Some years ago, when my husband was working aboard a charter yacht, we spent two happy winters in the Canary Isles and this novel was – eventually – the result. Getting to know the people of those islands, their fascinating history and their at times equivocal relationship with the tourists who flock there in search of winter sun, inspired a short story, then a play called Sardine Burial broadcast on BBC R4, and at last this novel.
Margaret is in her mid thirties, recently divorced, depressed and working in property sales on Tenerife. Only a few weeks earlier, she left wintry Glasgow to make a new life for herself in the sunny Canary Isles. That was the idea at the time, but now she’s not so sure. You take yourself with you wherever you go, and she’s as lonely and unhappy as she ever was.
Luis is a musician and a chef from the nearby island of La Gomera. He plays the guitar and sings traditional songs in the bar where the young property crowd – and Margaret, who feels very out of place – spend their evenings. But he has much more serious dreams and ambitions, until he is brought up short by his unexpected but overwhelming attraction to Margaret.
Orange Blossom Love is a novel about an irresistible mutual attraction followed by an impulsive cross cultural marriage – and what happens after. It’s also a good eBook read for a winter holiday.
‘The musician had begun again,a guitar solo this time, his dark head bent low and lovingly over the instrument, absorbed in it. Margaret found herself watching him. She found her gaze riveted to his wrist and hand as it moved on the guitar, her attention caught by the brown skin, downed with golden hairs, against the pale blue of his jacket, the long, strong fingers moving so surely and confidently.’