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Ellie and the Harpmaker

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  526 ratings  ·  242 reviews
A rich, heartwarming and completely charming debut that reminds us that sometimes, you don't find love--love finds you.

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.

Ellie Jacobs is a lon
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 6th 2019 by Berkley Publishing (first published May 2nd 2019)
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Somersetlovestoread May I suggest getting the audio version which will also include some beautiful harp music.
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4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  526 ratings  ·  242 reviews

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Miranda Reads
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) - and gifts
Angela M
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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,
5 I love this, very stars

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

✨ A ✨
Jul 03, 2019 marked it as anticipating  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs-to-read
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
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
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“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
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
ARC received courtesy of Berkley Publishing

The novel was a little slow in the beginning with lots of superfluous words choices to over-describe things. But the idea behind an eccentric harp-maker is wonderful. It's a terrific look into how high functioning people on the spectrum live their own kind of normal life even with the way their brains process differently than others. I liked the idea of how their whole deep friendship started with his random act of kindness and started Ellie on a sort o
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dan and Ellie meet by chance and develop an unlikely friendship. A sweet bond develops and their lives take an unexpected turn.

This beautiful debut was so sweet and lovely. The prose is lyrical, the characters quirky, and the story charming. Ellie and the Harpmaker is a simple, light, heartfelt story. I love a good quirky character and this book did not disappoint! I’m impressed by this debut author. She has a distinct writing style that put a magical spin on what would have been an otherwise av
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dan is a harp maker, and when English housewife Ellie stumbles into his studio one day, he spontaneously gifts her with a harp. When she brings it home her scornful husband assures her that she cannot accept it. She does bring it back to Dan, but winds up signing up for harp lessons with his erstwhile girlfriend, Rhoda. I had trouble getting into this book, but once I did, I really enjoyed it, largely because of the quirky, multi-faceted characters. Readers who enjoyed A Man Called Ove might wan ...more
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
This book was the biggest surprise I have had in awhile. I liked the blurb but wasn’t sure if it was a book for me. It was a book for me. It is set in Exmoor which is almost its own character in the book. Dan is a beautiful character and the chapters from his viewpoint were so lyrical and full of heart that you immediately love him. Ellie is a complicated character and my heart broke for her multiple times. I adore Phineas and love that he is on the cover. My only complaint is that I wanted a bi ...more
Don't let the simplicity of this one fool you. It's a very sweet story, at times predictable, but still worth reading. And Dan's construction work on harps is really interesting. Thank you, Netgalley, for this arc.
Stacey A.  Prose and Palate
This was a DNF for me. Half way in and I had to put it down.
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
A wonderful debut novel. Just the right combination of humor and drama. I liked the quirky characters and had a good laugh about silly Phineas. It was a pleasure to read. Thank you Goodreads
for my advance reading copy.
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a gorgeous book. The writing is beautifully descriptive, lyrical even. The characters are very well drawn, and lifelike, and the setting is vivid. I really enjoyed the way that the story was told from two perspectives, and Dan and Ellie both had distinctive voices.

As a harpist myself, it's so great to read a fiction book with correct harp information - thank you Hazel! I play on a clarsach, similar to the harps Dan makes, so the chapters about harps and harp-making were particularly inte
Rachel McMillan
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a lovely, surprising and musical tale. This is a love story not just between two lonely creative souls finding each other and the power of unexpected family, but a love story of nature and art in all of its elusive forms.

Ellie wants so much more than to be Clive's wife. She wants to write poetry and find words to describe the beautiful Exmoor Country around her. She wants to reconcile her future with the loss of her father and her mother's memory the same by finding something that will open
Robin Tobin (On the back porch reading)
I carefully addressed her socks. I told them that I didn't mind if she went away and came back later because sometimes it takes time to make decisions. But whether she came back or not, the harp belonged to her, Ellie Jacobs the Exmoor Housewife. 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 wa ...more
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erica Hough
Jun 03, 2019 rated it liked it
I really liked Ellie and Dan and their relationship. I got Eleanor Oliphant the whole time I was reading. While there was closure, the ending felt very rushed. I wish it had been better developed.
Jul 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, arc, fiction, bt-e-book
Read this review and others on my blog:

Ellie and the Harpmaker by Hazel Prior is the charming story of Dan Hollis, the harp maker, and Ellie Jacobs, the housewife.

Ellie isn’t sure what to expect when she wanders down a long, quiet road, but she isn’t expecting to find a harp seller. Upon walking into the shop, Ellie is completely enamored by the sheer amount of gorgeously created harps.

Dan Hollis is equally enchanted with Ellie. When Dan learns that Ellie desires t
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a beautifully written story of two people who find each other in an unusual way. Dan is a simple man, a harp maker in a barn in the woods of Exmoor. Ellie stumbles upon the barn, lost and looking for direction. Ellie becomes enamored of Celtic harp music, and begins to see hope. I highly recommend this story for the lyrical writing and the unique characters. Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC.
Aug 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: good-uns
I confess it was the title that drew me in with this book. It sounded a bit fey, a bit on the ethereal side. The comparisons to the exquisite Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine decidedly did not hurt. And so I readily accepted and opened my review copy to the first page.
A thought:
Some things are easier to hide than others.

A fact:
Harps come under the "others" category. So do small boys.

As you know by now, I am such a sucker for a good epigraph, and this one did the trick nicely. As did the nove
The Bookend Diner
Thank you to Berkley Publishing for gifting me an advanced copy of Ellie and the Harpmaker by Hazel Prior. 

Ellie is a lonely, unsatisfied housewife searching for her purpose. She composed poetry and spends her days in an unhappy marriage, quietly dreaming of rewriting her own life story. 

Then Ellie meets Dan. 

Dan is a harpmaker, living alone, creating beautiful hand-carved instruments inside his barn in the English countryside. Dan is different. He prefers to spend his time in solitude, tucked a
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing for my advance reader copy of Ellie and the Harpmaker in exchange for my honest review.

Ellie is an Exmoor housewife who finds herself inside the barn of the Exmoor harpmaker, Dan.  She falls in love with the harp and Dan ends up giving her one as a gift.  What?!  I know...crazy!  Ellie takes it home and is immediately told to return it by her husband.  She ends up leaving it at his barn and comes back to visit it to practice and take harp lessons fro
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“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.” 1 likes
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