Underrated Novelas

Novelas are such a staple in Latinx culture, and it’s no different in my house. I grew up speaking Spanish, but being in an all English school system I was quickly forgetful of my native tongue. I was determined to recover it and knew that my 7th-grade classes were not going to be sufficient enough so I turned to find a way to surround my day to day life with Spanish.

Side tangent my parents both spoke Spanish and so it could have been way easier for me to learn Spanish by speaking to them, but they both worked long hours and came home late. My parents also were not that fluent in English so translation would also be another roadblock. I knew enough to understand it but speaking and vocabulary building was an issue which is why I turned to what I did.

I turned to music in Spanish which did enhance my vocabulary and pronunciation to some extent but the real aid came in Novelas. Novelas was perfect for me to improve my Spanish, it consisted of multiple videos, real life conversations, and an interesting aspect to keep me intrigued. Soon my mother and I were bonding by watching novelas together, she got a partner to watch novelas with and I got an insight on extra Spanish learning.

From that experience here are the top 3 novelas I’ve watched.

#3 Gran Hotel

Now to start, I am NOT a fan of olden historical types of shows/media. Let’s say history was my least favorite subject in middle school. However, Gran Hotel was something different that even I came to love. This period drama, set in Spain in the early 20th century, features quick-witted Julio, who arrives at a luxury hotel to meet his sister, head chambermaid, Cristina. Upon discovering that she disappeared under suspicious circumstances months earlier, Julio makes it his mission to find her. He takes the guide of a footman ( Andrés) to infiltrate the hotel and start a dangerous investigation into the lives of everyone in the building, from the maids to the wealthy guests. As the investigation continues and he discovers secrets, he lands in the arms of Alicia, the hotel’s beautiful heiress. Alicia’s relationship with penniless Julio puts her on a collision course with her traditional and unforgiving mother.

The mystery in this show was a whirlwind, and the typical love story kept you on your toes every episode. The show hooked audiences in the mysterious disappearance and answers to where Julio’s sister was, and kept my mom hypnotized by the forbidden love story. I was intrigued by the introduction of the cute and comedic relief of Andres. I found him charming and funny and his accent exactly what I wanted.

The novela was 3 seasons long and about less than an hour (45 minutes average) for each episode. It was a good show and had some amazing scenes and dialogue, and the scenery in the show was also beautiful and had me mesmerized

Overall 8/10

#2 El Internado

El Internado was the first novela me and my mother watched it together. Also known as El Internado Laguna Negra, It holds a lot of symbolic and cherished memories to us both.

The novela starts off with two siblings, After losing their parents at sea, they enter an exclusive boarding school. The students soon realize that the school is full of mysteries and secrets. To even BEGIN describing the plot of this novela would probably take me more pages than any college essay I’ve ever written. The novela has so many twists, turns, deaths, uncovered mysteries, and of course love stories. There were stories about a deadly virus, underground organizations, monsters, long lost mother, and son. When I say this show was an absolute rollercoaster it was practically whiplash watching it and I LOVED IT.

Granted this was an older novela so it looks like a novela reminiscent of a homemade movie with grainy and low saturated scenes, but I feel like it only added to the overall theme and aesthetic of the show. It was a dark, gloomy, mysterious place., and the show made you feel like you too were stuck in an oversized blue sweater uniform.

It was a long-running show with 7 seasons, 6–12 episodes all an hour or longer each. Yes, we invested TIME into this show. We used to watch 1–2 episodes a night because we were so invested in the ending, we were emotionally connected to all the characters and this became our biggest downfall. This novela had no issue killing off beloved characters, from younger kids in the cast to people we had watched and become attached to since the first episode only for them to die during the last minutes of the finale. I don’t want to spoil this show because all I can do is highly recommend this novela and is #2 in my heart.

Overall 9/10

#1 Velvet

Velvet will always hold a special place in my heart. Velvet was the last novela I and my mother watched fully together before I left for college and started to work and go to classes full time.

Velvet is a story of a fashion house in Madrid in the late ’50s, which is a scene to money, fashion, drama, entanglements, love, jealousies, plots, counter-plots involving its owners, customers, and residential employees. The main plotline is of the love story of Alberto Márquez, heir of Galerías Velvet, one of the most prestigious fashion houses in the Spain of the late 1950s, and Ana Ribera who works as a seamstress there. We get sub lines of stories for the added drama such as Alberto already being in an arranged marriage, the changing culture of Madrid at the time, and so much more. I mean really, SO much more.

The difference between Velvet and the other novelas I’ve watched that sets it apart from the others was the music. Music played a big role in the novela as certain music only played during certain scenes and let me tell you whoever created the soundtrack deserves an award. I even downloaded the songs from the novela onto my own playlist because it associated with love and comforting feelings.

The next amazing part of this novela was the problems that it tackled. There were themes of same-sex relationships, changing cultural acceptance and audiences to modernization, marriage and relationships, and pregnancy. The themes felt real and made the show even more intriguing. You could feel the tension between characters and that’s what kept me watching throughout the 4 seasons with around 10 episodes in a season around an hour long.

Velvet holds a special place in my heart because it was a novela that and my mother watched together while I was in college. I would come home at least once a month and we would spend our days together watching these novelas. Velvet was something we bonded over and talked about what we thought would happen and who our favorite characters and storylines were.

Overall 100/10

Those were my top 3 novelas! I hope they were and still are enjoyed by many more people to come. I would recommend all of these to everyone even non-Spanish speakers and just add those subtitles! Great stories and production and I hope to add on to my list very soon.



Just a young adult that had bad hand writing so I took my stories digital.

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Just a young adult that had bad hand writing so I took my stories digital.