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Hazel Prior Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Ellie and the Harpmaker (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Away with the Penguins / How the Penguins Saved Veronica (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Call of the Penguins (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
Life and Otter Miracles (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Hazel Prior is a British harpist and author best known for her debut novel “How the Penguins Saved Veronica.” She was born in Oxford but her father was originally from Sussex while her mother was born and bred in Yorkshire. She believes that a tinge of Scottish blood in her is what draws her to the Celtic harp.

Since her early childhood days growing up in Oxford, she has gone on to live in all manner of places from Edinburgh, the Welsh Borders, Dorset, Bath and Italy.
Prior fell in love with the harp while she was still a student and is now a regular performer. She usually performs with The Hummingbirds an a cappella quartet and also as a soloist.

She published her debut long form novel in 2020 even though she had previously published several stories in UK writing competitions and literary magazines.
As to what genre she writes in, she does not like to box herself in as she writes Book Club novels that discuss themes of environmental concerns, ageing, autism, war, psychological abuse, drugs and teenage pregnancy.

Nonetheless, Prior writes character led stories that are often uplifting reads. She currently makes her home in Exmoor England.

While she has become a notable author and harpist, these are dreams Hazel Prior never expected to come true. She got interested in the harp as a young adult but it would take a long time before she became proficient in it and could play in public.

On the other hand, writing was something she always enjoyed doing. When she was in high school she would often tell her friends that she would grow up to become an author. But it was not until she was in her late forties that she achieved her authorship dream,
Since then she has taken on many roles including playing as a band harpist, working for the National Trust and teaching English to foreign students in Italy. It was from these experiences that she got the confidence to believe that she could tell stories.

Creating stories with a range of situations and characters was a wonderful process of discovery given the profound truths she often surprises herself when telling stories. Just like with her music, her authorship is a personal and very deep form of communication.

While she was a relatively new writer when it came to long form fiction, it did not take long for Hazel Prior to write her debut. Still, the publication process was a slog with editing, rewrites and all manner of suggestions from agents and the final editor at Penguin Random House.
She would then wait for two years before her first novel was published though she now writes about a book every year. One peculiar thing about Hazel is that she is traditionally published and has never tried self publishing.

While control over her novels is something she would like to have, she has said that she has no idea how to do all the marketing and publicity needed when a new book comes out.

She likes traditional publishing as she can have more time to do what she loves – which is writing and depends on her team to do the marketing and ensure she does not make cringe worthy mistakes in her writing.

“How the Penguins Saved Veronica” by Hazel Prior is a hopeful and moving read which oozes charm and will have readers dissolve in a gooey puddle. The lead is Veronica McCreedy, an 86 year old very wealthy woman living at The Ballahays, a huge coastal mansion in Ayrshire.
For the longest time, she has been alone and lonely as she was divorced from a serial philanderer and has no family. The only human contact she has is with the cleaner who comes in to clean and do the necessary once every week.

As she gets older she contemplates what to do with her money when Patrick, A grandson she never knew about is found in Bolton. His life is in dire straits as Lynette his girlfriend has broken up with him and gone to be with a racist bricklayer and left him financially poorer.
Veronica is disappointed that her grandson has sunk to such depths when they finally meet up. She doesn’t know much about the modern world obsessed with vacuous and pointless celebrities as she is a determined and stubborn woman looking to do good.

Her biggest passion is wildlife documentaries and she soon finds herself interested in trying to save the Antarctic penguins on Locket Island.

“Ellie and the Harpmaker” by Hazel Prior is the story of Ellie who walks down a new path only to find a hidden and unexpected secret. Dan is a harp maker who carves harps of all shapes and sizes from the beautiful old barn that he calls home.

He had left the modern world as he could never fit in with most situations. He seems to like Ellie and gives her a small cherry red harp as a gift. Even though she is very happy at first she soon learns that her husband is unhappy with her accepting the gift.

Her husband is old fashioned and expects his wife to behave in a certain way, and accepting harps from strangers is definitely a no no. But when she tries to return it Dan tells her that he could keep the harp at his place and she could come over to learn.

It is not long before a quiet friendship is blossoming as he is an uncomplicated and sweet man that makes her forget all her troubles. The more Ellie visits Dan, the less she wants to leave. The longer she visits, the better she becomes at playing the harp but now she needs more lies to keep her husband in the dark about her activities.
He would never believe that she is just learning the harp but she cannot keep this secret forever.

Hazel Prior’s “Call of the Penguins” opens to Veronica on Locket Island enjoying nature. But then she is called away to go to Falkland Islands and Australia, where she is to co present a wildlife programme.

Patrick, her grandson, is still living on Locket Island where he has been looking after the Adelie penguins. But things change when Patrick goes back home and Veronica decides that he would be better off going to Canada to try to find his father rather than brooding while she is busy.
In the meantime Terry, his girlfriend who is still living on Locket Island, has been having some problems of her own. The novel follows three strands as it tells the stories of three characters.

There is Terry in the Antarctic with the penguins, Patrick in Canada looking for his father and Veronica who is out filming wildlife. Similar to her previous novels, Prior writes beautiful stories with excellent descriptions of place.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Hazel Prior

One Response to “Hazel Prior”

  1. Margaret Butler: 4 months ago

    Dear Hazel
    Just finished reading life and otter miracles.very sad in parts and a joy to read when you brought Dan and Ellie
    with the barn harps it was so smart .Will you writing another with all the village in .Ellie and the harp maker was a lovely book to read heart break child returns to dad most of all a really great love story with a happy ending .You must be able to find love for Rev Lucy somewhere and Al parcels deliveries to village and outer areas


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