The Fountains of Silence

By: Ruta Sepetys

Madrid, 1957.
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. He is backed into a corner of difficult decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

Author’s note. “Research and Sources.” Glossary of Spanish phrases and words. Black-and-white photographs.

ISBN: 9780399160318

JLG Release: Jan 2020


Sensitive Areas: Mild sexual themes, Violence
Topics: Francisco Franco (1892–1975) , Dictatorship , Hotels, motels, etc , Photography , Secrets , Twentieth-century history of Spain , Madrid, Spain , Politics and government

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Awards & Honors

2019 Goodreads Choice Award Finalist
CPL Best Books - 2019
Wall Street Journal Best Children's Books - 2019
Entertainment Weekly Best YA Books - 2019
Horn Book Fanfare - 2019
Bulletin Blue Ribbons - 2019

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist*, Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly*, The Horn Book Magazine*, School Library Journal*, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books*

School Library Journal

In her latest historical novel, Sepetys illuminates dark secrets about Francisco Franco’s fascist rule of Spain. In 1957 Madrid, 18-year-old aspiring photojournalist Daniel Matheson is staying at the luxurious Castellana Hilton Hotel with his Texas oil tycoon father and Spanish mother. Daniel befriends Ana, a hotel employee, whose attraction to D In her latest historical novel, Sepetys illuminates dark secrets about Francisco Franco’s fascist rule of Spain. In 1957 Madrid, 18-year-old aspiring photojournalist Daniel Matheson is staying at the luxurious Castellana Hilton Hotel with his Texas oil tycoon father and Spanish mother. Daniel befriends Ana, a hotel employee, whose attraction to Daniel is constrained by fear about losing her job and by silence about her family tragedies. When Daniel turns his camera lens on local people and places, he captures provocative images of nuns and orphans, infant burials, an impassioned, struggling bullfighter, the intimidating Guardia Civil military police, Ana’s impoverished homelife, and his father shaking hands with Franco. Gradually, Daniel discovers that beneath the bustling tourist and business vibe of Madrid lurks the dark realities of Franco’s regime: stolen children, sinister church and government collusion, murder of Franco’s political adversaries, and the abuse and re-education of surviving children—like Ana and her siblings. Troubled by unanswered questions, Daniel returns to the U.S. with his parents and a newly adopted sister. He revisits Spain with his sister 18 years later, after Franco’s death. As he introduces his sister to her original culture, he fondly reconnects with Ana and learns the truth of his sister’s parentage. This multidimensional story contains a rich cast of characters with different perspectives, vivid descriptions, romance, and cultural insights. Multiple narrative threads are skillfully woven together. Official quotations from academic and foreign service archives are interspersed among the chapters and document the conflicted relationship between the U.S. and Franco. This well-crafted story sheds light on a disturbing chapter of 20th century history and helps break the silence and expose the tragedy of 300,000 children adopted or stolen during Franco’s rule.

Horn Book

Sepetys’s riveting historical epic examines the enduring effects of the Spanish Civil War through the perspectives of four young people living under the shadow of Franco’s fascist dictatorship in 1957 Madrid. Ana and Rafael are siblings whose Republican educator parents were murdered for opposing Franco’s Nationalist party. Now, almost twenty Sepetys’s riveting historical epic examines the enduring effects of the Spanish Civil War through the perspectives of four young people living under the shadow of Franco’s fascist dictatorship in 1957 Madrid. Ana and Rafael are siblings whose Republican educator parents were murdered for opposing Franco’s Nationalist party. Now, almost twenty years later, the family still struggles. Ana is a maid in an American-style hotel, while Rafael splits his time between working in a slaughterhouse and digging graves. They earn pennies even as Franco’s government grows rich off American tourism and oil industries. Their cousin Puri, a loyal fascist, is a caregiver at a Catholic orphanage, where she is increasingly disturbed by some troubling discoveries concerning the infants in her charge. Daniel, an aspiring American photojournalist whose mother is from Spain and father is a Texas oil baron, befriends Ana and Rafael and begins to question everything he’s been told about Spain and its pretty facade—especially after he and Ana fall in love. Through lively characters and short, swiftly paced chapters permeated with elements of mystery and suspense, Sepetys thoroughly and sensitively explores the vast social, economic, and political issues that plagued postwar Spain, including the selling of stolen Republican infants to Nationalist families. Excerpts from newspapers, government documents, and interviews from and about the time add another layer of veracity. Back matter includes an author’s note, an extensive bibliography, information on sources, a glossary of Spanish words and phrases, and a photo gallery. An exemplary work of historical fiction.

Book Details

ISBN

9780399160318

First Release

January 2020

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

F

Trim Size

9" x 6"

Page Count

512

Accelerated Reader

Level 0; Points: 0;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 0; Points: 0;

Lexile

Level

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Philomel

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Mild sexual themes, Violence

Topics

Francisco Franco (1892–1975), Dictatorship, Hotels, motels, etc, Photography, Secrets, Twentieth-century history of Spain, Madrid, Spain, Politics and government,

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