The Fountains of Silence

The Fountains of Silence

Audio CD(Unabridged)

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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Salt to the Sea and Between Shades of Gray comes a gripping, extraordinary portrait of love, silence, and secrets under a Spanish dictatorship.

Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming promise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother's birth through the lens of his camera. Photography—and fate—introduce him to Ana, whose family's interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War—as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel's photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of difficult decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

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, repercussions of war, and the hidden violence of silence—inspired by the true postwar struggles of Spain.

Includes vintage media reports, oral history commentary, photos, and more.

Praise for The Fountains of Silence:

* "[Sepetys] tells a moving story made even more powerful by its placement in a lesser-known historical moment. Captivating, deft, and illuminating historical fiction." Booklist, *STARRED REVIEW*

* "A stunning novel that exposes modern fascism and elevates human resilience." Kirkus, *STARRED REVIEW*

Read by Maite Jáuregui, with Richard Ferrone, Neil Hellegers, Joshua Kane, Liza Kaplan, and Oliver Wyman, and with an Author’s Note read by the author

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780593105665
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/01/2019
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 370,060
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

RUTA SEPETYS ( is an internationally acclaimed author of historical fiction published in over sixty countries and forty languages. Sepetys is considered a "crossover" novelist as her books are read by both teens and adults worldwide. Her novels Between Shades of Gray, Out of the Easy, and Salt to the Sea are all New York Times bestsellers, international bestsellers, and Carnegie Medal nominees. Her books have won or been shortlisted for over forty book prizes, are included on over sixty state award lists, and are currently in development for film. Born and raised in Michigan, Ruta now lives with her family in Nashville, Tennessee. Follow her on Twitter @RutaSepetys.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

They stand in line for blood.

June’s early sun blooms across a string of women waiting patiently at el matadero. Fans snap open and flutter, replying to Madrid’s warmth and the scent of open flesh wafting from the slaughterhouse.

The blood will be used for morcilla, blood sausage. It must be measured with care. Too much blood and the sausage is not firm. Too little and the sausage crumbles like dry earth.

Rafael wipes the blade on his apron, his mind miles from morcilla. He turns slowly from the line of customers and puts his face to the sky.

In his mind it is Sunday. The hands of the clock touch six.

It is time.

The trumpet sounds and the march of the pasodoble rolls through the arena.

Rafael steps onto the sand, into the sun.

He is ready to meet Fear.

In the center box of the bullring sits Spain’s dictator, Generalísimo Francisco Franco. They call him El Caudillo — leader of armies, hero by the grace of God. Franco looks down to the ring. Their eyes meet.

You don’t know me, Generalísimo, but I know you.

I am Rafael Torres Moreno, and today, I am not afraid.


The supervisor swats the back of Rafael’s damp neck. “Are you blind? There’s a line. Stop daydreaming. The blood, Rafa. Give them their blood.”

Rafa nods, walking toward the patrons. His visions of the bullring quickly disappear.

Give them their blood.

Memories of war tap at his brain. The small, taunting voice returns, choking daydreams into nightmares. You do remember, don’t you, Rafa?

He does.

The silhouette is unmistakable.

Patent-leather men with patent-leather souls.

The Guardia Civil. He secretly calls them the Crows. They are servants of Generalísimo Franco and they have appeared on the street.

“Please. Not here,” whispers Rafael from his hiding spot beneath the trees.

The wail of a toddler echoes above. He looks up and sees Julia at the open window, holding their youngest sister, Ana.

Their father’s voice booms from inside. “Julia, close the window! Lock the door and wait for your mother. Where is Rafa?”

“Here, Papá,” whispers Rafael, his small legs folded in hiding. “I’m right here.”

His father appears at the door. The Crows appear at the curb.

The shot rings out. A flash explodes. Julia screams from above.

Rafa’s body freezes. No breath. No air.




They drag his father’s limp corpse by an arm.


It’s too late. As the cry leaves his throat, Rafa realizes. He’s given himself away.

A pair of eyes dart. “His boy’s behind the tree. Grab him.”

Rafa blinks, blocking the painful memories, hiding his collapsed heart beneath a smile.

