14 Fictional Works Worth Reading Before Visiting The Canary Islands

Ajuy Bach, Fuenteventura, The Canary Islands

Ajuy Beach, Fuenteventura

The Canary Islands have, it would seem, always been popular with a certain type of British tourist if I am to believe everything I see on the TV and read in the newspapers.  So when family members suggested a winter sunshine break to the Spanish archipelago, to say that we were reluctant would be a bit of an understatement. 

The thought of spending a week or two surrounded by individuals only interested in getting drunk-in-the-sun whilst gorging on English fry-ups and asking for a side order of chips with every meal fills us with dread.  However, because we wanted to spend time with family we begrudgingly agreed to go hoping that all our preconceived ideas would be thwarted once we reached the islands. 

How Wrong Were We?

The Canary Islands are beautiful; each one unique attracting thousands of tourists each year and deserve more diverse press than perhaps they currently get.

I get it; sometimes the beauty of an Island does make great news and therefore is overshadowed by the ‘news’ of Brits once again playing up abroad. 

So, if you are like me, perhaps picking up a book or two can provide you with inspiration than any newspaper could.

Sometimes, even the fictional works which loosely base a storyline on a location can inspire wanderlust in a person far more than any editorial piece could.  Perhaps it is the in-depth descriptions that entice people to book a flight – I know for a fact, that I have been known to book a trip off the back of a book I have read. 

Which Books Could Inspire Travel to the Canary Islands?

Unlike some other popular destinations, seeking titles set in the Canary Islands was definitely more difficult.  Below however,  I have found 14 different novels, set on one or more of the Islands that make up the Canary Islands, which would appeal to any reader out there, traveller or not.

More Ketchup Than Salsa, Canary Islands, Spanish Islands,

More Ketchup Than Salsa

#1 More Ketchup than Salsa by Joe Cawley

Featured Island: Tenerife

When Joe and his girlfriend Joy decide to trade in their life on a cold Lancashire fish market to run a bar in the Tenerife sunshine, they anticipate a paradise of sea, sand and siestas. Little did they expect their foreign fantasy to turn out to be about as exotic as a wet Monday morning.

Amidst a host of eccentric locals, homesickness and the occasional cockroach infestation, pint-pulling novices Joe and Joy struggle with the expat culture and learn that, although the skies might be bluer, the grass is definitely not always greener.

An hilarious travelogue exposing the wild and wacky characters of an expat community in a familiar holiday destination, More Ketchup than Salsa is full of humour and is a must-read travel memoir for anybody who has ever dreamed about moving abroad, finding a job overseas or even momentarily flirted with the idea of ‘doing a Shirley Valentine‘ in these trying economic times.

Buy your copy of More Ketchup Than Salsa here.
The Drago Tree, The Canary Islands, The Spanish Islands.

The Drago Tree

#2 The Drago Tree by Isobel Blackthorn

Featured Island: Lanzarote

Haunted by demons past and present, geologist Ann Salter seeks sanctuary on the exotic island of Lanzarote. There she meets charismatic author Richard Parry and indigenous potter Domingo, and together they explore the island.

Ann’s encounters with the island’s hidden treasures becomes a journey deep inside herself as she struggles to understand who she was, who she is, and who she wants to be.

Set against a panoramic backdrop of dramatic island landscapes and Spanish colonial history, The Drago Tree is an intriguing tale of betrayal, conquest and love, in all its forms.

Buy your copy of The Drago Tree here.
Lanzarote, The Canary Islands, The Spanish Islands


#3 Lanzarote by Michel Houellebecq

Featured Island: Lanzarote

Realising that his New Year is probably going to be a disaster, as usual, our narrator, on impulse, walks into a travel agency to book a week in the sun. Sensitive to his limited means and dislike of Muslim countries, the travel agent suggests an island full of 21st century hedonism, set in a bizarre lunar landscape – Lanzarote.

On Lanzarote, one can meet some fascinating human specimens, notably Pam and Barbara – ‘non-exclusive’ German lesbians – who can give rise to some interesting combinations. Will they succeed in seducing Rudi, the police inspector from Luxembourg, currently living in exile in Brussels? Or will he join the ‘Azraelian’ sect, as they prepare for humanity to be regenerated by extra-terrestrials? As for our narrator, will he consider his week’s holiday on the island a success?

Buy your copy of Lanzarote here.
Notes from The Canary Islands, The Canary Islands, The Spanish Islands

Notes from the Canary Islands

#4 Notes From The Canary Islands by Camille Lenning

Featured Island: Various

A narrative of the author’s many travels in these islands off the coast of west Africa, describing eccentric individuals, life, conditions, confronting language barriers and customs, she provides an entertaining, humorous and enlightening picture of these islands.

Buy your copy of Notes From The Canary Islands  here.


