Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ellie and the Harpmaker” as Want to Read:
Ellie and the Harpmaker
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Ellie and the Harpmaker

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  4,467 ratings  ·  860 reviews
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
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 2nd 2019 by Bantam Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,467 ratings  ·  860 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Ellie and the Harpmaker
Miranda Reads
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Miranda by: Berkley Publishing Group
4.5 stars

"Christina, I'm totally in love," I confided, "With the harp."
It was completely and totally unexpected, but it happened.

One day Ellie wanders down a new path and stumbles upon a wonderfully hidden secret.

A harp maker (Dan) lives in a beautiful old barn where he hand-carves harps of all sizes and shapes.

Dan escaped from the modern world in part because he has troubles in most social situations.

In explicably, he takes a liking to Ellie (in part due to her cherry-red socks) -
Jul 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2020, e-book
Ellie and the Harpmaker by Hazel Prior is a 2019 Bantam Press publication.

Dan, is a Harpmaker who spontaneously gives one of his harps to Ellie, a woman visiting his little out of the way shop one day.

Ellie’s husband, however, insists she return the harp. Instead, she winds up storing it at Dan’s place, scheming behind her husband’s back to visit the harp regularly, secretly learning how to play it. While Ellie and Dan begin developing a friendship, Ellie discovers a shocking secret that wil
Angela M
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it

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 quit
Ellie and the Harpmaker by Hazel Prior, Katharine McEwan, Philip Battley 

From the time I knew that this book was going to be published I looked forward to reading it and I finally had a chance to listen to the audio version of the book, instead. It'd seemed like the type of book I enjoy but instead, I had some issues with it, mainly with the character of Ellie. I didn't care for a lot of the characters but Ellie is the one that matters the most. I feel like meek, submissive Ellie ran roughshod o
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enchanting, sweet, & heartwarming!

ELLIE AND THE HARPMAKER by HAZEL PRIOR is a feel-good, delightful, up-lifting, lighthearted, and lovely story that completely entranced me.

HAZEL PRIOR delivers an engaging, humorous, entertaining, enjoyable and beautifully written tale of music and love here that is told through alternating chapters between Dan and Ellie.

I absolutely loved Dan’s endearing, quirky, fun, innocent & loveable character and thought that he definitely stole the show. He was the highl
Holly  B
Aug 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
3.5 STARs

A cast of quirky characters, with some unexpected and even quite odd turns made this one a unique read for me, although the end was quite predictable.

I'm not a big romance reader so this was a lighter read and definitely a slower paced story than my typical genre. I enjoyed the two main characters Dan and Ellie and their approach to the little joys in life and love for nature and harps of course.

Two lost souls who meet and find friendship and kindness in each other. I may have said,
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ellie and the Harpmaker is such a sweet, feel-good story! I’d also like to visit Exmoor asap!

Deep in the hills of Exmoor, Dan is making harps. He’s not very social and prefers his work to people, anyway.

Ellie stumbles into Dan’s barn one day, and while she looks sad, they have a wonderful conversation, which is not the norm for Dan. He wants to give Ellie something, so he gives her a treasured harp he’s made.

That harp is only the beginning of the story of Ellie and Dan. There’s much more left
Theresa Alan
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 Ell
Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
3.5 stars

Ellie and the Harpmaker is an entertaining, uplifting eccentric escapism with unusual likable characters. There is nothing new to the overall plot of the story. It's all about the tone to the story. The quirky personalities of the characters drew me into the story right from the start. At times their peculiarities seemed a little extreme yet fun.

Hazel Prior creates an oddly charming and enchanting fairy tale feeling story that is full of heart. I loved the warm friendship here between o
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 m
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)

Many thanks to Berkely for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review
”Music helps fill up the holes that people leave behind”

Ellie and the Harpmarker is a great tale of music and love. We follow Ellie and… the harpmaker. Because whoever was in charge of giving this a title doesn’t know what subtlety is. When the harpmaker, Dan, gives Ellie a harp, completely free of charge, I might add, her life is sent snowballing in both good and bad ways. She begins to fall in love with th
Aug 01, 2019 marked it as dnf
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 more substance to it. Having read Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and The Girl He Used to Know within the past year,
Diana | Book of Secrets
Dan is a harpmaker, crafting gorgeous Celtic harps in his barn in the English countryside. Ellie is a housewife who stumbles upon Dan's barn one day. He gives her a harp that matches the color of her socks, giving Ellie's humdrum life a gentle nudge in a different direction.

