About the book, New Beginnings at the Little House in the Sun
Follow your yellow brick road ….
Alice Dorothy Matthews is on the road to paradise! She’s sold her house in London, got rid of her nasty ex and arranged her move to Portugal where friendship and romance awaits. All that’s left to do is find a place to call home.
But Alice’s dreams are called into question when complications with friends, work and new relationships make her Portuguese paradise feel far too much like reality.
Will Alice’s dream of a new home in the sun come true
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About the author, Chris Penhall
Chris Penhall won the 2019 Choc-Lit Search for a Star competition, sponsored by Your Cat Magazine, for her debut novel, The House That Alice Built. The sequel, New Beginnings at the Little House in the Sun was published on August 25th 2020.
Chris is an author and freelance radio producer for BBC Local Radio.
Born in Neath in South Wales, she has also lived in 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!
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.
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New Beginnings at the Little House in the Sun is the sequel to The House that Alice Built, which I haven’t read, but there’s enough backstory in this novel that I didn’t feel at all lost. Rather, I loved jumping into Alice’s new life in Cascais, Portugal just as she was.
Reinventing yourself is never easy, and I liked that author Chris Penhall gave Alice some challenges in this story… finding a house to buy, expanding her business options, and navigating her relationship with boyfriend Luis (who starts off being very supportive and pretty much stays that way) are all things that didn’t necessarily mesh with our protagonist’s vision of her new life, but gave the story depth and made all the characters feel very real.
(I especially loved Alice’s mother. We should all have a mother like that… or perhaps not.)
Penhall’s writing style is breezy but not fluffy, and diving into this book was a lovely experience, though I might be slightly biased as I harbor fantasies of retiring to Portugal, myself.
I liked that there was no soft-pedalling of Alice’s relationship with her ex-husband.
I liked even more that, ultimately, Alice was her own hero.
This novel would be a perfect beach read, but it also works well as an escape from fall/winter doldrums.
Goes well with a bowl of caldo verde and a cold beer.