Book Review : The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys


Genre : Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Page : 512 pages
Published : 1st October 2019

A portrait of love, silence, and secrets under a Spanish dictatorship.

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.

Includes vintage media reports, oral history commentary, photos, and more.

“Some were desperate to remember and others were desperate to forget.”

Guess how excited I am when Ruta Sepetys announce this book?!

I love Salt to The Sea with all my heart and I am not going to miss this one.

Immediate catalogued The Fountains of Silence into my TBR list RIGHT AWAY.

The Fountains of Silence— following the story of Daniel, a son of oil tycoon who loves photography and Anna, who have lived her whole life under the rule of Fransisco Franco in Spanish.

Before reading this book, I have just watched the documentary of Fransisco Franco in National Geographic months ago out of curiosity. And… I am baffled with everything I’ve just learned in the last one hour. Why didn’t my history books mention anything about him before? or rather, about this part of history?

Buying this book is just coincidence because I adore Ruta Sepetys work before and I can’t wait to dive into this book. I pay no attention to the blurb and I was excited for the book then I was eager to read once I found out what this book is about! Reading a part of history that I’ve just known about months ago seems to make me look and grasp at things clearer.

“A spark of truth behind the glorious Spain today.”

That’s how I’m going to describe the book.


Hmm.. I’m getting confused as how to approach this subject. I’ve read historical fiction before but this kind of historical fiction in this book is kinda new to me. Because rather than the history itself, this book brought out the terror, fear, hope and anger of the survivors.

This book tells the story of the war aftermath in the point of view of Daniel and Anna as well as Anna’s family. Therefore, there’re going to be several point of views in the book, each grows with different trauma and secrets they’ve to carry for the rest of their lives.

If you’re reading this book for the history, I am not going to say this book discuss everything about the regime inside. What I love about the history part in the book, is the obscure truth that was being concealed for decades, the history that many would not have known about.

Also, I love the details. Not just any details, but sensitive details that probably everyone notice while no one really dare to emphasized them out loud in public. Probably even now. This book stated those tiny details inside, compelled in this wonder of historical fiction. For this, I especially love the sounds of the title because there’s no other title that is more perfect and fitting than The Fountains of Silence.

And I love how this book attached the real history archive every once in a while.


My first thought upon reading this book “Okay feelings. HIT ME HARD WITH ALL YOU’VE GOT.”

I was excited and scared, ready and not ready at the same time because you know how historical fiction goes. Either this is going to be beautiful or this is going down bad.

The first thing you should’ve known is this book didn’t make me go buy new boxes of tissues. So I was both relieved and.. okay I guess? because upon reading this book, I was waiting for something big to happen. Probably revelation or disaster that could wreck me hard with feelings. But truth to be told, it was not how it happened in the book.

I could feel the emotion, the desperation, hope, anger, and fear but it was not immense. All the emotions are blend in equal measure enough to make me feel but it’s not enough to wrap me lost inside cocoons of emotions. But it doesn’t matter. I love the book a lot.


To be COMPLETELY honest, the characters are the one element that makes this book beautiful. Despite the history, this book focused more on the characters. How they cope with the war aftermath, their life around people who’ve went through hell and those who haven’t suffer anything like it before.

They’re going to be five point of views in the book. Daniel, Ana, Julia– Ana’s sister, Rafa– Ana’s brother and Puri– Ana’s cousin. Every characters bring me to venture different side of their background, questions, secrets and hope. But among them all, Daniel and Ana both have my heart.

I was always eager to read their point of views and them both are the reason I finished the book fast. I love the characters but I adore Daniel and Anna.


Reading the blurb, I notice there are no definite plot in the book. And the book proves just that.

I know the history of the regime already so I kind off could guess roughly how the book will end. For that, I understand why there are no definite plot because it focused more on the characters that are currently living under the regime. This book is about their everyday life in Madrid.

With that being said, the book progress quite slow because this book is trying to make readers aware of the history. It progress slow but it was not boring. However, maybe because I’ve known this part of history already so things are sometimes predictable and it does not impress me like I thought it should be.


I love the book.

There’s no doubt about that.

And I highly adore Daniel and Anna.

It’s true that I’ve bigger expectation for the book, but it probably because I’ve known how the history goes that it kind off undid the favour. But seriously, I still love the book. I’m not a slow pace reader type but I honestly love this book. This book creates a good story with the purpose to make readers aware of the history.

“We have only died if you forget us.—anonymous epitaph SPANISH CIVIL WAR MASS GRAVE”

Author : Celine


15 thoughts on “Book Review : The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

  1. I’m fascinated by this dreadful period of Spanish history and I’ve read many books set during the Spanish Civil War. The most recent was ‘A Long Petal of the Sea’ by Isabel Allende, which begins in Spain at that time. It looks as if you’ve found me another!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved your review, Celine! The book I’ve read set during the Spanish Civil War is The Muse by Jessie Burton, so I haven’t really scratched the surface with this period yet. The historical aspect here sounds captivating. So glad you enjoyed!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I only read one book set partly in this time period so far (Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson, a really great detective thriller) but I really want to read The Fountains of Silence after your review. I was not sure before because I’m not really a historical reader but it sounds like I would really like it. Great review Celine!

    Liked by 1 person

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