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Ellie and the Harpmaker
Ellie and the Harpmaker | Hazel Prior
8 posts | 9 read | 8 to read
A heart-warming, utterly charming debut, rich with vibrant characters and a lush setting, that reminds us that sometimes, you don't find love--love finds you. Dan Hollis lives a simple, solitary, but contented life, taking pleasure in the beautiful landscape around him and in his work. For the past twenty-three years he has been making gorgeous Celtic harps, each unique and built entirely by hand. In his barn tucked into the woods of Exmoor, he can be himself, untroubled by social situations that he doesn't always get right or understand. Ellie Jacobs is a lonely housewife who seeks solace in her daily walks and in the poetry she keeps secret from her controlling husband Clive. One day Ellie stumbles across Dan's barn by chance and is stunned by the enchanting workshop. Dan, taken by her enthusiasm for his harps--and her cherry-coloured socks--spontaneously gives her a beautiful cherrywood harp, and Ellie finds she has a deep desire to learn to play it. Clive refuses to let her keep the harp, but Ellie finds she cannot forget either it or its maker, and so she begins to take lessons in secret at the barn, where Dan keeps the harp for her. Gradually drawn into Dan's infectious delight in the countryside they both love, his peculiar charm, and methodical eccentricity, Ellie starts to dream of escaping her loveless marriage and refinding joy. But when she discovers an important secret relating to Dan, she must make one of the biggest decisions of her life: keep it from him and risk their friendship, or unpend his carefully constructed world and change the course of both of their lives forever?
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ReadingEnvy
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Mehso-so

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!

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 was a nice balm after a stressful weekend.

54 likes2 stack adds
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booksbrewsandbooze
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Pickpick

Ellie is like the friend who makes the same mistakes over and over again, is oblivious to reality, and makes you so angry that you could hurl. But yet, you stick around anyway, understanding why she is the way she is, or makes the decisions she makes, and you keep on hoping she will make the right one... the best one... for her. Haven‘t we all felt this way about a friend before? Or maybe even about ourselves? (Rest of review in comments)

booksbrewsandbooze I love books where the setting is one of the main characters. Reading about Exmoor made me want to learn more about it, to see the colors the author vividly describes. Hazel Prior thanks Exmoor in her acknowledgments at the back of the book, so it makes sense that the location plays a great deal into the book. 3mo
booksbrewsandbooze I could have honestly used more harp! “More harp” is the next “more cowbell.” More descriptions of the harps and what playing does would have been great for me. 3mo
booksbrewsandbooze So there‘s a bit of a mystery in the book (not a creepy one). Just a “what‘s in the past?” unraveling. I guessed it while reading the back cover and it was pretty obvious going through the book, so if you‘re looking for a shocking reveal, it‘s not like that. I don‘t necessarily think it was supposed to be either. 3mo
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booksbrewsandbooze There were some annoying bits based on characters‘ actions, as in “how are they not realizing this very obvious thing? Does no one else see he‘s nuts? Have you completely forgotten that thing from the past?!” People do put blinders on, so it is human nature I suppose, but sometimes, I wanted to yell at the characters. 3mo
booksbrewsandbooze Still, I kept on reading because I wanted to know what was going to happen to the characters. I was really hoping Ellie would figure it all out eventually and find what she was lacking. No spoilers. You‘ll have to read it yourself!
3mo
booksbrewsandbooze Side note: I wasn‘t entirely sure until the end of the book if it would go the way I hoped it might. It honestly could have gone either way or maybe a million different ways, and I like that that part kept me guessing until the end. 3mo
booksbrewsandbooze
When I finished the book, I had that feeling of “oh, I want to know what happens next to them!” Always a good thing, to have that feeling after closing a book, isn‘t it?
3mo
booksbrewsandbooze This was an ARC my roommate received and I shamelessly yoinked from his pile. These feelings are my own and not influenced in any way by the receiving of an ARC through nefarious roommate means. ;) 3mo
13 likes10 comments
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Bakingbookworm
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Mehso-so

3 ⭐️ - This is a light but endearing story about two lost souls who find each other, a cute pet in wee Phineas and it has a bit of a mystery t‘boot.

This was a cute but just okay read for me. I had issues with its slow pace and Ellie. I just didn‘t connect with her.

My full review: http://bit.ly/Ellieandtheharpmaker

Thanks to @VikingBooks for my copy.

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booksbrewsandbooze
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“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.” #booksbrewsandbooze #ellieandtheharpmaker #hazelprior

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marleed
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Mehso-so

I read many books where a quirky MC, lovable or ornery, is presented their chance for love or friendship. Many times this genre is a sweet pick for me.

Parts of this story seemed disjointed and Ellie‘s dishonesty garnered no interest in me seeing her become a champion for Dan. This one is just barely a pick for me, and I might edit to a so-so as I give it more thought.

Lindy Sometimes I move my Goodreads star rating up or down a star on further reflection. 4mo
marleed @Lindy Beginning this year I keep index cards on each book I read. I rate in pencil upon finishing because I‘m discovering that my opinion may change upon reflection. For me a Pick must come in at least a C+, 3.5*. I‘m afraid this one is in between a C and C+, 3.25. 4mo
Lindy @marleed I‘m a softy when it comes to judging books. For me, 5 stars is A+, 4 stars is A, 3 stars is a B: these are all picks for me on Litsy. 2 stars is a C: that‘s so-so. A rare (for me) 1 star rating is a pan. 4mo
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marleed @Lindy Oh that‘s so interesting. Like you, I seldom read a book that‘s below my Meh/3*/C rating so the 1*/2* options are not often there for me. If I adopted your assignment I might give up my anal quarter points. 5/A+, 4.75*/A-, 4.5*/A, 4.25/B+, 4/B ... 4mo
Lindy @marleed We all need to find our comfort zone in judging books. It‘s so subjective, isn‘t it? 4mo
marleed @Lindy It is. It‘s even subjective the mood I‘m in when I read. When I don‘t like a book, I try to consider my mood at the time and if my opinion has more to do with me than the book. Lol! 4mo
60 likes1 stack add6 comments
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Hazel0303
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I‘m really really struggling with this #arc. Anyone else??? It‘s just very boring and I‘m not at all engaged in the characters.

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BlameJennyJane
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Yay! #BookMail waiting for me after a long day. I‘m really looking forward to this one! 💚💙💚

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MelissaSue81
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Pickpick

Book number 2 complete for #24b4monday with just about 6 hours down (my stopwatch is about 30 minutes behind.). This book was a sweet story. I was however continually frustrated with the way most of the characters acted. Everyone was lying to each other! I had seen it compared to the likes of A Man Called Ove and Eleanor Oliphant and it wasn‘t at that level to me at all, but I did enjoy it for what it was.