Deep Black: Death Wave, The Canary Islands, The Spanish Islands

Deep Black: Death Wave

#5 Deep Black: Death Wave by Stephen Coonts

Featured Island: Various

Deep within the NSA is Desk Three, a top-secret unit of special operatives inserted into the field when the threat is great and the response demands sensitivity and invisibility.  Charlie Dean, Lia DeFrancesca and Ilya Akulinin form the core of a high-tech team known as Deep Black.

Off the coast of Africa lie the beautiful Canary Islands, a resort destination of millionaires. Underneath this idyllic paradise is one of the most volatile fault lines in the world. There, an alliance between radical Islamic terrorists and a rogue element of the Chinese government who are planning to unleash an act of unimaginable geological terrorism that could devastate the U.S. East Coast, striking it with waves up to a thousand feet high.
In the Central Asian Republic of Tajikistan twelve nuclear warheads, stolen by the Russian Mafia, are about to be smuggled out of the country and delivered into the hands of the conspirators. Charlie and Ilya go on an intercept mission, but before they can retrieve them, the weapons vanish.
Meanwhile, in a hotel in New Jersey, a bestselling author is assassinated to prevent the release of his stranger-than-fiction story about an Islamic plot to change the course of history. Lia is sent to Berlin to infiltrate the empire of a ruthless Chinese billionaire whose machinations have come to the attention of the NSA.

Their paths all converge in the Canary Islands. Unless the Deep Black team intervenes, the islands could be the epicenter of an apocalypse.

Buy your copy of Deep Black: Death Wave here.
The Hermit, Crime Novel, The Canary Islands, The Spanish Islands

The Hermit

#6 The Hermit by Thomas Rydhal

Featured Island: Fuenteventura

A car is found crashed on a beach in the Canary Island resort of Fuerteventura. In the trunk is a cardboard box containing the body of a small boy — no one knows his name, and there is no trace of a driver.

The last thing Fuerteventura needs is a murder. The island’s already got half-empty bars and windswept beaches, and the local police are under pressure to cut the investigation short.

But long-time islander Erhard, who sees more than most people, won’t let the investigation drop — and he has nothing to lose. He has severed ties with his wife and child in Denmark and has cut himself off from the modern world.

The question is: can an old man who knows nothing about mobile phones, the internet or social media possibly solve a murder in the modern world, especially one that stretches far beyond the sandy beaches of Fuerteventura?

Buy your copy of The Hermit here.
Grand Canary, The Canary Islands, The Spanish Islands

Grand Canary

#7 Grand Canary by A.J. Cronin

Featured Island: Various

Grand Canary tells the story of Dr. Harvey Leith, an English physician who is wrongfully blamed for the deaths of three patients and leaves his country in disgrace, ultimately finding redemption when thrust into the middle of a yellow fever epidemic in the Canary Islands.

Buy your copy of Grand Canary here.
Following The Rainbow, The Canary Islands, The Spanish Islands

Following The Rainbow

#8 Following the Rainbow by Ben M. Baglio

Featured Island: Various

Jody McGrath’s dolphin dreams are coming true! Her whole family is sailing around the world researching dolphis–and Jody is recording all their exciting adventures in her Dolphin Diaries. While visiting the Canary Islands, Jody is thrilled to see the largest dolphin species in the world.

But all is not well in this island paradise. Jody discovers the dolphins are at risk of being injured by speeding ferries that link the islands. Helping these dolphins might prove to be Jody’s biggest challenge yet.

Buy your copy of Following the Rainbow  here.
Tenerife Tall Tales, The Canary Islands, The Spanish Islands

Tenerife: Tall Tales

#9 Tenerife: Tall Tales by Tony Thorne

Featured Island: Tenerife

This first collection, in a trilogy of speculative stories is set on, around, and even under, the magical Canary Island of Tenerife. It has an introduction by the legendary American author, Harry Harrison.

The 17 quirky tales include – Black Hole, Smaller than Life, Evolution, Hologhosts, and Long Term Survival.

Buy your copy of Tenerife: Tall Tales here.
Canary Island Song, The Canary Islands, the Spanish Islands

Canary Island Song

#10 Canary Island Song by Robin Jones Gunn

Featured Island: Various

When Carolyn’s grown daughter tells her she needs to “get a life,” Carolyn decides it’s time to step out of her familiar routine as a single woman in San Francisco and escape to her mother’s home in the Canary Islands. Since Carolyn’s mother is celebrating her seventieth birthday, the timing of Carolyn’s visit makes for a perfect surprise.

The surprise, however, is on Carolyn when she sees Bryan Spencer, her high school summer love. It’s been seven years since Carolyn lost her husband, but ever since that tragic day, her life has grown smaller and closed in. The time has come for Carolyn to get her heart back. It takes the gentle affection of her mother and aunts, as well as the ministering beauty and song of the islands to draw Carolyn into the fullness of life.

