The Drago Tree reviews

A Selection of my Favourite Reviews of The Drago Tree

“The Drago Tree is a beautifully crafted, exquisitely written novel brimming with grief and heartiness, pain and joy. Unputdownable from the get-go. The story reminds me of AS Byatt’s classic exploration of the relationships between power and knowledge: as much as Possession is about academic rivalry and obsession, The Drago Tree is about different kind of possession. It is a story of (post) colonial possession, where the invaders continue to vie for owning traditional indigenous knowledges, and where the unique island of Lanzarote serves as a setting for what is a global process of colonial expansion. It is also a story of men’s perceived right to possess women and appropriate their talents; be they writers, such as the main protagonist, who escapes domestic violence only to find herself fighting off a fellow writer’s presumptive ownership over her, on the very island whose culture he sees as just one add-and-stir element to his authorship’s ouvre. The story has all that a good story should have: vibrant characters, a journey of a plot line, a twist at the end. The Drago Tree will take your heart. ” – Jasmina, Goodreads
“Set on Lanzarote, this is a wonderful wonderful book. The descriptive writing is just perfect. I love love loved it and will re-read again and again. Stunning.” – NetGalley reviewer
“The honesty of [protagonist Ann’s] shrewd observations on herself, on the people around her, and on life itself, set The Drago Tree apart from other stories of its ilk. Author Isobel Blackthorn has captured well the intense, raw beauty of this small volcanic idyll. Highly recommended” – Amazon reviewer.
“The Drago Tree [is] an eloquent story that brought Lanzarote to me through its history and the many memorable voices of the island. This book did what I love to experience in my reading – it transported, surprised, and left its mark. A journey well worth taking.” – Amazon reviewer

“This sensitive, introspective story, exquisitely told, takes place on Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands. Ann, a hydrologist, has come to Lanzarote to escape for a few weeks, but even here, finds that there’s no escaping the trauma bubbling up inside. She begins to write, partly as a means to come to terms with the end of a difficult marriage and a troubled relationship with her sister. Together with author friend Richard and local potter, Domingo, she wanders the island’s small villages, beaches, and cliffs, trying to reconcile her past and chart a path for the future.

Ann is unfailingly astute, using her scientist’s acumen to seek clarity where she can. The honesty of her shrewd observations on herself, on the people around her, and on life itself, set the Drago Tree apart from other stories of its ilk. Author Isobel Blackthorn has captured well the intense, raw beauty of this small volcanic idyll. Highly recommended.” – Amazon reviewer

“An ode to both personal endurance and the fragile beauty and sustainability of the natural world. Isobel Blackthorn’s writing is concise, pointed and efficient. It also resonates a subtle emotional content, a mixture of hope and lamentation, an earnest plea for environmental preservation and for the emotional survival of those in transition.” – Goodreads

“The best travel fiction makes you want to jump on a plane straight away and The Drago Tree certainly achieved that for me. Ann’s story of exploration, both external and internal, unfolds at a gentle pace. Her encounters with others on the island of Lanzarote are catalysts for her journey of self-discovery, but the healing she needs comes from the beautiful island itself, and her growing understanding of its history and beauty.” – Rachel, Goodreads

“This sensitive, introspective story, exquisitely told, takes place on Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands. Ann, a hydrologist, has come to Lanzarote to escape for a few weeks, but even here, finds that there’s no escaping the trauma bubbling up inside. She begins to write, partly as a means to come to terms with the end of a difficult marriage and a troubled relationship with her sister. Together with author friend Richard and local potter, Domingo, she wanders the island’s small villages, beaches, and cliffs, trying to reconcile her past and chart a path for the future.

Ann is unfailingly astute, using her scientist’s acumen to seek clarity where she can. The honesty of her shrewd observations on herself, on the people around her, and on life itself, set the Drago Tree apart from other stories of its ilk. Author Isobel Blackthorn has captured well the intense, raw beauty of this small volcanic idyll. Highly recommended.” – Linda, Amazon reviewer

“I had not heard of the island of Lanzarote before I picked up this book but I was transported to a place both fragile and enduring. Ann Salter goes there to escape her life. She is also a bit fragile. She falls in love with the island and draws strength from its landscapes. Beautifully written this book gets to the heart of the woman and the island.” – Kathryn, Trip Fiction

