A rich, heartwarming and charming debut novel that reminds us that sometimes you find love in the most unexpected places.
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.
On the anniversary of her beloved father’s death, Ellie Jacobs takes a walk in the woods and comes across Dan’s barn. She is enchanted by his collection. Dan gives her a harp made of cherrywood to match her cherry socks. He stores it for her, ready for whenever she’d like to take lessons.
Ellie begins visiting Dan almost daily and quickly learns that he isn’t like other people. He makes her sandwiches precisely cut into triangles and repeatedly counts the (seventeen) steps of the wooden staircase to the upstairs practice room. Ellie soon realizes Dan isn’t just different; in many ways, his world is better, and he gives her a fresh perspective on her own life.
I am loving this trend of romances with a main protagonist “on the spectrum,” as they say, and even though it is never explicitly stated, it doesn’t have to be. Dan is a character with enough quirks to make him endearing, along with a big heart and unflinching honesty. You can’t help but root for him. He talks about his girlfriend, Roe Deer, a lot, and has some pictures of the stunning woman in his barn. Dan lives in the harp barn, up those seventeen steps from where he builds beautiful and unique Celtic harps.
When Ellie stumbles across the harp barn, she is enthralled. She recalls learning to play the harp was on her list of things to do before she turns 40, none of which she has done. When Dan gifts her the cherrywood harp, it feels like kismet. Until Ellie’s husband sees it and makes her return it. Clive is a bit controlling, and while Ellie tries to convince herself that she is happy in her marriage, the more time she secretly spends in the harp barn with Dan, the more cracks in her marriage begin to appear and spread.
This is a charming story, full of pathos and drama and love. I am an Anglophile in my reading, so I loved the Britishness of this story and especially the uniqueness of these English characters. The difference in our cultures is apparent here, and I loved that. I wished so hard for a happy ending for both Dan and Ellie that I couldn’t put the thing down.
Don’t miss it. I loved this book!
8/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
ELLIE AND THE HARP MAKER by Hazel Prior. Berkley (August 6, 2019). ISBN 978-1984803788. 336p.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 28th, 2019 at 8:00 AM and is filed under Book Reviews, Fiction, Romance, Women's Fiction. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.