A story of the kidnapped children of Spain

'The Fountains of Silence' by Ruta Sepetys
'The Fountains of Silence' by Ruta Sepetys
Courtesy of publisher

Every week, The Thread checks in with booksellers around the country about their favorite books of the moment. This week, we spoke to Shirley Mullin of Kids Ink Children’s Bookstore in Indianapolis.

Shirley Mullin was entranced by Ruta Sepetys’ last novel, “Salt to the Sea,” which looked at the largest maritime disaster in known history: the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff. The ship sank during World War II, killing as many as 9,000 people.

Septys weaves historical research into her fiction. When “Salt to the Sea” was published, Sepetys was already researching her next book.

“She said she was researching another book about the Franco regime, and his dictatorship in Spain and how he had been stealing babies from poor Spanish women, particularly people who aren’t in support of his politics, and he was selling them for a lot of money,” said Mullin. That research became Sepetys’ new novel, “The Fountains of Silence.”

“It’s really a sad story, but it’s really fascinating because she then takes all this research and puts it into historical fiction — although it has mystery and romance it in also.”

The book follows two families caught up in the kidnapping arrangement: One from Spain and one from Dallas, Texas. “A lot of the babies were sold in the U.S., as recently as 1975 this was happening.”

“I find [Sepetys] fascinating because she uncovers this history we’ve not talked about, and we don’t know about.”

Plus, Mullin said, the book has “an amazing ending that I didn’t see coming at all.”

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