Buenos días, señora. How may I help you?” he asks the customer.


“Sí, señora.”

Give them their blood.

For more than twenty years, Spain has given blood. And sometimes Rafa wonders — what is left to give?

Customer Reviews

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Stream Title 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
AshleyBartley111 8 days ago
Back in 2016 I attended my first book convention and got to meet Ruta Sepetys. She was handing out and signing copies of "Salt to the Sea" and my friends were all lined up to meet her. When it was my turn, I admitted that I had never read any of her books, but that due to my friends' excitement, I couldn't wait to do so. Three years later and I own and treasure all of her books! "Fountains of Silence" did not disappoint. Her writing made the detailed setting of Spain and the rich history come alive. Having an American education, I was not familiar with the Franco Regime, but this novel really brought to light how terrible of a time this was for the country. I definitely fell in love with the main characters, but there were others that I did not have well wishes for. This was yet another book that I could not put down and I might even make my book club read it!
Anonymous 5 days ago
this book was a cliche love story and is confusing at some parts. While youre reading, you could honestly remove the setting of Spain and it would still be the same story. Currently, im in the middle of the book and im quite bored.
Anonymous 9 days ago
every part of this story touched my heart and gave me so many emotions! Ruta did an amazing job blending history and a fictional familys struggle through the oppression of a dictator.
heidifk 12 days ago
I was absolutely captivated by this collision of secrets, history and love. The audiobook was unbeatable; an engaging narrator and news reports, journals, etc. narrated by others really added an extra touch. This is one of the only stories I've ever finished and immediately wanted to start reading again. The story centers around a young American, Daniel, on a trip to Madrid in the late 1950s. While his parents are in Spain for business, Daniel is a budding photographer who wants to capture photos that will win him a prize and enough money to get himself into a journalism program. Then, he meets Ana, a young Spanish woman who works at the hotel he's staying at, and he sees life in Spain through a completely different lens.
Brooke Allen 16 days ago
The Fountains of Silence is an excellent book that takes place during Franco's Spain. There is so much that is unknown about this time period in Spain that, in addition to this being entertaining, it is also important for people to know about. Especially since, for so long, Spain lived under this "pact of forgetting" and the people that actually lived through this time period (this was set in the 1950s) are getting older. Daniel is the son of an oil tycoon from Texas. Ana is a maid at the hotel he's staying in. Daniel's dad wants him to go into oil with him, but Daniel would rather be a photographer. While Daniel's family is in Spain, Daniel grows close to Ana, and learns more about the Spanish culture than the average tourist... perhaps a little more than is safe. There are some heartbreaking parts in this book, but Spain during this time period was full of heartbreak. I love how Ruta Sepetys combines real history with a compelling story. The story came to a clever and satisfying end to. I highly recommend it.
readerjwilson 21 days ago
This is the first book that I have read by Ruta Sepetys. This book is set in the 1950's Spain, shortly after the Spanish Civil War, and during Francisco Franco's dictatorship. It tells the story of Ana and her family, who are trying to survive, having lost their parents, because their beliefs were different from Franco's. It also tells the story of an American photographer, Daniel Matheson. He is in Madrid, with his parents. He hopes that the pictures he will capture in Spain will help him win a photography contest, so he can go to photojournalism school, and avoid the school his father wants him to attend. But what he captures with his camera, and what he finds in Madrid that summer are more than just pictures to win a contest. This story is told in several different points of view. Ana, her brother Rafa, her sister Julia, her cousin Puri, and Daniel. Normally so not like a story that has so many different view points. I fell that it makes a story too confusing. But with this story, and the way that the author writes the characters, I feel that it helps to tell this story. With each characters point of view, you learn important parts of the story, and it brings everything together very well. I feel that this story flows well, and it does keep you interested. The author give a very realistic take on this period in Spanish history. There were things that were told, that I had no idea happened in Spain. I really enjoyed the little bit of historical facts that were given throughout the book. I learned things that I did not know about before. One thing in this book that I did not really like was that the author would switch so frequently from Spanish to English, having to translate the words the characters were saying. And even when the characters were only speaking in Spanish, it would have a phrase or two in Spanish, then translate it to English. It made it a little confusing at points, but did not take away from the story. I would definitely recommend this story if you are a fan of historical fiction. This story will pull at your heartstrings, with the way the Spanish people were treated, and everything that they had to deal with during Franco's dictatorship, and everything that the characters had to go through, throughout the book.
