The Fountains of Silence
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 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.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 post-war struggles of Spain.

The Fountains of Silence Details

TitleThe Fountains of Silence
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 1st, 2019
PublisherPhilomel Books
ISBN-139780399160318
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Fiction

The Fountains of Silence Review

  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    Ruta Sepetys paints a richly descriptive and historically detailed picture of post war Spain under the fascist dictator, General Franco. It is 1957, and Spain is desperate for money and to facilitate this, is welcoming tourists to the country. 18 year old American Daniel Matheson is staying at a luxury hotel with his family, his father is an oil tycoon looking to make a deal with Franco's regime. Spain is the country of Daniel's mother, and he is looking to explore it, with every intent of looki Ruta Sepetys paints a richly descriptive and historically detailed picture of post war Spain under the fascist dictator, General Franco. It is 1957, and Spain is desperate for money and to facilitate this, is welcoming tourists to the country. 18 year old American Daniel Matheson is staying at a luxury hotel with his family, his father is an oil tycoon looking to make a deal with Franco's regime. Spain is the country of Daniel's mother, and he is looking to explore it, with every intent of looking beneath the official versions of Madrid. Whilst his father wants him to work for the business, Daniel has other ideas, he wants to be a photographer, and has made plans to study photography at college. Ana is the young, bright and beautiful hotel maid charged with looking after the Matheson family and meeting their every need. This is a well researched multilayered story of David and Ana, love, identity, heartbreak, and the walls of silence behind which are hidden the true horrors of Franco's Spain.Rafa, Ana's brother remembers the family, and its tragic past, his parents opposition to Franco and their death. He works hard, although he still goes hungry, at his two jobs at the slaughterhouse and the graveyard, with his friend, Fuga, an intense force of nature, with dreams of becoming a famous bullfighter and protecting the children. Ana's cousin, Puri, works at the Catholic Adoption Centre. Ben is an American journalist who urges David to capture the Spain beyond the official version through the lens of his camera, deploying angles that tell the truth, the varied stories that lay beneath the surface. As David connects with an Ana with her dreams of travelling and escape, she begins to slowly entrust him with the inner secrets of a country where people live in fear and terror. However, she puts at risk her job, love and freedom, she has family responsibilities, a job that is essential in keeping her family going.The stories of the host of characters interconnect to uncover Spain's secret history under Franco, and the fall out from the Spanish Civil War and its repercussions that continued into the 1950s. Sepetys writes with humanity and compassion about this dark historical period, the vast swathe of untold suffering, pain, despair and the tyranny of a repressive regime. This is brilliant immersive historical fiction of a brutal period of history that I have long been fascinated and interested by. This is for those who are interested in this period of Spanish history and those who enjoy well written and informative historical fiction. Highly recommended! Many thanks to Random House Children's for an ARC.
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  • Alex's Reads & Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    Do you realize the lengths I would go to for a copy of this book? I NEED THIS SO BADLY
  • Hannah Greendale
    January 1, 1970
    Congested, sacharrine, and melodramatic.
  • Emily May
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided in exchange for honest review 🇪🇸
  • Nenia ✨ Literary Garbage Can ✨ Campbell
    January 1, 1970
    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest A while back, I read another book called Ruta Sepetys, called OUT OF THE EASY, a work of young adult historical fiction set in 1950s New Orleans. It had the potential to be an interesting book, but the lazy, meandering pace; lack of action; and reliance on an almost entirely character-driven story made for some tough readin'. I hoped that THE FOUNTAINS OF SILENCE, with its intriguing premise of characters struggling to exist under the mil Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest A while back, I read another book called Ruta Sepetys, called OUT OF THE EASY, a work of young adult historical fiction set in 1950s New Orleans. It had the potential to be an interesting book, but the lazy, meandering pace; lack of action; and reliance on an almost entirely character-driven story made for some tough readin'. I hoped that THE FOUNTAINS OF SILENCE, with its intriguing premise of characters struggling to exist under the militaristic dictatorship of Francisco Franco in Spain might be better. At the very least, it might be more action-packed.I was wrong, on both counts.The slow pacing and character-driven stories seem to be hallmarks of Ruta Sepetys's style, regardless of whether she's writing for an adult or a young adult audience. And even when writing about "edgy" content, like prostitution or stolen babies, her books have an overly clean, sanitized feel reminiscent of Amy Harmon's - only, she isn't the emotional storyteller that Harmon is. It's like these books were put in a juicer and everything pulpy and interesting was extracted, leaving only the inoffensive concentrate behind.There are multiple POVs in this book - another literary technique I'm also not a fan of, which wasn't present in OUT OF THE EASY - which made this book hard to read. One of the advance readers I saw actually ended up not finishing this book because of that, and I'll be honest and admit that I considered doing the same because this book took so long to get into. Daniel is the main character, I would say, even though it takes a while to get to him. His mother is Spanish, but his father is a Texas oil baron, and he's in Spain because his dad's trying to secure a drilling deal with Franco. The other main character, the love interest, is a girl named Ana, who works in the high class hotel, the Castellana Hilton, at which Daniel and his family are staying.Ana's family also gets POVs, primarily her brother, Rafa(el), who wants to be a bullfighter; her married sister, Julia, whose fear at challenging the system makes her more willing to play by the rules; and then Ana's cousin, Puri, who works at a Catholic adoption center with the nuns and is beginning to discover something sinister about the babies being brought into their charge. Their stories intertwine, sometimes in dull ways, sometimes in interesting ways, sometimes in irrelevant ways that feel like they're only there to bulk up the page count. Ana learns desire and rebellion; Daniel learns to confront his own privilege; there's a love story that bends and twists under pressure and strife, but doesn't break; all of this is happening under a fascist yoke, where the Guardia Civil are everywhere, and so are their plants, slowing down the inevitable influence of Western capitalism.I ended up liking this a bit more at the end than I did at the beginning, and obviously, since I made it to the end of this nearly-500-page tome, I ended up feeling invested enough to finish. It was an OK story, but again - it felt sanitized. History is dirty and awful. I didn't really feel like the fear, paranoia, and persecution of the dictatorship was adequately captured here. Even when bad things do happen, they come across as understated. You, as the reader, are utterly numb to the stakes. It's the type of book you might encounter at a book club or bring with you on an airplane, only to leave it behind you on the seat once you've finished. I don't think this is a bad book, but it's definitely not what I want out of historical fiction, and it's cemented my suspicions that Ruta Sepetys is not an author for me.Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!   2.5 to 3 stars
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  • Belkiss Misa
    January 1, 1970
    My body and soul are ready
  • Alicia
    January 1, 1970
