Tuesday 23 March 2021

Book Review: The Fountains of Slience by Ruta Sepetys


You know a book is truly good, is when you feel physically compelled to read on despite other commitments and much needed sleep. Well hello The Fountains of Silence, the book that did just that to me. I'm going to try and form a coherent review about this magnificent book.


It's books like these that are the reason I love historical fiction so much, especially as this was historical fiction at its absolute finest. Set during the reign of Dictator Franco, this is a very different Spain to the one we know now. This is 20 years in to Franco's regime and Spain has just begun to open it borders to the Americans for trade, whilst still holding its dark secrets. Daniel, who is wealthy and privileged and likes to view his world through the lens of this camera visits with his parents. In stark contrast, we have Ana, a hotel maid who like many others is trying to survive under the oppressive Franco dictatorship. When they meet, their worlds collide as they try to uncover the darkness...

THIS BOOK! I have not read a book that has had quite this impact on me in ages. Yes I have read lots of enjoyable books and books that I have loved, but this was addictive. Look up the word compelling in the dictionary and The Fountains of Silence is what you will find. Bearing in mind I work full time and seem to have a million and one other things to do that take away from my reading time, I read this in two days. That is a record for me, one I haven't been able to do in about 5 years. That is how good this book was.

One of the main reasons I like to read is because I also like to learn new things and before reading this, I knew absolutely nothing about Franco and his terrifying reign. Our history focus has always been on Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini, and considering just how long Franco was in power (36 years!) I am mystified as to why I knew nothing until I read The Fountains of Silence.

Ruta Sepetys is a master historical fiction writer. I was not merely transported to 1950's Spain, I became one of the characters. I fell in love with Daniel and Ana, their characters were so intricate and real and all the supporting cast and other viewpoints felt exactly the same. When I did my own research afterwards on the time period (which Ruta actually encourages you to do) I was half expecting to come across real life people just like Daniel and Ana and others in Ana's family.

This was vivid, atmospheric and completely unforgettable. The Fountains of Silence blew me away and I am about to say something, I haven't said for a very very long with a book, I didn't want it to end.

The Fountains of Silence is Out Now

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