In the rolling hills of beautiful Exmoor, there’s a barn. And in that barn, you’ll find Dan. He’s a maker of exquisite harps – but not a great maker of conversation. He’s content in his own company, quietly working and away from social situations that he doesn’t always get right.
But one day, a cherry-socked woman stumbles across his barn and the conversation flows a little more easily than usual. She says her name’s Ellie, a housewife, alone, out on her daily walk and, though she doesn’t say this, she looks sad. He wants to make her feel better, so he gives her one of his harps, made of cherry wood.
And before they know it, this simple act of kindness puts them on the path to friendship, big secrets, pet pheasants and, most importantly, true love.
Ellie and the Harpmaker by Hazel Prior
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was such a unique book, both in subject matter about harps and in the style of writing that brings out an appreciation of the delicate things in life. I’d recommend it to anyone, romance readers and non romance readers alike.
I’m clueless about the harp instrument and I really enjoyed the plot integration as well as the descriptions, say, for example, the resonances of different woods, the way “it could charm and enthrall, it could plead and it could command.”
I also liked the pureness, authenticity, and down to earth tone of the book along with the voice of the characters while in their own distinctive point of view. Though I was initially awaiting for a confirmatory diagnosis, I realized that perhaps the story didn’t start or end here and I appreciated the glimpses and maybe the lack thereof helped to add to the innocent tone and freshness of the story as it’s told.
I would have liked to have seen just a little bit more rationalization, like a bit more pull in one of the relationships, a tad more internal conflict or tension, a reason to justify certain actions. Just a smidge though. Like getting your hair trimmed, just a tiny bit more, but not too much if that makes sense.
It’s a really interesting read overall with bits of poetry at the breaks and poetically written themes throughout which were one of my favorite features. I will look forward to reading more from this author.
FTC disclosure: I would like to thank Penguin Random House for providing me with an advance reader copy via access to the galley for free through the First to Read program.