I love Celtic harp music, so the description of this book pulled me in. I enjoyed Dan's character the most. He was a bit quirky with a unique way of seeing the world. On the other hand I struggled with Ellie's character. She
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-2
This book was a delight, the author’s prose immediately sucking me into the quaint, at times sad narrative of Ellie, a middle-aged Englishwoman stuck in an emotionally abusive marriage, a woman who chances upon a tradesman who builds harps. After being gifted a harp and required by her husband to return it, she’s offered the chance to instead keep it at the harp maker’s house and come to practice it there instead. Dan is neuroatypical, a gifted woodworker, very straightforward, kind and intellig ...more
Mackenzie - PhDiva Books
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-besties
Ellie and the Harpmaker is a lovely, debut novel by Hazel Prior that I found completely enchanting!! I found this book to be completely heartwarming—I loved the way it explored an unconventional love story between two people that from the outside shouldn’t work together. A lonely, emotionally abused housewife and a shy, eccentric, and likely autistic harpmaker befriend each other at a time when their souls need that connection.

Ellie is a bored housewife in an unhappy marriage, living in the bea
Stephanie Anze
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favorites
“People say that certain sounds can melt a heart of stone. If there is anyone who has that sort of a heart―which I doubt (as far as I am aware hearts are made of fibrous materials, fluid sacs and pumping mechanisms)―if anyone does have a heart composed of granite or flint and therefore not at all prone to melting but just conceivably meltable when exposed to very beautiful sounds, then the sounds made by my cherrywood harp, I am confident, would do it. However, I had a feeling the heart of Ellie ...more
5 I love this, very stars

Oh my god.
I was not expecting this when I went diving into this book.

Patty Smith
Many thanks to NetGalley, Berkley Publishing, Penguin Random House Canada, and Hazel Prior for an ARC in exchange for an honest book review of Ellie and the Harpmaker. My thoughts and opinions are 100% my own and independent of receiving an advance copy.


I have a bone to pick. I know you are supposed to be carried away with the romance and root for Ellie and Dan BUT I don’t like it one character is married while falling in love with another. Especially in this
Dale Harcombe
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When Ellie visits the Harp Barn, she is stunned at the beauty of the harps made by the owner Dan. She is even more stunned when Dan gives her one of the harps. She’d always believed herself to be happy with her life with her husband Clive. But that visit and the harp reveals something has been missing in her life. The gift of making music. Suddenly it becomes important to her to continue to learn to play the harp. Ellie is prepared to do anything to continue. Dan is happy making his harps but ha ...more
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ellie Jacobs, out for a walk on the anniversary of the death of her father, stumbles upon Dan's barn. Dan makes exquisite handmade harps, and Ellie reveals that learning to play a harp is on her bucket list. Dan decides to give Ellie a harp, setting off a chain of events that will change their lives for the better and for the worst.
The scenery is described in such a beautiful way that it made me want to take a walk in the woods of Exmoor. I loved Dan, Ellie took a bit more time to warm up to.
Lisa Wolf
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 comp
Amber’s reading
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Connie G
Nov 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
"Ellie and the Harpmaker" is the charming debut novel of Hazel Prior, a professional harpist. Ellie, the wife of a controlling man, comes upon an isolated workshop when she's out walking. She meets Dan who makes beautiful Celtic harps. Ellie has a list of things she wants to do before she turns 40, and learning to play the harp is among her wishes. Although it is not spelled out, Dan seems to have autistic tendencies, feels uncomfortable in social situations, and loves the world of nature.

As the
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Karen, who loves Eleanor Oliphant
Ellie stumbles across a harp maker in Exmoor and they develop a friendship despite hardship and quirks. This was a sweet read and seems to be inspired by real harps and harpmakers and Exmoor as a place!

