Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for The House That Alice Built by Chris Penhall. The House That Alice Built won the Choc-Lit Search for a Star Competition 2019.
Thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour and to Ruby Fiction for my review copy. Do check out the banner at the bottom of this post to see the other great book bloggers participating in the tour.
About the Book
Home is where the heart is …
Alice Dorothy Matthews is sensible. Whilst her best friend Kathy is living it up in Portugal and her insufferable ex Adam is travelling the world, Alice is working hard to pay for the beloved London house she has put her heart and soul into renovating.
But then a postcard from Buenos Aires turns Alice’s life upside down. One very unsensible decision later and she is in Cascais, Portugal, and so begins her lesson in ‘going with the flow’; a lesson that sees her cat-sitting, paddle boarding, dancing on top of bars and rediscovering her artistic talents.
But perhaps the most important part of the lesson for Alice is that you don’t always need a house to be at home.
Format: ebook (288 pp.) Publisher: Ruby Fiction
Publication date: 17th August 2019 Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance
Find The House That Alice Built on Goodreads
Inspired by Alice’s creativity and in the spirit of doing things differently, here are fifteen things I loved about The House That Alice Built and that I hope you will too.
- Aphrodite, the gecko-hunting, feline alarm clock
- Mystic Mary’s special herbal teas
- Wishing for a suitable comeuppance for Awful Adam (not to mention Awful Antonio, Vile Veronique and don’t even get me started on alliterative adjectives for Marcella)
- The pleasure of people watching whilst sipping a galão and nibbling pasteis de natas (sorry, you’re going to have to either read the book or do your own research into Portuguese coffee and cake)
- Finding out the correct pronunciation of Cascais (see above)
- The luscious descriptions of the scenery of Portugal: ‘Pushing the back door open, she stepped through the early morning light into the overgrown garden: a riot of red geraniums, white bougainvillea and yellow pansies, dark green moss dotted with tiny blue wildflowers and tall sprigs of lavender.’
- Sunsets over Sintra
- Seeing Alice learning to challenge the thought, ‘I’m not good enough’
- And realising ‘the world is my oyster’
- The value of true friendship – Kathy, Ignacio, Carlos
- Meeting a man (thanks to the matchmaking Elvis – no, not that one) who’s talented, handsome, artistic…and did I mention handsome?
- When the soundtrack to your life becomes ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ and ‘Daydream Believer’
- Your film-obsessed mother naming you after Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz, and your sister after Gone With The Wind (Tara Scarlett, in case you’re wondering)
- ‘An image of herself walking barefoot on the grass and clipping a bunch of crimson roses to take inside to a sunlit kitchen suddenly popped into her head’. Wishful thinking on the part of this reader or premonition worthy of Mystic Mary?
- Joining Alice on her ‘life-changing, mind-bending, irresponsible, irrepressible’ adventure
For those in the UK struggling to cope with the dark evenings and short days or anyone simply in need of cheering up, The House That Alice Built is the perfect pick-me-up.
In three words: Joyful, heartwarming, spirited
Try something similar…The Summer Springsteen’s Songs Save Me by Barbara Quinn (read my review here)
About the Author
Chris Penhall is a freelance writer and radio producer. Born in South Wales, she has also lived near London and in Portugal, which is where The House That Alice Built is set. It was whilst living in Cascais near Lisbon that she began to dabble in writing fiction, but it was many years later that she was confident enough to start writing her first novel, and many years after that she finally finished it! She is now working on her second.
A lover of books, music and cats, she is also an enthusiastic salsa dancer, a keen cook, and loves to travel. She is never happier than when she is gazing at the sea. Chris has two grown up daughters and lives in the Essex countryside. Chris is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association.