants nothing more than to travel, escape. Ana and her family will be crucial in Ben’s quest for the true story. The one no one speaks about. But helping Ben is dangerous. It could cost her job, her freedom and maybe her heart. You also have Puri, Ana’s cousin. Working at a state orphanage. Dutiful Puri. Troubled Puri. And Nick and Julia and ….   All their lives will mesh and weave a tapestry of secrets, pain, want and hope. I will stop here as this review is already way too long. That’s what happens when I read a book that opened my eyes and touched me deeply. Just ….read it!   Last but not least I want to thank Penguin Random House Children for gifting me this copy through Netgalley. I already had preordered the book for months but reading it in advance is a wonderful opportunity! And no it had no influence whatsoever on this very willing and honest review! Have you read Ruta Sepetys books? Do you love historical fiction? What other historical book would you recommend? Thanks for reading! Sophie Find me on: Wordpress: Beware Of The Reader Facebook: Beware Of The Reader Facebook group : Beware Book Boyfriends Alert Instagram: @bewareofthereader Twitter: @BewareOffReader

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jodi Meadows

    Wow.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    “The Fountains of Silence” by Rita Sepety I enjoy a great Historical Fiction novel and I am so intrigued to read about the 1950’s lesser known historical moment of Spain under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco. The book is written with such beautiful and well researched historical accuracy seen through the eyes of Ana, a young woman who works at the Castellana Hilton whose family is deep in this political turmoil, and Daniel Mathewson, the son of a Texas oil tycoon, who arrives “The Fountains of Silence” by Rita Sepety I enjoy a great Historical Fiction novel and I am so intrigued to read about the 1950’s lesser known historical moment of Spain under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco. The book is written with such beautiful and well researched historical accuracy seen through the eyes of Ana, a young woman who works at the Castellana Hilton whose family is deep in this political turmoil, and Daniel Mathewson, the son of a Texas oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother's birth. This is my first Ruta Sepety book and I am a fan. I look forward to reading her other best sellers, “Salt to the Sea” and “Between Shades of Gray” as this author’s storytelling brings to life the stories in such a rich and vivid creative world unlike any other. I love that her novels appeal to both adults and young adults alike and gave us a gripping story on the strength of love, and the resilience of the people who suffered through this violence and brutal cruelty. Sepety creatively crafted an amazing story and told with utmost care and attention to the details of the time, the harsh truth about this lesser known historical fact of Spanish Civil War era. I highly recommend this book for those that enjoy a sweeping story of love, Spanish or European history, and of course Historical Fiction fans.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bex

    Here's two major reasons reviewers give for not liking Ruta Sepetys' books: 1. Short chapters which can be difficult because of jumping between characters or situations quickly, creating a feeling of detachment from the key characters. 2. Limited time with each character due to a large cast, cementing that feeling of detachment from key characters. But I love the way Ruta Sepetys writes. I love the short chapters, they build so much tension for me. I love the number of characters, personalities and Here's two major reasons reviewers give for not liking Ruta Sepetys' books: 1. Short chapters which can be difficult because of jumping between characters or situations quickly, creating a feeling of detachment from the key characters. 2. Limited time with each character due to a large cast, cementing that feeling of detachment from key characters. But I love the way Ruta Sepetys writes. I love the short chapters, they build so much tension for me. I love the number of characters, personalities and fleeting moments with them forcing me to piece together future events about to unfold. And I really love the seamless writing; I think Ruta Sepetys is an incredible historical fiction writer and has an "x-factor" that other authors really lack when telling tales like this; she creates horrible characters sometimes with complexities that make me still care to read about them. Or maybe it's a degree of authenticity, a degree of respect for the people and countries she shares the history of. I don't know... What I do know is that this book didn't work very well for me. In post-civil war Spain, under the fascist rule of Franco, many of Spain's people are impossibly poor and grieving for lost family and friends. Tourists flock to Spain, desperate to see bull-fighting and Spanish Matadors, but Texan Daniel has other aspirations. His parents, holidaying in Madrid, have big dreams for Daniel, but those dreams don't mesh with his love of photography. As Daniel tries to capture powerful footage of the people of Spain in an effort to win a photography scholarship behind his parents back, he stumbles across Ana - his parent's personal assistant in the hotel. Ana's family are poverty-stricken, in jobs they despise, and have lost their parents to the civil war; Daniel is a welcome distraction Ana could really use. The pacing of this novel was all wrong; it felt slow, in a way that the pacing of her previous books were too but somehow this was painfully noticeable where Salt to the Sea and Between Shades of Gray just weren't. I didn't feel compelled to keep reading, the characters didn't feel complex as they did in her previous novels, and there was really only one direction this story could ever progress. Not for me this time; I'd been toying with the idea of reading Out of the Easy, but based upon The Fountains of Silence I think I'd better stick with Sepetys' World War novels for the time being. ARC provided free from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mandi1082

