Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!

The House That Alice Built by Chris Penhall

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.

My Review 

This is a fun, heartwarming story of following your dreams, taking chances and standing up for yourself as well as a heartwarming romance.

Alice Dorothy Matthews is hardworking, sensible and determined to keep her home safe, despite her partner, Adam, disappearing off on his travels. He has kept in touch by sending her postcards of his adventures and one arrives to tell her to sell their home and give him half the money. It wouldn’t be so bad if he had actually paid anything towards the mortgage or upkeep of their home for the last decade! On top of that, in the same postal delivery, she has received a letter making her redundant. That’s when she de ides not to be home when Adam comes calling. He can’t access their property as she’s already had all the locks changed. He can wonder where she is for a change!

Alice goes off to stay in the resort where her best friend, Kathy, works in Cascais, Portugal. Here, the amazing community welcomes her and, with Kathy’s encouragement, she starts exploring her talents as an artist, taking amazing photographs, creating paintings and jewellery. As she becomes more alive than she’s been for years, she starts questioning what she wants from life in the future – and where she wants to live. With magical teas, helpful locals and possible romance, can she thwart Adam’s plans, stand up for herself and make new plans for her life?

This is a coming of age story, one where the lead character has sublimated her dreams to be a super careful stoic personality rather than her effervescent, innovative self. This is a great story of finding yourself again, learning to love and trust, as well as a fantastic story of a lovely close knit community taking in someone and supporting them. It is a lovely contemporary romance and I’m not surprised it is an award winning story!

I requested and was gifted a copy of this book and this is my honest review after choosing to read it


Purchase Links






Author Bio –

Chris Penhall is a freelance writer and radio producer.

Her book, The House That Alice Built, won the Choc-Lit Search for a Star Competition 2019.

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.

Social Media Links –


Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChrisPenhall

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChrisPenhallBroadcasterWriter

Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for providing materials for this post and organising the tour it is part of.

One comment on “The House That Alice Built by Chris Penhall

  1. Pingback: New Beginnings at the Little House in the Sun by Chris Penhall | splashesintobooks

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