Wednesday, January 1, 2020

YA Review: The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

Title: The Fountains of Silence
AuthorRuta Sepetys
Year Published: 2019


Genre: YA fiction (historical)
Pages: 512
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2020 Google Reading map): Spain and USA (TX)

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money (twice!)

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): 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.

Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history's darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel about identity, unforgettable love, repercussions of war, and the hidden violence of silence--inspired by the true postwar struggles of Spain.

Includes vintage media reports, oral history commentary, photos, and more. 

Review: I LOVE Ruta Sepetys' novels. I have read Salt to the Sea, Between Shades of Gray (I heard the movie has a different name and I suppose that's because of the whole "Fifty Shades of Gray" issue), and Out of the Easy, so was really looking forward to this book. In fact, I've chosen it for my first book of 2020 and hoped that it would set high expectations and a good tone for the rest of the year. And oh boy, what a way to begin the year!

The research that goes into each of Sepety's books is so impressive. I love that at the end of this book she not only lists the books she read for background, but she talks about of her travels to Spain, the people who helped her, and the history. What's great is seeing the characters and plot points in those who assisted her along the way. It makes this book even better.

I loved the characters from Daniel, the thoughtful Texan visiting Spain, to Ana, the poor Spaniard who works at his hotel, to the matador, nuns, siblings, parents, and others who round out the cast. They are all believable, interesting, and help to move the plot forward.

The history is super interesting. I only knew a cursory amount about the Spanish Civil War and it's dictator, Franco. This book opened my eyes to the history in Spain following that war and what that time period was like for both poor and wealthy Spaniards.

If you have read and enjoyed Sepetys' other novels, you'll love this one and if you haven't read her books yet... what are you waiting for?!


Challenges for which this counts: 
For the Pop Sugar challenge, this book is about a world leader (Franco of Spain)

No comments: