soria

The latest addition to my website is Espido Freire‘s Soria Moria. This is the story of well-to-do English families living and working in Tenerife as the beginning of the last century, just prior to World War I. The Hamiltons have three daughters. Two are married but we mainly follow the youngest, the fourteen-year old Dolores. She is friendly with isabella de Betancourt. Isabella’s cousin Scott and his friend, Thomas, recently exiled from Cuba, after the Spanish-American War, are to visit and all four children are invited to the Hamitons’ house in Fuerteventura, along with Lucía Berriel, whom the girls know but do not particularly like. Indeed, once they get there, the girls pick on Lucía, playing tricks on her and the whole incident ends in tragedy. They return to Tenerife, where they are brought together and play at Soria Moria, a Norwegian fairy tale, which has the boys becoming dukes and the girls duchesses. Inevitably this leads to a certain amount of sexual tension and the two girls fall out over their interest in Scott. However, it is 1914 and war will take the boys away. I did not find this novel as convincing as Freire’s earlier ones and the Soria Moria episode in particular seemed somewhat forced and not something that fourteen-fifteen year olds would have indulged in.