Read advance reader review of Ellie and the Harpmaker by Hazel Prior

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Ellie and the Harpmaker

by Hazel Prior

Ellie and the Harpmaker by Hazel Prior X
Ellie and the Harpmaker by Hazel Prior
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2019, 336 pages

    Sep 2020, 368 pages


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There are currently 42 member reviews
for Ellie and the Harpmaker
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  • Sue P. (Albuquerque, NM)
    Ellie and the Harpmaker
    Hazel Prior has knocked it out of the park with her debut novel. Perhaps the title should be: Ellie and the HEARTmaker.

    It is a story told with such love, empathy and compassion that still manages to make the characters completely authentic. I felt my own heart swell during the reading and know that this is a book I will revisit.

    Normally, I shy away from anything that could be described as romantic or emotional, but for some reason, when I read the description in BookBrowse, I was intrigued and requested it. I am so glad I did.

    Quite simply, I loved this book.
  • Cynthia C. (Chula Vista, CA)
    A Delightful Read
    I found Ellie and the Harpmaker to be a simply delightful read. I wanted to read it all in one sitting, but life got in the way. You are engaged right from the beginning. The main characters are strongly developed and the writing is very descriptive. For me, the book touched on love, abuse, loneliness, acceptance of one's past and moving ahead to the future, and an appreciation and celebration of our commonalities vs. our differences. Dan and Ellie are 2 very creative individuals, who have had very different backgrounds, yet seem to discover themselves and each other as they enjoy each other's company. You will not be disappointed. I look forward to more books by Hazel Prior.
  • Laurie W. (Sunnyvale, CA)
    Quirky musician meets bored housewife
    Dan, the harpmaker, is an engaging and quirky character that reminds me a little of Forrest Gump. He is extremely earnest, completely devoted to things he loves - making harps, taking nature walks, and making sandwiches to name a few - and rather befuddled by the rest of the world. Ellie the Exmoor Housewife (as Dan calls her) is not quite as likable. She immediately becomes obsessed with the harp given to her by Dan, and I liked her for that. But as one obsession led to another I wanted to tell her to stop doing stupid things. She didn't seem to be able to help herself.

    There were a few twists in the plot along the way to the not-too-surprising ending, Dan and the harps held my interest, and I wanted things to turn out well for Ellie even when I was annoyed with her.

    Recommended for those who like unconventional characters, music, and a bit of romance.
  • Eleanor M. (Sanford, NC)
    Interesting and Impressive Debut Novel
    Dan views the world by those things that are important to him: numbers, nature and harps. Ellie is enchanted with his simpler, yet profound statements about life. You will love Dan's "nature" and "number" language. I laughed and cried as I read this interesting book.
  • Mary D. (Claremont, CA)
    Ellie and the Harpmaker
    I will admit that I requested this book because I am a harpist. There are so many times that we musicians truly cringe when reading something about our instruments, or watching TV commercials 'portraying performers' where the actors clearly know nothing about what they are supposed to be doing! So it was with a bit of trepidation that I started this book. Happily, I am so pleased to say that obviously this author does indeed play harp! The technical side of building the harps was spot on, as were the descriptions of Ellie's lessons. The story itself was quite charming; yes, a love story, but one that starts with a need for self-fulfillment and a very surprising way to fill that need, a need to make music, even on a very small scale. And the sadness and small tragedies that come when that need is neither understood nor accepted by one's partner. This book was an easy read, the characters flawed as we all are with inabilities to accept things we cannot understand, to accept things that are important to our loved ones even though they mean little or nothing to us.
  • Patricia E. (Sugarcreek, OH)
    Intriguing Characters
    Dan and Ellie are characters that readers will remember long after they've finished reading Ellie and the Harpmaker. In many ways Dan is a simple man. He is an excellent harpmaker, loves the Exmoor countryside and is incapable of saying anything other than the truth. Somewhere on the autism spectrum, Dan much prefers nature to people.   

    Ellie is a housewife who takes long walks to fill her time since there's only so much housekeeping and meal preparation one can do for a home without children. When Ellie stumbles upon Dan's harp barn, she is enchanted by both the harps and the craftsman. She arranges to take lessons from Dan's girlfriend but decides to keep her new interest a secret from her practical and frugal husband.

    The story unfolds through the alternating voices of Dan and Ellie as they discover more about their partners and each other. The plot is multi-layered and unpredictable. Some authors have commented that their novels are improved by the inclusion of animals. Prepare to meet Phineas who has a significant role in the climax. Ellie and the Harpmaker is beautifully written and a book I'll recommend to all of my reading friends.
  • Miriam B. (Lakewood Ranch, FL)
    Ellie and the Harpmaker
    I loved Ellie and the Harpmaker by Hazel Prior. It was a lovely story and I came to really care about Ellie and Dan. Dan's outlook on life was so uplifting. The world needs more books like this! I found all the characters believable and their back story helped you understand them and their actions. So glad Ellie stood up for herself and our two main characters got the ending they deserved. I agree- this one is special!

Beyond the Book:
  Exmoor: Now and Then

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