    Having had twelve hours to process the book after reading it in the span of twenty-four hours including a car ride (and I don't read in the car because well, motion-sickness, but there are just times where that needs to be overcome), I can now write a review that consists of more than hearts and exclamation points. Picking stories that represent dark times in our global history is likely the easiest part, but deciding to tell it with the emotional strength and depth required can only be trusted Having had twelve hours to process the book after reading it in the span of twenty-four hours including a car ride (and I don't read in the car because well, motion-sickness, but there are just times where that needs to be overcome), I can now write a review that consists of more than hearts and exclamation points. Picking stories that represent dark times in our global history is likely the easiest part, but deciding to tell it with the emotional strength and depth required can only be trusted to a few writers. Sepetys is one of those chosen few, and chosen because three books have already solidified her ability to write historical fiction and this one is equally captivating. Her appeal lies with adults and young adults who want to access the worlds she opens up. In this story, there are four characters who intersect in mesmerizing ways: Spanish brother and sister Ana and Rafa, their cousin Puri, and the American-- Daniel. Their connections unfold in a series of suspenseful, dark, sentimental, and deeply personal ways in and around the Castellana Hilton, a hotel that's a piece of the United States inside Madrid, Spain during the tumultuous and tenuous reign of Generalissimo Franco. The policies and practices that emerge lead to tragedy that Puri begins to uncover while Daniel as an outsider who pines for Ana also discovers additional stories when using the lens of his camera. Everyone has a story to tell. There are characters you'll love to hate and characters you want to fall in love. One thing is for sure, you'll fall in love with Sepetys again. Storytelling is her passion and her purpose. And the power of the story is similar to Doerr's All The Light We Cannot See and Hannah's The Nightingale and the length and span of the story to Julie Berry's newest Lovely War. Whether readers are understanding the importance of dress for a bullfighter or poverty in Vallecas. I had no problem following the array of characters because they are all instrumental, even as the book moves forward in time and new secrets emerge, I would have gladly welcomed more. It's the nuanced relationships and evocative time period that teach us about humanity. The setting creates is own set of problems and character so anyone who has visited will easily recognize it while those who haven't (me) can understand through Sepetys' choices what we didn't experience firsthand. She's a guide for epic stories of love and loss, politics and economics. The human toll of dictatorship. The secrets and the danger of secrecy. There was a constant pull to uncover and understand, so when Sepetys adds a confessional and power struggles, money and beauty, no one is ever quite certain who to trust but that in that, we can only imagine why even now there a vow of silence as Spain moves on. One thing is for certain: this book is layered. It can be re-read as one of the three books someone would take on a deserted island and never tire of whether I'm staring at the cover or remembering all that unfolded between the pages. It's masterful and a book I will continue to re-live.
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  • Misfit
    January 1, 1970
    I don't normally read YA, but when I was offered an ARC and saw how how popular this author was, I decided to go for it. The setting is 1950s Spain under the rule of General Francisco Franco. The hero, 18 year old Daniel Matheson arrives with his parents as his father conducts whatever business Texas oil tycoons do. They stay at a swanky hotel that is popular with the Hollywood type set. Many famous names are dropped throughout the story - say too many names. Anyway, Daniel meets up with hotel e I don't normally read YA, but when I was offered an ARC and saw how how popular this author was, I decided to go for it. The setting is 1950s Spain under the rule of General Francisco Franco. The hero, 18 year old Daniel Matheson arrives with his parents as his father conducts whatever business Texas oil tycoons do. They stay at a swanky hotel that is popular with the Hollywood type set. Many famous names are dropped throughout the story - say too many names. Anyway, Daniel meets up with hotel employee Ana, and the two have adventure kind of stuff Nd some mysteries about babies to solve. Sorry, but this just took too long to get going, and I was terribly bored until the very last when things were wrapped up. The terribly short chapters with too many point of view was a big distraction for me, and that slowed the story line as well.Sorry, this one just wasn't my cuppa tea.
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  • Bitchin' Reads
    January 1, 1970
    My favorite Ruta Sepetys yet. The last third of it had me sobbing regularly. SOBBING, I SAY. BIG FAT BITTERSWEET TEARS.
  • ♠️ TABI ♠️
    January 1, 1970
    F I N A L L Y and ohhhhhhhhh look at that cover!!
  • Liv (Stories For Coffee)
    January 1, 1970
    Review to come
  • Cecelia
    January 1, 1970
    I found an ARK at my library and checked it out right away. It was everything I hoped for and more. Sepetys books are amazing in every way. Even if you don’t like historical fiction it’s a must read!!!!