    This book takes place in Spain during the 1950 when it was under dictatorship by Fransisco Franco. Even though this was a work of historic fiction it was based on some actual facts of things going on in Spain during that time. I love Ruta Sepetys writing and this was no exception. I was thoroughly engrossed in the pages and very fascinated and intrigued with the story. I loved the characters especially Daniel. I enjoy historic fiction and loved that this was something different from what I have This book takes place in Spain during the 1950 when it was under dictatorship by Fransisco Franco. Even though this was a work of historic fiction it was based on some actual facts of things going on in Spain during that time. I love Ruta Sepetys writing and this was no exception. I was thoroughly engrossed in the pages and very fascinated and intrigued with the story. I loved the characters especially Daniel. I enjoy historic fiction and loved that this was something different from what I have read before. This was a great read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rana

    YASSS! THE HISTORICAL FICTION QUEEN IS BACK WITH A NEW BOOK

  27. 4 out of 5

    The Nerd Daily

    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Alana Missen Lovers of historical fiction have cause to celebrate with the release of Ruta Sepetys’ latest novel, The Fountains of Silence. Set in 1950’s Spain, it depicts the harsh realities of living under the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, and includes the star-crossed romance between Daniel, a young Texan visiting his mother’s home country, and Ana, a Spanish girl working at the Hilton Hotel. This story gives the reader a taste of Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Alana Missen Lovers of historical fiction have cause to celebrate with the release of Ruta Sepetys’ latest novel, The Fountains of Silence. Set in 1950’s Spain, it depicts the harsh realities of living under the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, and includes the star-crossed romance between Daniel, a young Texan visiting his mother’s home country, and Ana, a Spanish girl working at the Hilton Hotel. This story gives the reader a taste of everything, and sheds light on controversial topics. There are discussions on poverty, the war between Republicans and Nationalists, the lost children of Francoism, and more. Major topics collide in The Fountains of Silence in a way that make you question why this era in history hasn’t already been widely written about in modern historical fiction. At the heart of Sepetys’ latest masterpiece, there’s the budding love story between Daniel and Ana. Witnessing these two young people try to come together is both heart-wrenching and hopeful. Firstly, we have Daniel, the son of a Texan oil tycoon. His mother encourages him to speak Spanish in their home, and to celebrate their heritage. So, when the prospect of a family holiday to Madrid emerges, Daniel is excited. Yet what he doesn’t expect is the political turmoil and consequences of the civil war, still evident after many years. Armed with his camera and the urge to learn the truth, Daniel is set to uncover some heavy realities. And then there is Ana. A smart young woman who has learnt the hard way not to trust anyone but her family, Ana has ambitions to further herself within her workplace at the Hilton Hotel. Yet someone is blackmailing her, and a friendship with a hotel guest could prove fatal for herself and her family, who rely upon her pay checks to stay off the streets. The deliberate comparisons drawn between Daniel and Ana serve to broach multiple conversations within The Fountains of Silence, something which Sepetys utilises to full advantage. By drawing these comparisons, the author highlights culture as a main topic of the storyline, and portrays the anxieties faced when someone attempts to bridge cultures. This is seen below in a conversation between Daniel and his mother: ‘“It’s difficult to navigate two cultures,” she once told him. “I feel like a bookmark wedged between chapters.”’ Along with her expert characterisation, Sepetys’ writing style also packs a punch. Her short, rapid fire chapters cut right to the bone, and her sentences zing with meaning. Here is an author that knows how to keep her reader interested, and how to keep them up at night just to finish the next sentence, the next page, or the next chapter. Peppered with factual historical inserts between chapters, The Fountains of Silence is just the right mix of history and fiction. Conflict is another tool well utilised in this novel. Sepetys carefully weaves alternating points of view together in such a way that creates a near complete image of this time in history. By doing so, the dark secrets of Franco’s dictatorship are uncovered in such a way that leave the reader both shocked and intrigued. There’s never a lull in the story, which just goes to show how well conflict is managed and utilised throughout the novel. So, should you pick up this book? Yes! A heart-filled story set in a dark time in history, The Fountains of Silence is a worthy addition to modern historical fiction. It will have you both cheering and crying for your favourite characters, all while questioning how wrongs from this time in history were able to be committed, with the lost children of Francoism being one such topic that hit the hardest in this novel. Informative and hopeful, this story will stay with you long after you’ve consumed it. A must read for anyone who enjoys historical fiction!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Olivia (Stories For Coffee)

    Review to come

  29. 4 out of 5

    ♠️ TABI ♠️

    F I N A L L Y and ohhhhhhhhh look at that cover!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

    I'm going to give this a 3.5. It was good, but I felt that its quality wore off a bit during the last fourth or so. A few character decisions seemed kind of implausible, and it just, in general, wasn't wowing to me. (But, to be fair, I don't think it's necessarily supposed to be wowing. It's a less dramatic book, in general, than Sepetys's others: quieter, slower, more contemplative.)

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