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The Fountains of Silence (2019)

by Ruta Sepetys

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1,3245914,090 (4.17)41
At the Castellana Hilton in 1957 Madrid, eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson connects with Ana Moreno through photography and fate as Daniel discovers the incredibly dark side of the city under Generalissimo Franco's rule.
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English (57)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (59)
Showing 1-5 of 57 (next | show all)
The main action in this historical fiction takes place in the late 1950s in and around Madrid, Spain, about two decades into Generallisimo Francisco Franco's brutal regime. The novel is part love story and part expose of the horrors inflicted on dissidents and their families: murdering anyone who opposes the repressive regime, crushing dissent, burying the truth, and stealing the children of Republicans and selling them for adoption to people loyal to the regime. The story, which is beautifully told, is interspersed with excepts of diplomatic reports, letters, and news stories from the time. The writing is strong, with some beautiful phrasing in places: e.g., “A waiter appears and discreetly slides an ashtray under Ben’s hand, forecasting the gray snowfall from his cigarette.” Or: “Fortune. Born into, unearned. The mute accomplice of fate that determines futures and carves lines to divide.” Well-drawn characters, mystery, and tension round out this excellent work. ( )
  bschweiger | Feb 4, 2024 |
Of the four Ruta Sepetys books that I've read, I would rank THE FOUNTAINS OF SILENCE as her best. All four of the books bring light to history that is not widely known. But THE FOUNTAINS OF SILENCE is even more than that. It is unputdownable, a book that I did not want to end.

18-year-old Daniel and Ana (about the same age) meet when he is visiting Spain with his parents in 1957. Franco is dictator there, and Daniel's father, an oil businessman, has come to make a deal with him. Ana is their hotel maid. Daniel is an aspiring photographer. He takes many pictures of life as it really is for the people living under Franco and his regime.

So you would think these two main characters and their quick romance is what this book is about. But I found the main subject of THE FOUNTAINS OF SILENCE is really the approximately 300,000 babies who were stolen from their parents and sold to adoptive parents. Sure, we meet Ana's brother and sister and cousin, each with their own story, but they all come down to this, the babies stolen from parents who the government deemed unsuitable, "Red."

Although THE FOUNTAINS OF SILENCE is classified as young adult, as are all Sepetys novels, she is a "crossover" author, and adults as well as young adults will enjoy and benefit from this book. ( )
  techeditor | Jan 5, 2024 |
I'm not a regular YA reader but I picked this one up because it was set during the Franco dictatorship. Not surprisingly, this was a bit too YA and melodramatic for my taste but the historical setting and information were excellent and well-integrated into the narrative.
  mmcrawford | Dec 5, 2023 |
At the Castellana Hilton in 1957 Madrid, eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson connects with Ana Moreno through photography and fate as Daniel discovers the incredibly dark side of the city under Generalissimo Franco's rule. From 1939-1980s, thousands of babies were stolen on helaf of the government and sold.
  Carmen109 | Jul 14, 2023 |
DNF ( )
  SimplyKelina | Jun 26, 2023 |
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At the Castellana Hilton in 1957 Madrid, eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson connects with Ana Moreno through photography and fate as Daniel discovers the incredibly dark side of the city under Generalissimo Franco's rule.

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