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The House That Alice Built

Published Date: August 17, 2019

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Available as an eBook & audio download


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200 pages


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.

Available as an eBook and audiobook on all platforms. 

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.

The House That Alice Built is Chris’s debut novel.


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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 August 20, 2019 at 9:08 am .

    Total escapism for the reader.

    An uplifting tale about Alice finding her true self after being a wage slave for years. Extremely well written, this captures the delightful atmosphere of Portugal, the sunshine, blue skies, golden sands and friendly locals.
    Alice soon immerses herself in Portuguese life, making new friends and discovering a way to slow down and smell the lavender.

    There should to be a warning on the book cover: reading this will seriously encourage the user to change their way of life.

  2. Gill Leivers
    Gill Leivers August 20, 2019 at 1:27 pm .

    I did enjoy this book – my idea of a traditional, clean romance, with a lovely happy ending. I believe it proves that it is completely unnecessary to ‘pad’ out a story by describing any sexual act in minute detail – I am happy to close the bedroom door as they kiss…. Alice is at an unhappy place in her life, so she goes to Portugal to visit her friend, Kathy. Here she meets several very nice men, including Luis. I found myself reading more quickly to get to the happy end – I didn’t want to put it down for minor activities like sleeping and eating!

  3. Yvonne Greene
    Yvonne Greene August 20, 2019 at 6:34 pm .

    Great read from start to finish. Characters you feel connected with in a luscious setting – put your feet up and enjoy! Great first novel from this author!

  4. Barbara p
    Barbara p August 26, 2019 at 9:02 pm .

    This is a lovely romance, set mainly in Portugal. The story starts in uk buts moves overseas when Alice is made redundant. Her back story has shaped her but the move and her new and old friends help her to move on and the old Alice gradually reappears. Her relationship with Luis is not an easy one as both have a lot of baggage. There is also the cultural and language difficulties to be dealt with. Portugal is well portrayed and the characters believable. I was rooting for Alice to see what her future could be, exciting and fun. Does she get there? Read this book to the very end to find out.

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