Ellie and the Harpmaker
Dan Hollis lives alone, in a remote barn hidden in the woods on Exmoor. He leads a simple life and takes great pleasure in the small things – he counts the toadstools he finds on his morning walk (317), he cuts his sandwiches into triangles and arranges them geometrically on his plate, he spends his days in the workshop at the bottom of the seventeen-step staircase. For the past twenty-three years he has been making harps, choosing beautifully coloured local wood, carving and shaping it by hand, and adding his unique ‘signature’: a specially-chosen pebble that he sits in the wood. He enjoys his solitary, quiet routine.
Then, one day, Exmoor housewife Ellie Jacobs stumbles across the barn by chance as she’s walking in the woods. She’s utterly stunned by the discovery of the enchanting workshop, and Dan (taken by her surprise – and her cherry-coloured socks) gives her the gift of a beautiful cherry wood harp. But Ellie’s controlling husband Clive refuses to let her keep it – and so she begins to take lessons in secret at the barn.
Captivated by Dan’s innocent enthusiasm and infectious joy for the countryside, his life, his harps, Ellie starts to dream of escaping her loveless marriage – and so begins a story of innocent deception, unintended complications and life-changing consequences for them all.