I read this book, by Ruta Sepetys, for my book club this month. It is a Young Adult Historical Fiction apparently but when I was reading it I would never have guessed it was a YA book. Sepetys is a wonderful narrator who describes her settings and characters with enough detail to allow the reader to visualize the story but not so much detail that you find yourself wanting to skip over paragraphs. This depiction of Post WWII Spain under Franco's fascist rule is an amazing reminder of just how fortunate we are in the US to have freedoms that we do.
The storytelling weaves multiple characters stories into a cohesive novel. These storylines all converge toward the end of the book and then reach a climax at the very end. The different characters each have their own secrets that they are keeping. These secrets are part of the life the Spanish lead if they were Republican supporters after the war. The story blends much of the aspects of the Catholic influence in the country as well as other cultural identities such as bull fighting. There is an explanation of how the fighting came to be such a popular mainstay in the country and its connections back to mythology and religion.
My only complaint and the reason I did not give it a 5th star is the ending feels very abrupt. I do realize it is a statement of closure and permission by Puri to Daniel but it still felt as though much of the story was still left to be told. Perhaps there is a sequel to come? All in all I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to trying other books by this author.
Much of the story is based on historical facts that are tragic and in many ways unfathomable. It is hard to believe Franco's rule didn't end until after I was born. I have been fortunate to visit Spain 3 times in my life. The first was in the early 1980s, not long after Franco's influence was ending. I must say that Spain appeared to have recovered well at that point. But then again I was a tourist and a teenager at that so I may not have been aware of the true circumstances of the locals. I hope to return again to Spain with my family soon.
The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Amazing historical novel
What a fascinating novel set in Spain in the Franco era. This story centers around interesting characters that are well developed and diverse. It is so easy to visualize the scenes of Madrid in the 50s based on the wonderful descriptions. Anyone who enjoys historical fiction will want to read this book.
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The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are: