Ellie and the Harp Maker

by Hazel Prior

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.

What's in the Box?

Signed edition "Ellie and the Harp Maker" | Hazel Prior


Sweet Dreams Tea | New Moon Tea Co

Moon Child Tote Bag | The Quirky Cup Collective

New Moon Bath Bomb | remedes + richewels

Steeped in Magic Greeting Card | Hungry Heart Ink

  • Topics & Questions for Discussion

    provided by Penguin Random House

    1. There are plenty of memorable scenes in the novel. Which were your favorite moments and why?

    2. Ellie has fallen in love with the idea of playing a harp. How does the reality compare with the dream? Do dreams ever turn out the way we expect?

    3. Were you surprised that Dan makes beautiful harps but doesn’t play them? Why do you think that is?

    4. Why does Dan think he isn’t made of the right ingredients? Are there any “right ingredients” for a relationship?

    5. How do Ellie’s perceptions change throughout the novel: of Rhoda, of Clive and of herself? Can we ever really trust our own judgment of other people?

    6. Dan says, “Music helps fill up the holes that people leave behind.” Is music a luxury or a lifeline? How does music change Ellie?

    7. “As I watch from the window the landscape becomes wilder and hillier and sheepier. I feel that simultaneously I am becoming Dannier. . . . Exmoor, in a way, is me.” Why are his surroundings so important to Dan? What does “home” mean to you, and what does your home say about your identity?

    8. In what ways have Ellie and Dan been shaped by their parents? How does this bear on their decisions regarding Ed?

    9. The fire brings several realizations to both Dan and Ellie. What are they? Has a crisis in your own life ever helped you see things afresh?

    10. Why do you think Phineas the Pheasant is so important to Dan?

    11. What are the different types of love in the novel? Which do you think is the strongest?

    12. What do you think the future holds for Ellie, Dan and Ed?



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