A heartfelt and lovely story about finding friendship and love in the unlikeliest of places and with the unlikeliest of people Hazel Prior did a superb job in this debut novel The characters were a pleasure to get to know, especially Dan I loved seeing the world through his eyes It was quite refreshing and I always love reading about characters like him and the special someone that befriends them This book made me want to take walks through the English countryside, eat small sandwiches, and run my hands over the smooth wood of a harp Sadly, only the eating of the sandwiches is possible at this time But thankfully, Hazel Prior s beautifully descriptive writing took me to the Harp Barn in the English countryside and I could envision Dan s beautiful harps I also really loved the ending I was getting extremely anxious as the percentage remaining was counting down The best way I can describe the ending without giving anything away is to say it was understated and elegant This book was a joy to read. DNF I am definitely in the minority it seems, but this book just isn t for me I really tried to give it a go several times , but I honestly just dreaded picking it up each time I did and when I did I only read a few chapters and wanted to call it quits each time I made it 50% through Sadly, I am sure I am part to blame because I was looking for a story that had a little substance to it Having read Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and The Girl He Used to Know within the past year, it really sunk this one To me, those two books are the gold standard on characters that appear on the spectrum In my opinion, this was a very paint by number book on girl who is unhappy with husband but stays and starts to fall for the oddly charming who just so happens to be very good looking guy who is nice to her While this formula can most assuredly work and I cheer for them to work , this just lacked the x factor It failed to move beyond the lines and really move me Add that to the pacing that was on the slow side, I just can t bring myself to finish because I don t really see the benefit.I did really want this to be something special and lots of people agree that it is Unfortunately, it wasn t me.Thank you to Netgalley, Berkley Publishing and Hazel Prior for the opportunity to read this and provide an honest review.Review Date 8 1 19Publication Date 8 6 19 A Rich, Heartwarming And Completely Charming Debut That Reminds Us That Sometimes, You Don T Find Love Love Finds YouDan 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 UnderstandEllie Jacobs Is A Lonely Housewife, Her Days Filled With Walks And Poetry She Writes In Secret One Day, She Comes Across Dan S Barn And Is Enchanted By His Collection Dan Gives Her A Harp Made Of Cherry Wood 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, Drifting Deeper Into His World But When She Accidentally Discovers A Secret, She Must Make A Choice Keep It From Him And Risk Their Friendship, Or Change The Course Of Their Lives Forever Beautifully written This was very atmospheric in the manner of a lyrical journey it almost felt like a fairy tale Ellie, a housewife of Exmoor, wandered into Dan the harp maker s barn one day and they struck up a conversation Dan thought she was a little sad so he gave her a beautiful harp They become fast friends.This story was enchanting and I know it will stay with me a very long time I loved the characters Ellie and Dan I found the writing exquisite in its simplicity.Thanks so very much to Hazel Prior and Edelweiss for an advance copy of this wonderful book The average rating for this book is quite good I am so excited for this ARC received from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review 5 I love this, very starsOh my god I was not expecting this when I went diving into this book. Ellie and the Harpmaker is a sweet, lovely debut novel that crept up on me and then completely entranced me Such a magical and deceptively simple tale.Told through alternating chapters, we get to see the world through Dan and Ellie s eyes Dan is unusual, to say the least He loves his solitude, the peace of Exmoor, the woods and streams and pebbles all around him, and most of all, the hand carved harps that are his passion and his livelihood He view the world and understands interactions completely literally he s presented here as someone who appears to be somewhere on the Asperger s spectrum, although this is never actually stated He functions well, but lacks the ability to interpret many of the social constructs and behaviors that others take for granted.A woman came to the barn today Her hair was the color of walnut wood Her eyes were the color of bracken in October Her socks were the color of cherries, which was noticeable because the rest of her clothes were sad colors.Ellie is an unfulfilled housewife in her 30s, a woman whose father s death has prompted her to make a list of things to do before she s 40 and one of these is to learn to play music When she happens upon the Harp Barn, she s astonished by Dan s workmanship and the beauty of his harps, and is intrigued by Dan himself Dan insists on gifting her with a harp, but Ellie s husband Clive forces her to return it, believing that she misunderstands Dan s intentions But Dan then insists that the harp is and always will be Ellie s, and tells her he ll keep it for her, for her to play whenever she wants.It was her harp, and always would be I never took back a gift The harp would sit here in my barn and wait for her It would sit and wait until all the cows had come home This did not sound like a very long time, so I made it longer The harp would wait, I told her, until the sea dried up which someday it would if you gave it long enough and the stars dropped out of the sky which someday they would if you gave them long enough , but nevertheless this harp would never, ever belong to anyone else.Thus begins a warm and unusual friendship between two people whose paths would likely have never crossed Each adds to the other s life As Ellie gets to know Dan better, she digs into his world and his assumptions about the people in it, opening his eyes to new and different aspects of his life that he d never realized before Being vague here no spoilers Although the