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2023 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

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Children's Book Reading Challenge...For Adults!

Monday, December 23, 2019

Beautiful, Vivid The Fountains of Silence Another Evocative Hit From Sepetys

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Spain, 1957

As the daughter of parents accused, imprisoned, and executed for being rebels against Francisco Franco, Ana Torres Moreno knows she must keep her head down, even now.  Working as a housekeeper at the Castellana Hilton in Madrid, she performs her duties, saves the little money she makes, and does her best to support her siblings.  She has no business fraternizing with the hotel guests and certainly cannot afford to flirt with them or, heaven forbid, fall in love.  And yet, she can't help the way her heart flutters when Daniel Matheson smiles at her.

Daniel, the son of a Texas oil tycoon, is on a business trip with his parents to Madrid.  Determined to become a photojournalist despite his father's protestations, he roams the city capturing the country of his mother's birth on film.  When he happens upon several disturbing scenes, Daniel becomes enraged, determined to do something to help the poor in the struggling city.  When he shares his photos with Ana, the lovely maid in charge of keeping his room clean, he inadvertently ropes her into his risky activities without realizing just how much danger he's putting her in.

Together, Ana and Daniel struggle to make sense of a Spain still rising from the ashes after the war and what that means for them, both individually and together.

YA historical fiction author Ruta Sepetys has won my admiration as well as my loyalty as a reader by continually producing moving, well-researched, beautifully-written novels.  The Fountains of Silence, her fourth book, is no exception.  In her newest, she delves into a time and place I know little about, which made it especially fascinating for me.  Chock-full of vivid detail, Sepetys brings post-war Spain to colorful life, highlighting both its beauty and its struggles.  The main characters aren't anything super special, but they're likable and sympathetic.  Gentle but evocative and powerful, the story is also engrossing and compelling.  I'm not sure if teen readers will have the patience for its 472 pages, but I loved it.  If you enjoy intriguing historical fiction, definitely check out this book as well as Sepetys' previous three.  She's a talented author.  I can't wait to see what she does next!

(Readalikes:  The only other book I've read about the Spanish Civil War is Lady Emma's Campaign, a Regency romance by Jennifer Moore.  Beyond that, The Fountains of Silence reminds me of a number of World War II novels I've read, although no specific titles are coming to mind.)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence, mild innuendo, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of The Fountains of Silence from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.


  1. This one is on my list. I’ve really loved her other books. Now I will move it up. I’ve been backing off of war books lately, but I think I’m ready for this one.

  2. The Spain setting isn't a huge draw for me, but I do really like Sepetys' other books! :D

  3. I think Sepetys is a fabulous author; I love her books. This one is on my shelf and will be my first read of 2020.

  4. This is an author that always pops into my head, when people ask about YA historical fiction (though I have yet to read one of her books), because it's always raves. It's fantastic that her work continues to be great for you.


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