  • Sophie
    January 1, 1970
    5 incredible starsWarning: gushing ahead!I am a late bloomer to the Ruta Sepetys bandwagon. I read or rather listened to “Salt to the Sea” around February this year.That story moved me so deeply that Ruta instantly became one of the authors I am vowing to follow in every adventure she goes on. Did the Fountains of Silence live up to my expectation? Totally! Is it another Salt to the Sea? No even if you can find Ruta's trademark in her precise and effortless writing; in her use of multiple point 5 incredible starsWarning: gushing ahead!I am a late bloomer to the Ruta Sepetys bandwagon. I read or rather listened to “Salt to the Sea” around February this year.That story moved me so deeply that Ruta instantly became one of the authors I am vowing to follow in every adventure she goes on. Did the Fountains of Silence live up to my expectation? Totally! Is it another Salt to the Sea? No even if you can find Ruta's trademark in her precise and effortless writing; in her use of multiple point of views and in her passion for history.Ruta has the knack to tell History with a big H through people's stories. THEY make history. She has you walking into her character’s shoes and makes you live history like no history book can do.Once again Ruta centered her story around a particular era of Spain’s history: Franco’s regime. One that was totally overlooked in my classes. One made of tyranny and of silence for the Spaniards. One hiding something that would become a tragedy for many families.Living in Europe our history classes were thorough on many periods and events. World Wars were analyzed in details but none of Ruta's topics came to light. Too sensitive. Too painful at that time.Ruta Sepetys is one of these authors whose writing seems effortless. It is fluid, precise, conveying so many emotions and visuals in few words that none of them seem superfluous but every one is necessary. Her prose is one of the most powerful that I have read. You will find several quotes below as I just want to highlight Ruta’s profound writing. In The Fountains of Silence, the characters are once again built to perfection. By the end of the book you won't want to leave them, wanting more. A glimpse of their future. Like getting a postcard with a few news every Christmas. Imagine: "Hi we got married on the coast in that small church overlooking the sea." "Hi we got our first daughter and she does look like my mother. She is the sweetest baby ever." "Hi...".We follow the lives of Daniel, Ana, Rafa, Fuga, Julia, Puria with Nick and Ben gravitating around them.As I don’t want to spoil your read I will focus on the characters and the very opening of the book.The story begins with Rafa. He is recalling tragic events from the past that cost his parents death. Rafa went through horrible events in his life before getting back to his sisters Julia and Ana. Their parents opposed Franco and in Franco's regime his opponents died and their children suffered. “Today, the young daughter of a journalist was dealt such bestial blows she died choking on her own blood. In many ways, it is the children of our country who will pay for this war—my own included—and for that, I cannot forgive myself.” Rafa works two jobs and he still is hungry. He is working at a slaughterhouse and a graveyard where he works alongside his fierce and untamed friend Fuga.Fuga is a character who won't have many lines in this story but that you won't forget. He has presence. Never have I read about a side characters emanating such oneness. Fuga is intense, savage, he is a storm, he is a bull. What happened to him as a kid is barely hinted at in the book and is horrible. “Sí,” whispers Fuga. “I will emerge from this fire and when I do”— his head snaps to Rafa, wild eyes ablaze—“I’ll burn them all down.” He dreams of fighting bulls and once he’ll be famous he will avenge and protect all the kids. “Resurrection is possible, Huérfano. You fight for the forgotten, the abused, the hungry, and the unwanted. You fight for your one and only friend, just as he fights for you.” The two main characters of the story are Daniel and Ana. Daniel is the son of a Texan oil tycoon come to Spain to seal a deal with Franco.That's when we learn that Spain needed money and opened its borders to tourists, many of them being American and especially Texan. Daniel is quintessentially a good guy. Raised by a Spanish mother he is educated, polite and considerate. His mother did a mighty fine job with her son even if, being from Spain, she never totally fit into Texan’s high society. “It’s difficult navigating two cultures,” she once told him. “I feel like a bookmark wedged between chapters. I live in America, but I am not born of it. I’m Spanish.” Daniel dreams of becoming a photo journalist even if his father wants him to join the family company. Dressed in jeans, belt buckle, boots and plaid shirt he is a far cry from high society men always wearing suits. An encounter with Ben, an American journalist will set a chain of events in action. Ben will be his mentor and will offer unique opportunities to Daniel.  “Ben is right. The perfect word is like the perfect camera angle; it expresses the true nature of the situation. Change the camera position slightly and the picture tells tales.” Daniel chases the truth. Any truth. He will embrace Spain and its secrets like he would a lover. With care, respect and utter dedication. “You’re a photographer, a storyteller. In a dozen pictures, you showed me ten layers of Texas. Choose an angle and show me ten layers of Madrid.” Ana is the hotel maid assigned to his family. Ana is young, smart, kind, beautiful and hiding a secret. Under Franco’s regime women’s freedom was very restricted. Working at the Hilton is living in a totally different world for Ana. It is a dream world for the young woman who wants nothing more than to travel, escape. Ana and her family will be crucial in Ben’s quest for the true story. The one no one speaks about. But helping Ben is dangerous. It could cost her job, her freedom and maybe her heart.You also have Puri, Ana’s cousin. Working at a state orphanage. Dutiful Puri. Troubled Puri.And Nick and Julia and ….  All their lives will mesh and weave a tapestry of secrets, pain, want and hope. I will stop here as this review is already way too long. That’s what happens when I read a book that opened my eyes and touched me deeply. Just ….read it! Last but not least I want to thank Penguin Random House Children for gifting me this copy through Netgalley. I already had preordered the book for months but reading it in advance is a wonderful opportunity! And no it had no influence whatsoever on this very willing and honest review! Have you read Ruta Sepetys books? Do you love historical fiction? What other historical book would you recommend? Thanks for reading! Sophie Find me on:Wordpress: Beware Of The ReaderFacebook: Beware Of The Reader Facebook group : Beware Book Boyfriends Alert Instagram: @bewareofthereader Twitter: @BewareOffReader
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  • Kristen Majkut
    January 1, 1970
    Ruta Sepetys delivers in this incredible historical fiction novel set in Madrid, Spain in the late 1950s during Franco's dictatorship. I lived in Madrid for a semester in college with a Spanish woman who did not speak English. I was transported back in time to the bullfights, the food, the reverence for family, the dizzying heat and of course, the fountains. The subversive use of photography by the main character Daniel captures the fear, the unseen and the forbidden in Franco's Spain. The refer Ruta Sepetys delivers in this incredible historical fiction novel set in Madrid, Spain in the late 1950s during Franco's dictatorship. I lived in Madrid for a semester in college with a Spanish woman who did not speak English. I was transported back in time to the bullfights, the food, the reverence for family, the dizzying heat and of course, the fountains. The subversive use of photography by the main character Daniel captures the fear, the unseen and the forbidden in Franco's Spain. The references to the photo-journalistic works of Robert Capa heightens the story at strategic intervals and keeps the reader guessing what is hiding beneath the facade. I also loved the mentors placed in Daniel's life, both Ben the journalist and Miguel the film store owner. I cannot wait to see what Ruta does next. Bravo Ruta!
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  • Rana
    January 1, 1970
    YASSS! THE HISTORICAL FICTION QUEEN IS BACK WITH A NEW BOOK
  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    In another beautifully written and meticulously researched novel, Ruta Sepetys develops a snapshot of Spain’s history that reveals what life was like under General Franco’s rule. Before reading, I knew absolutely nothing about this part of history, and I had a hard time putting the book down!
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    Stunning. Reviewed in the September/October 2019 issue of the Horn Book
  • Kath
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely stunning.I don’t even have the words to describe how much I loved this book. It’s a must read!
  • Kim
    January 1, 1970
    She’s done it again! Another beautiful piece of work.a time in history that I knew nothing about. I think adult readers will appreciate it more than teens.
  • Tracey
    January 1, 1970
    Another piece of history I knew nothing about. This engrossing tale of life under Franco in Spain will send me to nonfiction to learn more about the Spanish Civil War and after.
