Hazel Prior: Ellie and the Harp-Maker

Book review

dk. The story is told from the perspective of two people, harp-maker Dan and the woman who passionately likes to take walks, Ellie. On her forays through Exmoor – a heathland in Somerset and Devon – Ellie coincidentally discovers the barn where Dan builds his harps. Every single piece he makes is unique. Ellie is so enthusiastic about the instruments that Dan spontaneously gives her a a harp. At first she does not want to accept the gift. However, a gift is a gift. Dan suggests a compromise: She can leave her harp with him and learn to play it. Ellie accepts this suggestion and now comes to Dan’s barn every day to play the harp.
    Then Dan is shot and wounded during a pheasant hunt. Ellie now offers to change his bandage daily as prescribed by the doctor. As time goes on, Ellie takes harp lessons with Dan’s girlfriend Rhoda. She discovers that Rhoda and Dan have a son together, of whom Dan knows nothing. After Ellie informs Dan about this, Rhoda takes revenge on Ellie by telling her husband Clive that his wife drives to Dan’s house everyday to play the harp. As a result Clive neither speaks nor reconciles with Ellie. Unexpectedly, the story takes a dramatic course, which upsets the lives of the people involved. However, in the end, everything works out well. Hazel Prior tells a thrilling and varied story, and the differentiated portrayal of the main characters does their part to captivate the reader. A successful novel, which is ideal for a relaxed summer read.
    Hazel Prior was born in Oxford and lives in Exmoor. She is a harpist as well and plays regularly at festivals. She has written many short stories and “Ellie and the Harp-Maker” is her first novel. Her second novel, “Away with the Penguins” was published in March 2020 by Bentam Press. •

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