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.
Prior's debut resonates with a clear voice, depicting love evolving from a friendship based upon genuine acts of kindness. In September 2017, housewife Ellie Jacobs is taking her usual walk in the woods of Exmoor, England, when she turns down a lane and comes across the Harp Barn. Dan Hollis is the Exmoor Harpmaker, and once he hears that learning to play the harp is on Ellie's do-before-age-40 list, he decides to give her one of his handcrafted harps as a gift. But Ellie's domineering husband, Clive, insists that she return it because it would be too expensive to purchase, and they would be taking advantage of Dan to keep it as a gift. When Ellie returns it, Dan suggests that Ellie keep it at his barn so that she can practice the harp there. She agrees and starts taking lessons from Dan's former girlfriend, Rhoda. Ellie enjoys taking harp lessons, but can't bring herself to tell Clive, afraid that it will upset him. When Ellie discovers a secret that Rhoda has been keeping from Dan and decides to reveal it to him, Ellie's carefully balanced life is thrown off kilter. Ellie and Dan, both delightful, down-to-earth characters, selflessly put each other's needs ahead of their own, and fans of fast-paced romantic stories will enjoy watching them discover true happiness together.