  • Amira
    January 1, 1970
    Super good! this book gave me a very interesting point of view on this period of history in Spain and has a beautiful writing style
  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    *I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher and quotes are based on uncorrected text.*"When you discover the truth, you must speak it aloud and help others do the same...Truth breaks the chains of silence." Puri, pg. 474There aren't enough "stars" in the book world to fully assess my love for Ruta's newest novel. She is a master at weaving together a story through the lens of unknown historical contexts that expose the heartache of political, religious, and cultural division, while illum *I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher and quotes are based on uncorrected text.*"When you discover the truth, you must speak it aloud and help others do the same...Truth breaks the chains of silence." Puri, pg. 474There aren't enough "stars" in the book world to fully assess my love for Ruta's newest novel. She is a master at weaving together a story through the lens of unknown historical contexts that expose the heartache of political, religious, and cultural division, while illuminating the courage, loyalty, and resilience of the people who survived circumstances beyond their control. This book is no expectation.The setting was so well defined that I felt as if I was actually at the Castellana Hilton, Madrid Spain, 1957. Daniel and Ana, Rafa, Julia and Antoni0, Puri, Nick, Ben...I needed to know each of them in a more personal way, to know and understand their dreams, their fears, their connections. I could not put the book down, yet did not want the story to end. The author's note, research notes, and source notes highlight the care and respect this author gives to telling the truth, from the "outside in" as best she can. This is a stunning addition to her body of work that you will not want to miss out on!
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    I'm sorry, a historical novel about Spain under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco??? Why did no one tell me about this sooner????
  • Tassa DeSalada
    January 1, 1970
    An eye opener into social consequences of living in a fascist regime.
  • Arlene
    January 1, 1970
    Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly. Beautiful story. I have a lot to say about this book. I just need time to think of the right words...
  • Hizatul Akmah
    January 1, 1970
    OH MY GOD I NEED THIS NOOOOWWW
  • Brian 9 ¾ ⚡
    January 1, 1970
    OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Anukriti Geekybibliophilictraveller/ kaleidoscopicnerdy
    January 1, 1970
    I would literally sell my soul to read this ASAP. Ruta Septeys is a genius 🙌
  • theravengirl (salmaagroudy)
    January 1, 1970
    look. at. the. COVER! 😍😭
  • CallMeAfterCoffee Breanne Wiesner
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars I really enjoyed this (received a free copy for honest review), like really enjoyed it! It's set about 20 years after the Spanish civil war during Franco's dictatorship. Daniel travels to Spain with his parents and is an aspiring photo journalist, and ends up digging a little deeper into Franco's oppression than most of his American peers. Ana is the daughter of Republican parents and has many secrets that she must keep in order to assure the safety of her family. The characters were 4.5 stars I really enjoyed this (received a free copy for honest review), like really enjoyed it! It's set about 20 years after the Spanish civil war during Franco's dictatorship. Daniel travels to Spain with his parents and is an aspiring photo journalist, and ends up digging a little deeper into Franco's oppression than most of his American peers. Ana is the daughter of Republican parents and has many secrets that she must keep in order to assure the safety of her family. The characters were loveable. So very loveable. The story had great pacing for the majority of the book. The only reason I took off a half star (come on Goodreads, give us some half stars in 2020!), was that it had a trope that wasn't my favourite and I felt like the ending was wrapped up almost a bit too perfectly? But really that's just for MY taste. I think many people would read this and love the ending because it is quite heartwarming!.. Spoilers down here. Stop now if you don't want to see them! ..The trope I mentioned above was to do with "lost time". It's just not one I like, sure I'm glad they got together, but it always makes me sad that they could have had some many more years together. Especially so in this book because they were both so lonely for so long, and they COULD have been together. Also also, I felt like their reunion felt a little too rushed. They had such a steady slow burn to falling for eachother that the moment felt too fast and I didn't get a chance to feel for them as deeply as I could have. But again that's just me, the book really was fantastic and worth a read if you love historical fiction ☺️💕.
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