Author: Ruta Sepetys
To Be Published: October 1, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
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 guise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of a Texas 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 decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.
Ok so first off, I love Sepetys’ books. They’re amazing and she’s one the authors that I will pick up no matter what the book is about. But I’m gonna start with my one criticism that applies to multiple books. The endings frustrate the crap outta me! I’m learning to accept open endings that could go in any direction and could be interpreted and imagined in a myriad of ways. However, with Sepetys’ stories, I want to know more! She always seems to completely draw me into the stories and the characters’ lives and I get so involved and want to know as much as possible, but then she just cuts the story off. It feels like there’s so much more of the story, but she just refuses to give us the info. That is honestly my only criticism and I’ll admit it’s a big one.
However, up until the endings, the stories are all fantastic. This book is no different. The setting is stunning and I now officially want to go to Spain and explore as much as possible. She captures the fear and tension of Franco’s Spain and shows what true fascism looks like. She didn’t pull any punches and I appreciated the history. The characters were all likable and the twists scattered throughout were believable and realistic. I’ll admit that I found this book weeks before the release date at a bookstore and I’m so glad I did! It’s a beautiful book and I recommend it to pretty much everybody!