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Finding Summer Happiness

Published Date: April 30, 2021

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288 pages


You won’t find happiness without breaking a few eggs …

Miriam Ryan was the MD of a successful events and catering company, but these days even the thought of chopping an onion sends her stress levels sky rocketing. A retreat to the Welsh village of her childhood holidays seems to offer the escape she’s craving – just peace, quiet, no people, a generous supply of ready meals … did she mention no people?

Enter a cheery pub landlord, a lovesick letting agent, a grumpy astronomer with a fridge raiding habit – not to mention a surprise supper club that requires the chopping of many onions – and Miriam realises her escape has turned into exactly what she was trying to get away from, but could that be just the thing she needs to allow a little bit of summer happiness into her life?

Available as an eBook and audiobook on all platforms. Paperback available from Amazon. 

Chris Penhall

Chris 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.

Chris debut novel, The House That Alice Built won Choc Lit’s Search for a Star competition sponsored by Your Cat Magazine.


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FREE Audio Story

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Sunset by Chris Penhall narrated by Penelope Freeman. Click the play button to listen.

Reviews (5)


  1. Donna Morgan
    Donna Morgan May 18, 2021 at 9:01 am .

    Miriam is the successful MD of MR Events but is stepping down to live a quiet life. Her PA Justin sorts out a rental cottage for her in a remote Welsh village where she holidayed as a child.
    She finally is able to switch off and relax in this lovely idyllic place but the peace is soon shattered when Julie and Henry arrive at the cottage. They expect Joanna (the owner) to be there to cook them meals. Then, to make things worse, she stumbles across Jim who has let himself into the summer house at the back of the cottage. He turns out to be the mysterious Joanna’s nephew. After contacting Rhiannon (the lettings agent) and her former PA Justin, she finally finds out that there was a page missing on the rental contract which states she has to provide meals for the supper/dinner/events club. So, instead of having a restful escape, she ends up dealing with people and back in the same business that pushed her to breaking point.
    There are odd occurrences that remind her of childhood memories. She is also still coming to terms with the loss of her mother, a painful relationship break-up, and the way she left MR Events.
    I felt a connection to Miriam wanting to escape from the stresses of life. She was a kindred spirit. Loved the descriptions of her walking along the coast. Also, she listens to music and does deep breathing to get rid of negative thoughts (like me). I found it hard to put the book down and enjoyed this book just as much as the others that Chris has written.

  2. Ruth
    Ruth May 18, 2021 at 1:12 pm .

    An engrossing and amusing read

    Realising that running her catering company has caused such stress she’s becoming ill, Miriam retreats to a coastal cottage in Wales to recuperate. She intends to have a summer of peace and quiet while living in utter isolation, intending her only cooking to be a simple microwave dinner for one.

    Except the cottage doesn’t offer Miriam the peace she expected. A strange man is asleep in the summerhouse, there’s the unexplained expectations from the coastal path walkers for Miriam to provide them with meals and the owner of the cottage has mysteriously disappeared without trace.

    Miriam soon finds herself involved in busy village life, far opposite from her original plan.

    Perfect reading for an evening on the sofa.

  3. Yvonne Greene
    Yvonne Greene May 18, 2021 at 3:39 pm .

    Miriam is a burnt out high flyer and flees to Wales for peace and quiet. Is that actually what she needs though, and will she get it? Throw in an eccentric absent landlady, a lodger in the summerhouse and a bunch of fun chat, and you get a lovely relaxing read.

  4. Barbara p
    Barbara p May 18, 2021 at 9:09 pm .

    This romance was so different to the normal ones. Right from the start it was intriguing and held me wanting to know more. Usually I can see where the story is going but this one kept me guessing right to the last pages. Miriam and Alan being thrown together seemed an ill matched but perfect couple and you keep hoping that romance will come but the story moves the plot away from this. A great mix of characters inhabiting a village I would like to visit or even live in. Enjoy the fun, follow Miriam’s retirement and root for your favourite couple.

  5. Debbie Southwell
    Debbie Southwell June 7, 2021 at 7:27 pm .

    Miriam has sold her business and wants to go and spend some time in Wales where she has fond childhood memories. Unfortunately her PA didn’t read the small print of the contract for the house that Miriam has rented.
    The contract includes Miriam cooking meals for people who regularly come to the homeowners for a meal and entertainment that they pay for (hence why there were recipes so kindly left for her) and the addition of Alan who lives in the Summerhouse. However Miriam owned an events company and feels she did her fair share of cooking and just wanted to live on ready meals and breadsticks, having a peaceful time, not be cooking for people and having everyone wonder where the owner Joanna has disappeared to without telling anyone where she was going or why. She has also been badly let down by a man who she has been badly hurt by emotionally.
    Miriam does find some solace however in the telescope in the attic room where she can go and immerse herself in the wonder of the stars. There is where she also finds snippets of her childhood, can there be a link and can this place help her heal?
    A wonderful mix of characters and a great read.

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