Thursday, October 31, 2019

Review: THE FOUNTAINS OF SILENCE by Ruta Sepetys

Rating: 5/5 stars

This is the kind of historical fiction novel that reminded me why I fell in love with historical fiction in the first place. The story is rich in culture and setting, and it features beautiful prose, intimate characters, and lots of secrets. It’s absolutely worth the read.

Ruta spent eight years crafting The Fountains of Silence, during which time she traveled to Spain, interviewed people that lived during Franco’s rule, read journals from people of this time, and did all kinds of research to create the most accurate novel possible. Knowing this fact before starting had me wondering at every little detail: “Was this really how it was? Did she read about this thing in someone’s journal?” I bet most of it was real and taken from the influences and sources she talks about in the book. And her thoroughness definitely shines through. She splices the narrative with oral history commentaries, interview excerpts, and quotations from real people in the 1950s who had a view of and opinion about Franco’s Spain to really paint the picture for the readers of what life what like for Spaniards during this time.

Despite having owned all of Ruta’s books for years, The Fountains of Silence is the first one that I’ve actually read. I love historical fiction but I really haven’t been in the mood for it much this year. Because of that, and the book slump that I’ve been in for a few weeks, I was worried that I wouldn’t enjoy this book as much as I potentially could. However, I’m pleased to say that it really impressed me, in scope, writing, characters, details, you name it. Plus I wasn’t bored with it at all, despite not really having the desire to read during the weeks in which I read it. It completely surprised me and pulled me right out of my slump.

I love so much that this book had such short chapters. I’m talking 1-5 pages in length. It made me feel like I was flying through the book and like I could always fit in one more chapter. Because of the short chapters and multiple POVs, it can get confusing at first who is who, so here is a quick reference guide of the main characters:
Daniel—American tourist and photographer in Madrid for the summer; son of an oil tycoon
Ana—Rafael’s and Julia’s sister; maid at a hotel; hiding a secret
Julia—Rafael’s and Ana’s sister; matriarch of their family; works at a tailor shop
Rafael (Rafa)—Ana’s and Julia’s brother; works at a slaughterhouse
Fuga—Rafa’s friend who is training to become a bullfighter
Purificaci√≥n (Puri)—Rafa’s, Ana’s, and Julia’s cousin; works at an orphanage

I love how vivid the setting was and how fleshed out the characters were. I felt so connected to every aspect of this book. Every time Daniel took a picture I wished I could see it. He would explain the setting and the frame and the emotion he captured in each photo, and I so wish they were real. I can’t express how much I loved reading The Fountains of Silence. 

This book had one of the best love stories I’ve ever read in my life. It wasn’t hot and steamy, it wasn’t the type of story you typically read nowadays, but it was still so romantic and I was smiling from ear to ear nonetheless. It was beautiful and I loved it so much. I wish there was more book because I don’t want to be done with Ana and Daniel’s story yet.

Reading this book immediately moved Ruta up on my list of authors who I want to read all their works. I’ll absolutely be checking out her other novels, and I’m actually looking forward to getting back into historical fiction now. I really can’t recommend this book highly enough, and this review is so insufficient for how wonderful the story is.
He takes a breath, acknowledging the reality: a secret never stays secret for long.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Korynne,

    In the search for some honest reviewers for my new book, I chanced upon your blog. It looks like you enjoy stories with elements of mystery and the supernatural.
    You might enjoy my new book “Tryst: Based on Actual Events.” Based on real events, this dramatized nonfiction describes the paranormal events experienced by four young men during a transformative period in their lives. What starts as youthful innocence grows darker and more sinister as the question of malicious forces and even trickery emerges.
    If that sounds interesting to you, I’d love to send you a free copy in return for an honest review! This isn't a non-stop action type of story, but rather gradually builds atmosphere and mood, just so you know what you'd be getting into. Just let me know what type of file to send! Below is the link to the ebook version on Amazon. I look forward to hearing from you!


    Aaron Eldritch