Dan the harpmaker seems to maybe be on the autism spectrum, but it is never defined. The romance is definitely a slow and obtuse one but this may be the mood you are in.

This came out August 6 and I had a review copy from the publisher through netgalley but I got behind. This is a cozy read that w
A single word kept going through my head while I was reading this book. That word was lyrical and it really had nothing to do with the poetry Ellie wrote or the music created by the harp. It was the beautifully descriptive writing. I loved the way the author described how the two main characters experienced the world around them. Dan's simple outlook on life and his appreciation of the world around him was mesmerizing and a joy to  read. When he took his walks through Exmoor I felt like I was th ...more
talon smith
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
“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 rea
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: giveaways
I received a copy of this in a Goodreads giveaway and it has not affected my review.

I was excited to read this book but unfortunately it turned out to be very, VERY Not For Me.

Things I liked:

the harps!

the pheasant (and he's a very striking image so I'm glad that the cover has been updated to show him, even if the musician in me enjoyed seeing a music stand, and that gorgeous teal background, on the original cover)

Things that didn't work for me:

Characters who range from unpleasant to outright vil
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I don't read romances because I don't enjoy reading all the sappy love-ish things that always seem to come with them. But this book. This book is all about the leading up to a romantic relationship (sans sappy love stuff) that doesn't seem like it could happen at all and I really enjoyed it. The cover with the pheasant perfectly sets the tone for the book of simple and pure, light and honest. The characters were excellently drawn, although I didn't always like the MC's actions with her husband a ...more
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: auth-f, x2019-read
3.5 stars. Two people come together over harps. Ellie, seemingly happy in her marriage, comes upon Dan, an harp maker, and an unusual person, most probably somewhere on the spectrum. After reluctantly returning a harp that Dan gave to her, she begins teaching herself to play the instrument, and eventually taking lessons with Dan's girlfriend.
The music becomes increasingly important to Ellie, as does Dan, though she does not quite admit to herself, at least for a while, why. Meanwhile, we're show
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Glass House
  • All The Lonely People
  • A Vintage Friendship: the most uplifting and feel-good read for 2021
  • The Cottage of Curiosities (Pengelly Series, Book 2)
  • Aunt Ivy's Cottage (Dune Island, #2)
  • The Silent Treatment
  • The Other Passenger
  • Night Music
  • Secrets at the Last House Before the Sea (Heaven's Cove, #1)
  • The Authenticity Project
  • Happy Families
  • Miss Benson's Beetle
  • The Mystery of Montague House: A British cozy murder mystery (Summer & Wynter Mysteries Book 1)
  • The Saturday Morning Park Run
  • The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett
  • The Last Affair
  • A Mrs. Miracle Christmas
  • The Second-Worst Restaurant in France (Paul Stuart #2)
See similar books…
Hazel Prior is the author of ELLIE AND THE HARP MAKER and AWAY WITH THE PENGUINS (UK title)/HOW THE PENGUINS SAVED VERONICA (US title). She is also a freelance harpist. She lives in Exmoor, in England, with her husband and a huge, ginger cat.

News & Interviews

Psychological thrillers that will leave your head spinning. Cold cases, detectives hot on a trail, unreliable narrators, and a dash of poison...
149 likes · 86 comments
“People say that certain sounds can melt a heart of stone. If there is anyone who has that sort of a heart―which I doubt (as far as I am aware hearts are made of fibrous materials, fluid sacs and pumping mechanisms)―if anyone does have a heart composed of granite or flint and therefore not at all prone to melting but just conceivably meltable when exposed to very beautiful sounds, then the sounds made by my cherrywood harp, I am confident, would do it. However, 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.” 5 likes
“Under pine trees the forest floor is nothing but old, brown pine needles, thousands and thousands of them. However, if you go to an area where our native deciduous trees are growing—the oaks, ashes, birches, hazels, hawthorns, beeches—then you see that all sorts of things thrive under their branches. There are the magical greens of the mosses and ferns, the bright white of the wood anemones, the acres of shining bluebells in May, the foxgloves in early summer. And every autumn the trees create their own rich carpet of dazzling colors.” 0 likes
More quotes…