book started slowly for me, I was soon swept away by the lovely writing and the wonderful characters At first, I was afraid that Ellie and the Harpmaker would feel too much like a clone of The Rosie Project and other recent reads about people who present with social difficulties and or on the spectrum Not so Very quickly Ellie and the Harpmaker won my heart in its own way, erasing thoughts of comparisons to other books from my mind.Sometimes the ifs work for you and sometimes they work against you Sometimes you think they are working for you whereas in fact they are working against you, and sometimes you think they are working against you whereas in fact they are working for you It is only when you look back that you realize, and you don t always realize even then.I grew to love Dan and Ellie, and felt all the feels as I read about their journeys, alone and together Ellie s marriage is frustrating to read about and I wanted to give her a good shake, but she becomes self aware as the book progresses, and I was proud of her for the realizations she finds along the way Dan is simply lovely a giving, creative, uncomplicated person who only knows how to be good He s really marvelous, and someone I won t soon forget.Please do yourself a favor and read this book Ellie and the Harpmaker is a delicious read that left me hungry for beautiful music and a forest to wander through Review copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley Full review at Bookshelf Fantasies. But something is not right Not at all I would like very much to make it right, but I don t know how I have no idea what a man is supposed to do under these circumstances I am made of the wrong ingredients First things first I love when stories match their covers And with Ellie and the Harpmaker, it fit so well that I went back and stared at it when I finished the story So much simplicity, but so much meaning to the story as a whole I think that is very important in the books that I read.The author s writing in this book was purely lyrical That is the only way I can put it The words and descriptions flowed so nicely together that I wasn t even annoyed that things were being described so much I think had any one else wrote this, I would have grown bored on the second chapter But I really, really enjoyed Hazel Prior s writing.I know that I have touched on this before in my previous reviews, but when stories include a character with a mental illness or a difference from the typical characters we read about I love to see where they go and I love to explore the characters and almost study them in a way Dan was such a wonderful character And with the author giving us his POV, I enjoyed the story as a whole so much When the author explores these types of characters with such delicacy, I am happy and intriguedHowever, I had a feeling the heart of Ellie the Exmoor Housewife was completely lacking in stony components I had a feeling it was made of much softer stuff I love, love, loved Dan and Ellie s friendship I love it There is simply no other way to put it The safety and friendship that Ellie finds in Dan and vice versa, I loved that It was so precious to me.Ellie and the Harpmaker was such a sweet and simple story I absolutely adored the way the author described and wrote so well about how the two main characters experienced the world around them Two different types of people and worlds colliding the way Dan and Ellie s did is one of my favorite things to read about. 3.5 stars rounded up I can t think of any other way to describe this other than what sounds cliche a sweet, charming story with characters I loved, but that is precisely what it is Dan, the harp maker, a little quirky from the beginning, reminds me of Don Tillman from the Rosie Project and subsequent books in that series, and Ellie, the housewife there s something sad and lovely about her Predictable from the beginning, but a few things happened here that I was not expecting Dan, not quite a recluse, makes beautiful harps and Ellie who fills her time with walks in this beautiful setting in the countryside of Exmoor, England comes upon the barn where Dan works and lives After their brief meeting, Dan gives Ellie one of his harps This lovely act of generosity sets in motion a secret kept from Ellie s domineering husband, her harp playing and friendship with Dan Of course secrets kept are only kept for a while and when divulged Ellie s life is changed in ways she didn t imagine Another secret kept by Dan s former girlfriend and Ellie s harp teacher changes Dan s life forever when it is out in the open I m not a big reader of romance and I suppose this could be categorized as that, but this was really a lovely, uplifting story and I need one of those once in a while I have to round up to 4 stars because Dan and Ellie are characters that I will remember.I received an advanced copy of this book from Berkeley through Netgalley. This is a quirky, original novel that reminded me a little of Where d You Go Bernadette and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Like Eleanor, Dan isn t great at reading social cues and gets anxiety talking to people he doesn t know He doesn t care about money, only making harps When Ellie stumbles into his place, she and Dan begin to talk, and she tells him she is a housewife For some reason Dan doesn t understand, she is sad To cheer her up, he gives her a harp.We the readers know that Ellie is sad because she s in an unhappy marriage When she brings the harp home, her jealous husband Clive freaks out Thus, she brings the harp back, but secretly begins taking lessons from what Dan calls his girlfriend Hanging out at the barn with Dan strengthens their friendship.What happens is a relationship based on two good people who have misinterpreted things in life, but you hope that there will be enough understanding to get themselves out of bad relationships and into positive ones Thanks so much to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this novel, which RELEASES AUGUST 6, 2019.
Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Ellie and the Harpmaker book, this is one of the most wanted Hazel Prior author readers around the world.
- 336 pages
- Ellie and the Harpmaker
- Hazel Prior
- 05 January 2019 Hazel Prior