Book Reviews

Ellie and the Harpmaker by Hazel Prior

I received a copy of this book from Transworld Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.

Transworld has a habit of publishing all my favourite reads and I’m so glad I received a review copy of this one! Ellie and the Harpmaker was one of my anticipated 2019 reads. Read on the find out what I thought of the book.

Goodreads synopsis:

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.



That’s the one word that keep going through my head as I read this incredible book. I thought I was the only one, but you can find this one word in every single Goodreads review so far. Hazel Prior’s writing flows like music throughout the novel.

In really good stories such as this one, I hardly ever notice the writing voice, but in this book, Prior’s writing voice is its own character. A character you can’t help but fall in love with.

Ellie and the Harpmaker is the story of Ellie, the Exmoor Housewife, and Dan the Exmoor Harpmaker. Ellie leads a boring life cooking and washing up after her indifferent husband. Dan, easily the best character of this book, is on the spectrum and he believes he’s “made of the wrong ingredients”. How these two completely different individuals change each others’ lives forms the rest of the story.

There are so many phrases I could use to describe this book, but the one that comes to mind first is “a warm hug”. I love heartwarming books and this one is as heartwarming as one can get.

This book even led me to tweet this!

Perhaps my only complaint about this book is Ellie. I detest people who meddle and yikes, does Ellie meddle! I was getting secondhand embarrassment about everything she did in the book. But as Dan beautifully sums it up towards the end, if some sour things need to happen for the sweet moments to saunter in, the sour would have been totally worth it.

Read Ellie and the Harpmaker if you like lyrical prose, books about music that feel like a hug to the heart, and contemporary romance.

Favorite quote:

“Doctors and dentists minister to our physical needs. Prime ministers minister to our political needs. Plumbers minister unto taps. But harp-players (and indeed all musicians) minister unto something else. The something else is much deeper than the bits we can see, but far more important. In my opinion music ministers to the real person that hides inside the person-shell. In my opinion the real person inside the person-shell craves and needs music every day, otherwise the real person shrivels up into nothingness.”

Rating: 4 out of 5

~ Shruti

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10 thoughts on “Ellie and the Harpmaker by Hazel Prior

      1. It’s the worst! It’s bad enough to deal with those types of people in real life, when they’re inescapable (meddling family members, anyone? 😅) – asking me to read about them of my own volition makes me cross. I also squirm at their nosiness! Staaaaahp it!

        Liked by 1 person

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