Thursday, May 14, 2020

Review - The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

Title: The Fountains of Silence
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Pages: 464
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: 3rd October 2019

Blurb from Goodreads:

Madrid, 1957. Tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming guise of sunshine and wine while Spanish citizens are gripped by a dark secret.

Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, hopes to connect with the country of his mother's birth through the lens of his camera. Photography -and fate - introduce him to Ana, a hotel maid, whose family is suffering under the fascist dictatorship of General Franco.

Daniel and Ana's lives and hearts collide as they unite to uncover the hidden darkness within the city - a darkness that could engulf them all. . .

Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history's darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel about identity, unforgettable love and the hidden violence of silence.

My Review:
*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Penguin Random House UK Children's and NetGalley*

One summer, American teenager Daniel Matheson travels to Madrid with his parents. While his father attempts to broker an oil deal, Daniel intends to take photos that will win him a photography contest and a place at university.

Daniel soon becomes friends with Ana, who works as a maid at the hotel he's staying at. Ana's family struggles under Spanish dictator General Franco's rule, something that makes Daniel realise that there is another side to Madrid, and Spain, that the tourists don't see.

As Daniel and Ana grow closer, dark secrets are revealed.

Can Daniel follow his dreams and become a photographer?

Ruta Sepetys is an author that lots of people seem to love, and while I do enjoy them, her books never seem to quite hit the mark for me.

The setting of 1950s Madrid was by far my favourite thing about this book. I don't know much about the history of Spain, so it was enlightening to learn how bad things were under the rule of General Franco. It's rather scary to think of how many people must have been affected by his rule.

Daniel and Ana were both likeable protagonists, but I didn't feel like I fully connected with them.

There were quite a few secondary characters that I liked, but I think Ben and Nick were my favourites.

The story was told from several points of views, which was interesting, but there were times when I felt that the point of view changed unexpectedly or unnecessarily.

The plot was good overall, but given how long the book is not much actually happened. This was definitely a very character-driven book, which I don't mind as long as I really like the characters, but I would have liked a bit more action in this case.

This was an emotional read at times, but it didn't hit me as much as it could have.

The writing style was easy to follow and understand.

I am a bit disappointed that I didn't enjoy this more, but I did find it interesting and it made me want to find out more about the history of Spain.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read.

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