Reader Review: "Ellie and the Harpmaker"

Posted by Antone Trantow
98 of 713
Reader Review:

Power Reviewer Becky H

Ellie and the Harpmaker
This is a lovely book. Ellie, married to a controlling husband, meets Dan, who lives in solitary splendor meticulously carving exquisite harps.

The writing is detailed and engaging. Prior uses words to describe the woods and creatures surrounding the harp barn with great charm. Her characters grow and become clear as the story progresses. Although she never uses any words to indicate Dan is autistic (or at least on the spectrum), it is readily apparent through her word pictures. She writes with sympathy and tenderness about her characters allowing the reader to see them change and develop with her eyes.

As the tale unfolds danger and fear emerge, but the overriding feeling is always sympathy and gentleness.

A good book for groups interested in music, woodworking, nature, personality development, marriage, autism, forgiveness, family dynamics, and love.

Veronica

A Page Turner

What a wonderful story. I was so fascinated with the characters and how they reacted to life. The writing and the story just beautiful.

Carol Peacock

A Gem of a Novel

Ellie and the Harpmaker has much to offer. Author Hazel Prior writes in such lyrical prose, her novel sometimes resonates like the chords of a harp. This nuanced story comes alive with vividly drawn characters, a suspenseful plot, and an unexpected outcome. I found Prior's novel had a touch of magic, a story so hauntingly told, it stayed with me long after I'd finished the book.

Sue P. (Albuquerque, NM)

Ellie and the Harpmaker
Hazel Prior has knocked it out of the park with her debut novel. Perhaps the title should be: Ellie and the HEARTmaker.

It is a story told with such love, empathy and compassion that still manages to make the characters completely authentic. I felt my own heart swell during the reading and know that this is a book I will revisit.

Normally, I shy away from anything that could be described as romantic or emotional, but for some reason, when I read the description in BookBrowse, I was intrigued and requested it. I am so glad I did.

Quite simply, I loved this book.

Cynthia C. (Chula Vista, CA)

A Delightful Read

I found Ellie and the Harpmaker to be a simply delightful read. I wanted to read it all in one sitting, but life got in the way. You are engaged right from the beginning. The main characters are strongly developed and the writing is very descriptive. For me, the book touched on love, abuse, loneliness, acceptance of one's past and moving ahead to the future, and an appreciation and celebration of our commonalities vs. our differences. Dan and Ellie are 2 very creative individuals, who have had very different backgrounds, yet seem to discover themselves and each other as they enjoy each other's company. You will not be disappointed. I look forward to more books by Hazel Prior.

Laurie W. (Sunnyvale, CA)

Quirky musician meets bored housewife
Dan, the harpmaker, is an engaging and quirky character that reminds me a little of Forrest Gump. He is extremely earnest, completely devoted to things he loves - making harps, taking nature walks, and making sandwiches to name a few - and rather befuddled by the rest of the world. Ellie the Exmoor Housewife (as Dan calls her) is not quite as likable. She immediately becomes obsessed with the harp given to her by Dan, and I liked her for that. But as one obsession led to another I wanted to tell her to stop doing stupid things. She didn't seem to be able to help herself.

There were a few twists in the plot along the way to the not-too-surprising ending, Dan and the harps held my interest, and I wanted things to turn out well for Ellie even when I was annoyed with her.

Recommended for those who like unconventional characters, music, and a bit of romance.

Eleanor M. (Sanford, NC)

Interesting and Impressive Debut Novel

Dan views the world by those things that are important to him: numbers, nature and harps. Ellie is enchanted with his simpler, yet profound statements about life. You will love Dan's "nature" and "number" language. I laughed and cried as I read this interesting book.

Mary D. (Claremont, CA)

Ellie and the Harpmaker

I will admit that I requested this book because I am a harpist. There are so many times that we musicians truly cringe when reading something about our instruments, or watching TV commercials 'portraying performers' where the actors clearly know nothing about what they are supposed to be doing! So it was with a bit of trepidation that I started this book. Happily, I am so pleased to say that obviously this author does indeed play harp! The technical side of building the harps was spot on, as were the descriptions of Ellie's lessons. The story itself was quite charming; yes, a love story, but one that starts with a need for self-fulfillment and a very surprising way to fill that need, a need to make music, even on a very small scale. And the sadness and small tragedies that come when that need is neither understood nor accepted by one's partner. This book was an easy read, the characters flawed as we all are with inabilities to accept things we cannot understand, to accept things that are important to our loved ones even though they mean little or nothing to us.

CLOSE [x]