!!> Reading ➳ The Fountains of Silence ➬ Author Ruta Sepetys – Writerscompany.co.uk
Congested, sacharrine, and melodramatic. 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. Do you realize the lengths I would go to for a copy of this book I NEED THIS SO BADLY Instagram Twitter Facebook 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 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 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 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 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 Guise Of Sunshine And Wine Among Them Is Eighteen Year Old Daniel Matheson, 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 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 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 Post War Struggles Of Spain. Why I love itby Danielle McNallyWhen 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 at 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 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 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 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 HEREThe history hasn t written itself yet, Matheson But you re capturing it as we speak with your photosBefore 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 isIt s impossible for outsiders to understand There is a tension that exists between history and memory, se or Some of us are desperate to preserve and remember, while others are desperate to forgetThis 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 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 believable and, in a way, even 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 FictionsWhen captured at the right moment, truth reveals itself to the cameraThe 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 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 My body and soul are ready 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 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 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.