Ellie and the Harpmaker: Book summary and reviews of Ellie and the Harpmaker by Hazel Prior

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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  • Publishes in USA 
    Aug 6, 2019
    336 pages
    Genre: Novels

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About this book

Book Summary

A rich, heartwarming and charming debut novel that reminds us that sometimes you find love in the most unexpected places.

Dan Hollis lives a happy, solitary life carving exquisite Celtic harps in his barn in the countryside of the English moors. Here he can be himself, away from social situations that he doesn't always get right or completely understand.

On the anniversary of her beloved father's death, Ellie Jacobs takes a walk in the woods and comes across Dan's barn. She is enchanted by his collection. Dan gives her a harp made of cherrywood to match her cherry socks. He stores it for her, ready for whenever she'd like to take lessons.

Ellie begins visiting Dan almost daily and quickly learns that he isn't like other people. He makes her sandwiches precisely cut into triangles and repeatedly counts the (seventeen) steps of the wooden staircase to the upstairs practice room. Ellie soon realizes Dan isn't just different; in many ways, his world is better, and he gives her a fresh perspective on her own life.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"How I loved this book! An uncommonly lovely story told with elegance, insight, and so much heart. Hazel Prior's brilliant debut will delight." - Kristan Higgins, New York Times bestselling author of Good Luck With That

"A lyrical, almost fairytale-like novel, as resonant and mysterious as a Celtic harp. The novel shines with all the grace and harmony of a handmade instrument, and shows us what can happen when a woman yearning for meaning meets a solitary man dedicated to his craft...and they both decide to open their hearts to possibility." - Juliet Blackwell, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Carousel of Provence

"A melodious and heartwarming debut about love, friendship, and a secret that could change everything. This one is special." - Emily Liebert, USA Today bestselling author of Some Women and Pretty Revenge

The information about Ellie and the Harpmaker shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

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Carol Peacock

A Gem of a Novel
Ellie and the Harpmaker has much to offer. Author Hazel Prior writes in such lyrical prose, her novel sometimes resonates like the chords of a harp. This nuanced story comes alive with vividly drawn characters, a suspenseful plot, and an unexpected outcome. I found Prior's novel had a touch of magic, a story so hauntingly told, it stayed with me long after I'd finished the book.

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.

...37 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Hazel Prior

Hazel Prior is a harpist based in Exmoor, England. Originally from Oxford, she fell in love with the harp as a student and now performs regularly. She's had short stories published in literary magazines, and has won numerous writing competitions in the UK. Ellie and The Harpmaker is her first novel and she is working on her second.

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