gntlmcn 21 days ago
5/5 stars. I was given an ARC of this book in exchange of an honest review. The plot was actually amazingly developed and I was quite surprised to see that since it’s an ARC. There were a few issues with holes in the plot or characters or setting but not too much that it’d effect my rating. Wow. The character development was fabulous. Every single character that was in this book developed phenomenally in one way or another. The ending has me wondering something though. Sequel? Probably not. But the reason I’m wondering is because there were a few unanswered questions. Mainly though, because it seemed to hint that there may be one in the future. Haha I’m not sure. Anyways, I loved this book and am so grateful that I was able to receive a copy.
Bibliomatter 21 days ago
Ruta Sepetys is one of my all time favorite authors, so I've been highly anticipating the release of this book since it was announced. I absolutely adore how she focuses on historical events/social issues of the time and presents them in a way that's interesting to a wide audience. Of course, The Fountains of Silence did just that. This time, we've been taken back to Madrid of the past. Without spoiling anything, I would like to admit that I was ignorant of a lot of the issues she brings to light in this book. I think this book would be a great addition to any school's library. So little is taught of these important issues via the public education system. Sepetys' books are really eye opening and a pleasure to read.
judgie39 21 days ago
Every time Ruta Sepetys announces she is working on a new novel I get extremely excited and this time it was no different. The Fountains of Silence transports the reader back in time to Francoian Spain, Madrid to be exact. Sepetys paints a picture of an idyllic Spain through an American's eyes, while also embracing the challenges Spain and its' citizens were going through at the time. The characters are honest and real, full of dreams of bettering their lives, while keeping secrets hidden to protect themselves. True to her style, Sepetys takes well-known historical events and finds the lesser talked about stories in them. Her novel topics are well researched and honest. The Fountains of Silence is no different. A must read!
Anonymous 21 days ago
I thoroughly enjoyed Between Shades of Grey and Salt to the Sea. In fact they are two of the novels I most often recommend, so I had high expectations for the latest book by Ruta Sepetys. I'm happy to say it met them. Like those other two books, this one sheds a light on a hidden part of history, but it does so more gradually. Like in Salt to the Sea, there were multiple narrators. I felt they were all necessary for the telling of this story, and I liked them all, though initially I found one less sympathetic than the others. The danger the characters faced here was not as overt as in the other books, but there was a tension, a sense of it lingering in the air. And while I'd describe the other two novels as being about a struggle to survive, I'd describe this one as being about a struggle to live, for what kind of life is it if you can't ask questions or even hope for anything better? I enjoyed this and have already recommended it. I'm thankful for the early read from BookishFirst, and I liked it so much that I've purchased the hardback.
kmg7777 21 days ago
The Fountains of Silence is a haunting and beautiful story about young people in Spain during the fascist years of Francisco Franco. I love that Ruta Sepetys has taken a subject rarely covered in historical fiction and made it come alive by telling the story through the eyes of Ana, her brother Rafa, their cousin Puri and American Daniel Matheson, a son of a Spanish mother and an oil magnate father from Texas. She manages to create both a desperate and hopeful picture of the future from the eyes of people that suffered under the dictatorship of Franco, and give you the perspective of an outsider that walks in ignorant but through his love of storytelling through photography and his feelings for Ana begins to understand just how different the world can be from his comfortable upbringing. In addition to telling the story of repression during Franco's reign it also delves into the shameful history of stealing babies from the poor and the "Reds" during this time. These characters are thoroughly likeable, the storytelling is fantastic and the knowledge gained is unforgettable.
OldEnoughForFairytales 21 days ago