Buy your copy of Canary Island Song here.
Under Suspicion, The Canary Islands, The Spanish Islands

Under Suspicion

#11 Under Suspicion by The Mulgray Twins

Featured Island: Tenerife

When a Customs and Revenues Officer on the brink of exposing a huge money-laundering outfit is murdered in Tenerife, there is only one team capable of ensuring Operation Canary Creepers continuance and success.

DJ Smith must use all of her cunning and experience to trap the devious Ambrose Vanheusen.  Her greatest asset, however, comes in the moth-eaten shape of her Persian cat Gorgonzola, since Vanheusen’s one weakness is his love of the breed.

Going undercover as a PA for Vanheusen’s company ‘Exclusive’, DJ is in charge of organizing excursions for prospective purchasers some are innocently enjoying their holidays, but are others complicit in Vanheusen’s schemes?

Buy your copy of Under Suspicion here.
Too Much Trouble in Paradise, The Canary Islands, The Spanish Islands

Too Much Trouble in Paradise

#12 Too Much Trouble In Paradise by Michelle Betham

Featured Island: Tenerife

Molly Parker is a DWAG – a darts wife and girlfriend. Or rather, she’s an ex-DWAG after divorcing Paul “Bad Lad” Parker, a professional darts player and the self-pronounced Geordie pantomime villain of the sport, after catching him aiming more than his arrows in the direction of more than a few very willing glamour models.

So, leaving her life – and her ex-husband – behind in their native North East of England, she moves to the Canarian island of Tenerife with her best friend Fran, putting the past behind her, determined to start a whole new life abroad.
Within months of arriving on the island she finds herself engaged to her Spanish boyfriend Antonio – a handsome Canarian bar owner – and with their whirlwind wedding just weeks away she’s the happiest she’s been in a long time with a great job at a Timeshare complex, fantastic friends, and a lovely little home in a country she’s fallen completely in love with.

But what Molly didn’t bank on was her ex-husband turning up out of the blue declaring his undying love for her and begging her to come back to him.

His unannounced arrival turns Molly’s new and seemingly perfect life upside down as she suddenly has to face up to feelings she’d thought were long gone, and make decisions she never thought she’d have to make as her whole world is thrown into total confusion.

Does she stay in Tenerife and marry her wonderful, romantic, drop-dead-gorgeous Spanish fiancé? Or does she give the man she’d once loved but who’d treated her so badly another chance?

Buy your copy of Too Much Trouble In Paradise here.
The Winds off Small Isles, The Canary Islands, The Spanish Islands

The Winds off Small Isles

#13 The Wind off the Small Isles by Mary Stewart

Featured Island: Lanzarote

As secretary to the children’s novelist, Cora Gresham, Perdita’s job carries her to the Canary Islands in search of local colour for a new masterpiece, and a peaceful house in which to write it.

But the house is already occupied—once by the past, and the haunting memory of what happened there a century ago; and now by its present owners—very much alive—a famous playwright and his research assistant, Michael.

In the fierce beauty of the volcanic landscape, in the persons of Perdita and Michael, past and present meet, violently. The weird, semi-deserted island of Lanzarote is the scene for the collision which reshapes the lives of the young lovers, as it did a hundred years ago.

Buy your copy of The Wind off the Small Isles here.
A Darker Sky, The Canary Islands, The Spanish Islands

A Darker Sky

#14 A Darker Sky by Mari Jungstedt and Ruben Eliassen

Featured Island: Gran Canaria

As dawn breaks on the Canary Islands, a fishing boat discovers a woman lying dead on the rocks nearby, her body arranged like a piece of art. To solve the case, Chief Inspector Diego Quintana gets unexpected help from Swedish journalist Sara Moberg, who runs the Scandinavian newspaper on the island, as well as from handsome former investigator Kristian Wede. But not even that can stop the killer from striking again.

As the death toll rises, the mood darkens, and Sara and Kristian race to find the killer before another tourist falls prey. But who is the culprit—an island local with a grudge against the tourists, a visitor on the run from trouble in her home country, the womanizing local yoga instructor, or the person they least suspect?

Buy your copy of A Darker Sky here.

Ok, so these novels may be fictional works but even creative storytelling can evoke a desire to visit places that, as yet, are unknown to the reader.

Of course, if you are after more informative books there are plenty of travel guides out there that feature one or more of the Canary Islands along with several websites that can provide you with up-to-date information should you decide to plan a trip.

Have you read any books about the Canary Islands that you would recommend to others?

This article contains affiliate links which means that should you purchase any of the products linked above we do gain a small commission at no extra cost to you.  All products recommended have been tried and tested by ourselves, we would never recommend something we would not be happy with. 


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1 Comment

  • MA says:

    I guess I’m not alone in searching for destination specific fiction before I travel. I cannot tell you how much I love this blog. I really didn’t expect to come up with 14 fictional works related to the canary islands. Thank you!

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