The House on the Hill by Chris Penhall
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House on the Hill

Published Date: May 20, 2022

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Available in all formats


Out now!
Linked to the Portuguese Paradise series.

320 pages


A Summer in the Algarve!

Layla is calm, in control and is definitely not about to lose her serenity for the man next door!

Surely it can’t be hard to stay peaceful at one of the oldest yoga and mindfulness retreats in the Algarve, surrounded by sea, sun and serenity? Mostly, owner Layla Garcia manages it – with the help of meditation and plenty of camomile tea, of course.

But keeping her grandparents’ legacy alive is stressful, and Layla has become so shackled to the work that, for her, The House on the Hill is fast becoming ‘The Fortress on the Hill’.

Then writer Luke Mackie moves to the villa next door, bringing with him a healthy dose of chaos to disrupt Layla’s plans, plus a painful reminder of a time when she was less-than-serene. But could his influence be just what Layla needs to ‘dance like no-one’s watching’ and have the fun she’s been missing?

Portuguese Paradise Series – Book 3. Book 1 – The House That Alice Built. Book 2 – New Beginnings at the Little House in the Sun.

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

Listen to a fabulous, heart-warming FREE short story from Chris Penhall.

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

Reviews (4)


  1. Ruth
    Ruth June 28, 2022 at 9:18 am .

    Oozing with summery atmosphere.

    Portugal, tick. Algarve, tick. Yoga, tick. Beam me up Scotty to The House on the Hill.

    The third of Chris Penhall’s Portuguese series, can be read as a stand-alone.

    Originally founded by her grandparents, Layla Garcia runs their Portuguese retreat and wellness centre. Due to a massive and completely unexpected repair to the property, she now has serious financial worries. Instead of being an example of serenity, she’s constantly fraught with anxiety, (I became tense just reading parts of the book). When a reminder of her ‘out of control’ past, Luke Mackie, moves in next door, her anxiety further increases.

    Layla feels compelled to prove to her highly achieving family that she’s a capable business woman. By not admitting her financial worries and refusing all offers of help, she becomes the most un-peaceful person running a wellness centre.

    Gorgeous book cover containing a ‘just one more chapter’ type read.

  2. Barbara p
    Barbara p June 28, 2022 at 9:34 pm .

    I loved this book! The author invokes true Algarvian life into the story of the tale of Layla and her fight to move on with her life and business. I found the whole story readable and mostly very believable. You are just hoping she manages to get free of her past to move on finding a future, possibly with Luke. Luke, despite all his problems, is mr right, and how! Enjoy but get ready to visit the Algarve, and Lagos in particular, to share the scenario they live in.

  3. Anne
    Anne July 18, 2022 at 1:53 pm .

    Another great book from Christine Penhall. Layla is determined to make a success of The House on the Hill, a mindfulness and yoga retreat near Lagos in the lovely Algarve. But everything is threatened when Layla is confronted by Luke, a writer, a name from her past who moves in next door. As always Christine creates really wonderful complex characters and a great plot. I fell in love with Luke – and Minnie – from the off. A lovely summer read, will make you yearn for holidays in the sun, and great company. I couldn’t put it down.

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