The Fountains of Silence – Ruta Sepetys
I have vague memories of hearing about the Spanish Civil War and Hemmingway, but it wasn’t until I read Domingo’s Angel by Jenny Twist, that I had some understanding of what really happened.
In Twist’s novel, a tall, thin, pale English girl wanders into a remote Spanish mountain village, meets a young villager and stays. This is not just their love story. It is the story of the personalities and dynamics of a small community and of the worsening conditions under Franco’s rule.
The Fountains of Silence brings even greater understanding of the harsh conditions and tyranny of Franco’s regime. Ostensibly this is a YA or NA novel, bit it doesn’t feel that way as you read. Daniel comes to Madrid with his parents. An aspiring photo journalist, he pokes his nose where he shouldn’t. Through his eyes we begin to see the horrid conditions in Spain in the 50s.
Well written, informative, with great characters and a nice touch of romance. Includes vintage media reports, oral history commentary, photos, which add depth to the story.
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.