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This was a sweet, quirky romance of finding new love, oneself and gaining independence from a loveless marriage. I have to admit that I was initially drawn to this book because of it cover. I mean… how cute is the pheasant?? The story itself was beautifully sweet and slow. Nothing was rushed or fully concluded. It gave the novel a hopeful theme that was inherently likeable and made me want to keep reading. If you’re looking for a sweet, slow and hopeful romantic story then this is the one for you!
In the rolling hills of beautiful Exmoor, there’s a barn. And in that barn, you’ll find Dan. He’s a maker of exquisite harps – but not a great maker of conversation. He’s content in his own company, quietly working and away from social situations that he doesn’t always get right.
But one day, a cherry-socked woman stumbles across his barn and the conversation flows a little more easily than usual. She says her name’s Ellie, a housewife, alone, out on her daily walk and, though she doesn’t say this, she looks sad. He wants to make her feel better, so he gives her one of his harps, made of cherry wood.
And before they know it, this simple act of kindness puts them on the path to friendship, big secrets, pet pheasants and, most importantly, true love.
What I loved:
- Ellie was such a likeable person, despite her severe passive tendencies. She was polite, friendly and always considerate of others. That is, until she came across the harp barn and realised that for the first time in twenty years she wanted to be considerate of her own desires and motivations, as opposed to putting them aside for others. What began as a slow venture in to independence blossomed throughout the novel. The romance was a bonus but Ellie’s growth in confidence and independence was the most emotionally heart-warming aspect in this story.
- Dan was great fun! He reminded me a lot of the character Don Tillman from The Rosie Project. He was exact, direct and without guile. I adored him for it! It was also nice to see a diverse character in a romance story that was portrayed in an authentic, unforgiving way. There was no glossing over aspects that weren’t ‘likeable’ and Dan was independent and capable in his own right. I respect Prior for giving his character a realistic relatability.
- The characters were not only quirky but the story genuinely had some unpredictable events that made it an entertaining read. It’s slow but definitely not boring! The ending was not a picture perfect HEA. Rather, it had charm, quirk and required some interpretation. I adored it!!
What I wanted more of:
- I loathe to ask for more from such a sweet story but I felt that more music could have been included in this. It is, after all, about the harp. From creation to enjoyment as a musical instrument the harp was featured throughout the story but the music was oddly missing. It was a bit strange, although didn’t entirely take away the glow from the story.
- Dan’s family came across as very intimidating and – dare I say – rude. I would have liked more information concerning Dan’s backstory and family relationships. There seemed to be an odd divide between him and his family, as a result of his personality, and this was not explored enough for my liking. He was a highly independent and capable man running his own successful business. Why would they doubt him so much?
// have you read this book? what were your thoughts on it? //