“I liked this book a lot. I was very impressed by the ever present and universal relevance of the lead character’s personal struggles. This relevance was provided by the context. The novel is an ode to both personal endurance and to the fragile beauty and sustainability of the natural world. In that sense, it is a remarkable work. From the moment the lead character lands in the Canary Islands, the reader realizes that the character’s fragile emotional state is mirrored by the fragility of the beautiful and precious surroundings she now finds herself in. Ann Salter is the lead character, a geologist studying the island of Lanzarote. She attempts to escape her bitter and injured past here. The more this island enables her to do so, the more protective she becomes of the island (detesting tourists who threaten it’s geological and environmental integrity, etc.) For a threat to the island is a threat to her emotional recovery. The reader realizes the link between our personal existential struggles and the struggles of the environment in an age of global warming. If we lose this fight, we lose part of ourselves (maybe even all of ourselves). Isobel Blackthorn’s writing is concise, pointed and efficient. It also resonates a subtle emotional content, a mixture of hope and lamentation, an earnest plea for environmental preservation and for the emotional survival of those in transition. For these reasons, I believe “The Drago Tree” resonates with readers who feel that an indifferent world is closing in on them – figuratively and literally.” – Goodreads reviewer

“It’s impossible to pigeon hole The Drago Tree, which is fine, but it makes it hard to review. It isn’t a love story, it isn’t a thriller, a mystery or a guide book. But it would make an exceptional movie, and provide some marvellous roles for the lead characters.

If you’re a lover of Lanzarote, particularly the north of the island, you’ll enjoy the book. It will certainly put you “mentally” here. And if you enjoy getting under the skin of some interesting characters, then it’s one for you.

I’m left with the feeling that the book was written as much for the author as it was for the reader, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’m curious to know how biographical it is – I suspect there is plenty of Isobel in Ann, and I may even have an inkling as to who Domingo and Richard are based on.” – Miguel, Lanzarote Information

“The Drago Tree by Isobel Blackthorn is a story of self-discovery and understanding oneself and life. The story is mainly about Ann, along with two other characters, Domingo and Richard, who teach her different things about herself and life. Ann runs away from an abusive husband and travels to the exotic island of Lanzarote, a Spanish-speaking island off the coast of Morocco. Personally, I had never heard of it but having read this book, I fell in love with it. The Drago Tree is a beautiful example of travel literature, as Blackthorn gives the reader exquisite detail about the setting and the country.

The Drago Tree is full of stunning imagery, quotes, lines and setting. The pace is very slow; however, the book is an experience in of itself.

The overall description, whether for characters, emotions or setting, was done very well. If Blackthorn ever decides to give writing courses, I’ll be the first to sign up. The narrative is simply brilliant.” – Nadanessinmotion Book blog

“The Drago Tree, the name and the cover appealed from the start, and then from the first page, I was in love with the beautiful prose, the elegantly constructed sentences, which promised an intelligent and insightful story, sensitively told.

I was not disappointed.

The novel is set on the island of Lanzarote, brought to life by an author who knows it intimately. With confidence, she lavishes poetic descriptions of its unique landscape, placing you there; making you feel, see and fall in love with the place.

For example, the character Ann sees from her car window: “Several calderas pimpled the land to the south-west. The lava plain, to the south of her now, rose to meet its mother, La Corona, a monolith of black in the fading light.”

The author applies her talent for intricate detail to her characters as well. The trio we focus upon are complex, flawed, vulnerable…

It is Ann’s journey we follow, and I really enjoyed the snippets of her past that were revealed to us, providing intriguing, and at times, disturbing encounters with her sister.

The island’s past and history is also heavily featured; and I could not help but champion and understand Ann’s sympathy for an island ravished by tourists, its past and culture presented in superficial and sensational ways to serve as a diversion to the damage being done to natural habitats.

Through Ann we are able to connect with what is natural, meaningful and raw – she is despite her troubled and haunting past, an idealist, an artist – a cloud catcher!

I found it a delightful and enjoyable read… the believable relationships explored in the novel developed, expanded and evolved swiftly, adding sprinkles of romance and mystery to an inner journey taking place in an exotic location.

I recommend this novel if you like superb writing and reading a novel that has something meaningful to say about people, places and life.” – Michelle Saftich, Goodreads