Title: The Fountains of Silence
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
Ruta Sepetys is one of my favorite authors, and has been for a long time now. Salt to the Sea, her third book, was my first by her. So, when I found out that she was writing a new book, I put it on hold as soon as I could. It’s been sitting in my library stack for a while now. I couldn’t renew it, so as soon as I was finished with Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, I began to read it. Historical fiction ie one of my favorite genres, because it gives me perspective into times of upheaval and change that I wouldn’t otherwise have. The Fountains of Silence opens not long after the end of the Spanish civil war, with several young people struggling to find their dreams in the aftermath. Daniel Matheson is a young Texan, come to Spain with his wealthy parents for a business meeting with Spain’s dictator, Francisco Franco. A passionate photographer, his eyes are opened to Spain’s dark secrets, some in places long before he was even born. But Spain also holds hope, promise, unexpected allies and perhaps, true love?
I’ll be honest: This was a time period in American and Spanish history that I didn’t know much about. I knew the basics, of course, but even then, they were bare. I love how Ruta Sepetys takes so much care and meticulous research when she tells a story; I was immediately spellbound by her prose, but even more than that, the characters. I laughed, I wept, I raged, especially at my own ignorance. The thing about studying history, at least, for me, is that you have to study its nuances so the situations don’t repeat. And The Fountains of Silence was like a front-row seat to the conflict, but also to the many triumphs and flaws of humanity itself. The characters were beautifully drawn, especially Ana, Daniel, his parents, and Ana’s family members. As with all of Sepetys’s books, it was written with empathy and heart, and I loved the ending! It wasn’t quite perfect, but I loved the way that it was so true to life. This book may be my favorite in her entire body of work. It was just so good. I loved the characters, the lush, gorgeous Spanish setting, the attention to detail, and just about everything else. This is a great book to read if you want a behind the scenes look at a more obscure time in history, and I very much enjoyed it. The bottom line: Rich with detail, heartbreakingly sad and empathetic, I loved The Fountains of Silence! Next on deck: Runaways: Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughn!