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Staff Reads: The Fountains of Silence

Staff Reads: The Fountains of Silence

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys 

Reviewed by Connie McConnell, Teen and Adult Services Librarian

The 1950’s. America was enjoying a time of freedom and prosperity; Spain was the exact opposite.  Whatever you did, someone was watching.  In Madrid, 1957, teenager Daniel Matheson, the son of a rich Texas oil baron, visits his mother’s homeland.  What he encounters are the class distinctions and rules strictly enforced during Franco’s regime.  As he befriends his hotel maid Ana, he delves deeper into the lives of the downtrodden, using his camera to document the massive divide between the poor and the ultra-rich. 

The characters are captivating: From Ana who is an orphan only because her parents were on the wrong side of Franco, to the aspiring bullfighter Fuga.  Then there’s Puri the teenage volunteer at an orphanage, who noticed something wasn’t right.  Why were parents being told their newborns died at birth?  Daniel leaves Spain.  But in years to come, it is calling him back.  Could it be the beautiful Ana? Or the mysterious find by Fuga of infant coffins filled with burlap and dirt?   

At over 500 pages, this book is long but well worth the time!  I especially enjoyed the audiobook on Libby.  It was written for teens, but enjoyable for adults too. The end is cheer-worthy and brings light to a lot of the dark places left by war and silence. 

Get it in print here, or in eBook or eAudio format.