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Interesting book about the Spanish Civil War and its after effects.

The Fountains of Silence - Ruta Sepetys

The Fountains of Silence, Ruta Sepetys-Author, Narrator, Maite Jauregui, Richard Ferrone, Neil Hellegers, Joshua Kane, Liza Kaplan, Oliver Wyman, Narrators. In the author’s own words, she believes the future is in the hands of the youth, not the adults. The power to change resides with the young who will face it. This book covers many decades, beginning with the rise of Francisco Franco and continuing through his reign, ending with his death and a short period thereafter in which the country is reformed from a dictatorship into a more democratic regime. Daniel Madison is in Spain with his parents. His father has dealings with the dictator, Franco. His father is involved in the oil industry and the family is quite wealthy. The father is also involved with the government of the United States and is following the accepted practices of foreign policy. They are staying at a hotel in Madrid. When the book opens, Rafael Moreno is at his job working for a butcher. He sells blood to the ladies so they can make their sausage. He and his friend love the bullfights and his friend is training for an amateur exhibition. He is hoping to be recognized so he can be officially trained. In a moment of weakness, Rafa does something that he believes is the cause of his father’s death. His parents were involved in the Spanish Revolution, but not on the side of Franco. As a result, their lives were always in danger, and they were very poor. Rafael is Ana Torres Moreno’s brother. Ana works in a hotel. It is a coveted job because it pays a decent wage and affords opportunity to advance. Ana and her siblings have many secrets. Both of their parents have been murdered and they are trying to survive. Ana’s older sister is in charge of the family’s future. Daniel is staying at the hotel where Ana works. She is assigned to assist his family. Daniel is immediately smitten by her, as she is by him. However, dare she dream of a relationship with a gentleman from such a different world than hers? As their relationship grows, the history of the Revolution, the time of Franco’s rule, the effect on the populace for and against him, the relationship of Spain with the rest of the world, and other historic perspectives are revealed and examined. There is much to enjoy in the book, but I found this particular novel less enjoyable than others by this author. It seemed less of a crossover novel, for which she is known, and more of a Cinderella-like fairytale with history thrown into the mix. While it exposed the corruption and violence of Franco’s regime and the complicity of the United States which enabled his despotic rule, including random murders, the kidnapping of newborns (informing the mother her child died, although it was well), to sell to others deemed more fit to raise a child, the random murders of people considered enemies of the state, the continued punishing and deprivation of the ancestors of the revolutionaries, and while it explained the influence of the Church and the superstitions that informed the masses who were not well educated, it seemed written for a juvenile audience, only. The history and famous names mentioned were interesting and informative, with bits of knowledge imparted that I had not known, but some of it was confused by the reading of the footnotes concerning this information, which was interjected into the narrative in the audio without warning. The author has written other books based on her own history. This one, however, is based on the Spanish Civil War and the period that followed. She researched it well. Her books generally appeal to both young and old, but this one, I think, will appeal more to the young. The narrative will enthrall romantic teens, on the more naïve side. The historic narrative should, however, appeal to both teens and adults. I did not completely enjoy or appreciate the main narrator’s interpretation of some of the characters since she presented an interpretation different than mine, however, overall, the narrators performed well, delineating each character in a unique way and the book is very much worth a read.