The Fountains of Silence book review

Claire Mulkey

More stories from Claire Mulkey


Ruta Sepetys is the “Seeker of Lost Stories.” Photo Credit: Magda Starowieyska

Ruta Sepetys’ newest book, “The Fountains of Silence”, was released in 2019. Sepetys, author of “Between Shades of Gray”, “Out of the Easy”, and “Salt to the Sea”, writes historical fiction novels for young people and adults. She is famous for writing stories about events in history that are not well-known around the world. 

Her latest novel is set in 1950’s Spain, under fascist dictator General Francisco Franco and follows Ana, a young hotel employee at the Hotel Castellana Hilton, Puri, her cousin who works at a Catholic orphanage and medical clinic, Daniel Matheson, an American teenager visiting the hotel with his parents, and Rafa, Ana’s bullfighting manager brother. During the book, the four main characters are involved in a plot thicker than expected. The story has its own share of twists and turns, but they never seem manufactured. The story achieves perfect real-life status and seems almost like a nonfiction narrative, a diary of young people growing up amongst oppression and injustice.

This story was heart-wrenching, interesting, and a perfect read to escape. However, I do not think that “Fountains of Silence” reached the same level of intimacy and depth as Sepetys’ other novels. The plot and characters were very real, but books like “Salt to the Sea” developed their connections and personalities better. Perhaps this occurred because “Salt to the Sea” and “Between Shades of Gray” took place in closed, isolated settings, where the small group of characters were able to deepen their relationships in the face of unimaginable destruction and terror. “Fountains of Silence” was slightly predictable and felt naive, a little impractical. 

Although not quite up to par with Sepetys’ other novels, “Fountains of Silence” was a worth-it read.