A Canarian professor has written a book that analyses the role of the Canary Islands in British romantic fiction.
María Isabel González Cruz, Professor of English Philology at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, was investigating English-language literature about the Canaries when a colleague, Laura Vivanco, suggested she focus on the hugely popular romance novels published by Mills & Boon and Harlequin.
The pair found more than 40 titles, dating from 1955 to 2004. “In many cases, the writers came here on holiday and were inspired to write about the islands,” she told Canarias 7. Among them are Lanzarote-set romances by authors such as Sally Wentworth, Margaret Mayo and Lilian Peake.
Most of the novels involve a woman who arrives on the Canaries for work, or to visit family, and who falls in love with a Canarian, a Spaniard or a British man who lives on the island. González Cruz claims that the books sometimes incorporate local legends, and that some have environmental themes.
The books also refer to events such as the 1971 volcanic eruption in La Palmas and the Tenerife air disaster of 1977. Local figures such as César Manrique also appear.
The professor says that many of the novels, especially the earlier ones, contain errors, and that quality varies: “Some are very good, and others are terrible.”
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