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.
The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys is set in Madrid, Spain. I have never been to Spain but it sounds like a beautiful country. It is on my list of places to visit. Visiting La Tomatina is on my bucket list. It was banned by Franco because it didn’t have any religious significance. This book is not quite as messy as a tomato throwing festival in a literal sense. At the time that the book takes place, people still have to be cautious about what they do, who they talk to and what they discuss.
Daniel is an aspiring photographer but some people don’t want him to take pictures of everything in Spain. The government is watching Daniel so he can’t attract too much attention or they will confiscate his camera and photographs.
He makes a friend with Ana, the person in charge of taking care of his family at the hotel. By the end of the summer, they are in love. It’s a dangerous time to be in love. They can’t flaunt their flirtations. Ana could lose her job, which is very important for helping to care for her family. If she and her siblings don’t pay for her mother’s burial plot, the powers that be will unbury their mother and place her in a mass grave. There are a lot of terrible things that people do but that has to be in the top ten worst things that anyone ever thought of in the history of the world.
The matador, Fuga, is an interesting character. He is the strong, silent type. However, Fuga might have a heart of gold under all of that bravado and silence.
Daniel is trying to win a photography competition, which could help him in a career as a photographer. He wants to photograph the real Spain, which is somewhat difficult because he is seen as an outsider because he is American. Ana and her family help him to see parts of Spain that he couldn’t find on his own. Even Fuga, who doesn’t like Daniel, reveals a huge conspiracy in order to help Daniel and the young people in Spain.
Here are my suggestions for a cast list for a movie or series. If you have another other contenders, let the author or Netflix know.
If you enjoy historical fiction with a sense of adventure or books set in places on your bucket list, then you might enjoy “The Fountains of Silence.”
Fascist dictators will not enjoy this book as much as they could. Being a fascist cannot be that much fun if you can’t enjoy life.
- I received this book from The Write Reads, NetGalley and Penguin as part of a very casual book blog tour. Thanks! All opinions are my own. Obviously.
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