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The Fountains of Silence

Written by Ruta Sepetys

Key Stage 3 Key Stage 4 Gritty Reads Historical Fiction Politics, Law, Philosophy & Ethics

LoveReading View on The Fountains of Silence

A rich, mesmerising tale of love, betrayal, death and corruption set in Franco’s post war Spain

Carnegie winner Ruta Sepetys seems to specialise in illuminating forgotten or unknown aspects of history. The Spanish Civil War may be widely known but Spain lived under Franco until 1975. Rather like post-Apartheid South Africa there was a reconciliation movement that did not pursue retribution for the human rights abuses and crimes of the dictatorship. But this outstanding, impeccably researched novel seeks to shine a light on those crimes. In a fascinating afterword she tells us that studies estimate over 300,000 babies were stolen from their Republican parents.  This is indeed a story to shock and horrify but its power comes from the characters and the very human stories she tells. We get different perspectives from different viewpoints and voices, but very cleverly our main guide is an outsider looking in just as the reader does. Daniel is an American boy visiting Spain as his father negotiates a lucrative deal. America’s complicit dealings with the Franco regime are also under the spotlight here. Daniel aspires to be a photojournalist and he naively wants to find the real Spain. He finds fear and suspicion, makes friends and falls in love but tragedy strikes, and he must leave. The full sinister picture is only revealed many years later. This is a book which absolutely demonstrates the power of a story to reveal truth and to develop real understanding and empathy. Perfectly pitched, evocative and utterly enthralling.

Joy Court

The Fountains of Silence Synopsis


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.

The Fountains of Silence Press Reviews

An exemplary work of historical fiction. - The Horn Book

Gripping. - Publisher's Weekly

A stunning novel that exposes modern fascism and elevates human resilience. - Kirkus

Captivating, deft, and illuminating historical fiction. - Booklist

Book Information

ISBN: 9780241421871
Publication date: 3rd October 2019
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Format: Hardback
Year Groups: Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4
Topics: Gritty Reads, Historical Fiction, Politics & Law

About Ruta Sepetys

Ruta Sepetys is the author of acclaimed YA novel, Between Shades of Grey. Born and raised in Michigan in a family of Lithuanian descent, Ruta now lives with her husband in Tennessee. Ruta was a highly successful promoter of classical music concerts, booking and touring with orchestras worldwide, before turning to writing full-time. In 2015, Ruta was awarded The Rockefeller Foundation's prestigious Bellagio Center writing residency, where she interacted with other leading international artists, writers and thinkers. Ruta discovered the story on which Salt to the Sea is based originally through a family connection and discovered that a cousin of her ...

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