Title: The Fountains of Silence
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Genre: Historical Fiction, YA
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK
Publication Date: 1st October 2019
Madrid, 1957. Tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming guise of sunshine and wine while Spanish citizens are gripped by a dark secret.
Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, hopes to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography -and fate – introduce him to Ana, a hotel maid, whose family is suffering under the fascist dictatorship of General Franco.
Daniel and Ana’s lives and hearts collide as they unite to uncover the hidden darkness within the city – a darkness that could engulf them all. . .
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 and the hidden violence of silence.
I read Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys a couple of months ago and found it both beautiful and heartbreaking. Part of what I loved about it was that it gave insight to a lesser known aspect of World War Two, and that is what drew me to this talented author’s latest book. It is set in Spain after the Spanish Civil War, a conflict I knew relatively little about going into this read. I am always eager to know more about subjects I haven’t often come across whilst reading and The Fountains of Silence gave me the opportunity to learn more about an extremely complex war of which the consequences are still being felt today.
In The Fountains of Silence we mainly follow a rich young American, Daniel, who is a visitor to Spain and a young woman, Ana and her family whose lives have been devastated by the Civil War. Seeing this juxtaposition between the real Spain that it’s people have to live with and the glamorous veneer shown to Americans and other tourists is one of the real strengths of this book. It makes the reader question whether they have ever really managed to see the reality of certain countries they have visited. I certainly did for me.
Another aspect that was particularly well done were the relationships in the book. The friendships, romance and family bonds all felt so genuine. The budding relationship between the dignified Ana and smart, well-intentioned Daniel felt completely real to me and progressed in a manner that felt authentic.
Overall I very much enjoyed The Fountains of Silence. Ruta Sepetys is fantastic at demonstrating the depths of human emotion, endurance and suffering in an incredibly effective but actually quite understated way which is part of what makes her books so affecting and thought-provoking.
I received this e-arc through Netgalley. My review is my own honest opinion.