Ruta Sepetys does is again with her beautiful new book, Fountains of Silence. What I love about Ruta’s works is that she ALWAYS brings to light previously untold stories in a thoughtful, engaging way. This book was no different. Fountains of Silence, set in Franco-era Spain, tells the story of Daniel, a wealthy American spending the summer in Spain with his family, and Ana, a girl Daniel’s age who serves his family at the hotel during the summer. Using their stories and real documents from US politicians, Ruta expertly crafts her story by flawlessly weaving together historical documents with the lives of her fictional characters. This combination makes for a truly not-put-downable work of art! On a personal note, I can’t wait to see how many awards this book wins. It’s her best yet without a doubt.
Dhammelef 21 days ago
This is my first book by this author and it won't be my last. The writing style is lyrical and sprinkled expertly with historical facts and Spanish vocabulary, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed as I learned about a historical time and place I knew nothing about until reading this novel, and the Spanish words were easy to interpret contextually. The author's research notes showed me the in-depth look she took into this time and place, even visiting and interviewing people at the hotel and meeting people who lived during the dictatorship. The characters are ones I fell in love with and they popped out of history and became real. The friendships, family drama, romance, social struggles, and cultural differences between Americans and Spaniards made this a favorite book of 2019 for me.
madeline934 21 days ago
Ruta Sepetys is one of those authors that I will automatically read their new books because of how much I love their previous work. In The Fountains of Silence I loved reading about a different part of history that she hadn't written about before. I find myself not only reading a beautiful story with characters you can't help but root for, but also learning things about a lesser known time in history. I liked the differences in Daniel and Ana's perspectives. It was really cool to see Spain from the eyes of a person who has never been there, but also from the eyes of someone who has spent her whole life there. And of course the secondary characters make the book shine with their stories. I look forward to future releases by this author.
allshewrote 22 days ago
A History Lesson You Didn't Know You Wanted to Learn! The Spain of 1957, as captured through the lens of Texan, Daniel Matheson’s camera doesn’t tell the whole story. Under the oppressive dictatorship of Francisco Franco, the Spanish people struggle to keep a roof over their heads and food in the mouths of their families. Daniel sees it in the pained look on his mother’s face. This is not the Spain she remembers from her youth. Franco’s military, The Guardia Civil, ruthlessly patrol the streets and Daniel’s photographic curiosity has already resulted in one unpleasant run in with them. His fluent Spanish might not be enough to smooth over his next one. But, if Daniel can use his camera, a recent high school graduation gift, to build a portfolio worthy of admission to a journalism school, he can pursue his dream as a photographer and leave behind that of his father, as heir to the family oil fortune. Ana dreams of the life depicted in the glossy pages of the magazines on the coffee tables of the hotel suites in the American hotel where she works. Ana’s parents did not survive the Spanish Civil War, and as children of the disgraced Republican Party, Ana and her siblings live as outcasts in poverty and fear. Julia, Ana’s sister, warns her about her futile dreams and getting too friendly with the hotel guests. Ana’s wages make up a disproportionate amount of the family’s wages. They cannot afford for her to lose her job. When the hotel assigns Ana to Daniel’s family’s suite, as the worker to oversee their day to day needs, Daniel has the chance to view the streets through Ana’s insider’s point of view. If he can just persuade her to write the captions that will accompany his images, he will have the missing piece to the puzzle for his portfolio. However, Spain has secrets that she holds close and so does Ana. Can Daniel convince her that his intentions are noble ones? Can Ana trust him? Will their growing connection cost Ana her job and her family their future? Will Daniel’s drive to get the perfect shot get him thrown in a Spanish Prison, or worse? Ruta Sepetys presents a tale that is meticulously researched and thoughtfully and compellingly told. “The Fountains of Silence” is a tale of hope and the important part it plays in seeing people through periods of struggle and hardship. Ana and Daniel are relatable and relevant characters through which Sepetys explores the themes of feminism, privilege, politics and religion. At the root of this beautifully told story is an important history lesson that reads like a movie put to a page. Sepetys has once again delivered a novel that will keep readers of all ages reading until late into the night and Googling the places and historical points learned about the next morning.
Kaitie-Maday 22 days ago
Disclaimer: I was given an advance reader copy from Penguin Teen via Bookish First in exchange for an honest review. I found The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys to be completely enthralling and I couldn't put it down. I did find it a bit hard to follow at first due to the constant changing point of view and short chapters but I quickly found the rhythm of the story. I did not know very much about Spain under Franco's rule and the aftermath of the Spanish civil war, so it gave me a very minimal glimpse into that history and has made me want to learn more. I did find the culture shock that Daniel, an American teen visiting Spain, experienced to be eye-opening because there are freedoms that are often taken for granted.
VolunteerVal 22 days ago
The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys is a very atmospheric historical fiction novel which immerses readers in the tensions of 1950s Madrid, Spain under the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco. The author conducted a tremendous amount of research to craft this story, but the history is a natural component of the plot. Since the novel is Young Adult, the primary characters are teens and young adults who face serious issues including poverty, corruption, and abandonment. There are many characters, but I had no issue tracking them. The short chapters propel the reader through this 500-page novel. Readers unfamiliar with the Spanish language should consult the helpful glossary contained in the book. This title will get much attention since it’s a Book of the Month pick for October 2019. I hope many readers appreciate the story of Daniel and Ana and their families as much as I did. Thank you to BookishFirst and Penguin Random House for an ARC of the novel.
rendezvous_with_reading 22 days ago
A Snapshot in Spain's History This novel took me to a time and place in history I knew very little about. When WW2 ended, dictators like Hitler and  Mussolini were toppled, but Franco remained in power in Spain until his death in 1975. The author gives us a peek at life under Franco's reign of fear and oppression brilliantly told through the eyes of four young people. Daniel is an American pursuing a future in photojournalism, visiting Madrid with his parents. At first glance, the Madrid of the 1950's seems to be a playground for American businessmen and tourists, but Daniel starts to see a darker side of Madrid thru his camera lens. When Daniel meets Ana, a hotel housekeeper, he becomes very aware of the limitations placed on the average citizen. The other perspectives are supplied by Ana's brother Rafael, who is helping a friend to become a bullfighter to escape poverty, and by Ana's cousin Puri, who works in one of Madrid's overflowing orphanages. At first, I had trouble keeping the characters and their relationships to each other straight, so I made a few notes to help me, but I found this issue to be short lived as I was quickly pulled into the plot. I love how the author uses multiple characters to give us a well rounded view of this period in time. Reading about multiple characters' thoughts and plights, made me feel deeply immersed and involved in their lives. It stirred my compassion and kept me on the edge of my seat. I found the history covered to be so relevant for today, as we see human compassion struggling against nationalism. The author doesn't gloss over the hypocrisy in the history covered, but she lets the reader exercise their own judgment of the matter and there is much to contemplate. This is a novel not to be missed!
Anonymous 22 days ago
I loved this book! I love the setting and time period so much. My family just started planning a vacation to Spain for next summer and this book definitely got me super excited for it! Ruta Sepetys' writing is fantastic. Every character is so well-developed, every atmosphere is so well-described. The story really captures what a difficult time it was for the country and it's citizens. This book will pull at your heartstrings; the emotional strength of this book was beyond words. I've been thinking about this book long after I was done reading it. The writing truly immerses the reader into the world as we follow along with Daniel and Ana, our main characters. I would highly recommend this to my reader friends, even those who don't always enjoy historical fiction!
Kwpat 22 days ago
This is the second book by Ruta Sepetys that I have read. This book was complex set in Franco’s Spain. Daniel’s father has brought him and his Spanish mother to Spain so Daniel’s father can pursue the oil business that Franco is opening up for American businesses. Daniel is wanting to pursue a career as a photo journalist instead of the career that his father wants him to pursue in the oil business. Ana works in the hotel and is assigned to take care of the needs of Daniel’s family. She wants the American Life that is shown in the American magazines in the hotel. She helps Daniel by going with him to take photos that tell a story for his portfolio. Through both Daniel’s and Ana’s story we see the pursuit to overcome the roadblocks to achieve their dreams while learning about Franco’s oppressive Spain, Ruta Sepetys does not disappoint. I leaned so much about Spain during this time period and fell in love with Daniel and Ana. Thank you Bookish First and Philomena Books for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.