Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The House that Alice Built by Chris Penhall.About the Author
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.
Follow @ChrisPenhall on Twitter, on Facebook, on Goodreads, on Amazon,Visit chrispenhall.co.uk, Buy The House that Alice Built
About the book
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.
On the surface Alice appears to have all her ducks in a row. She is organised and a meticulous planner, but the truth is that the Alice deep inside is one filled with anxiety, a lack of confidence and fear. Her partner left a few years ago to travel the world and discover himself, whilst Alice was left to hold down the fort.
Now he is on his way back and he wants the house, her house. The house she built, the house she restored bit by bit to turn it into a beautiful home.
The picture that emerges slowly but surely is the way Adam left Alice a long time ago. That it isn’t just an argument or battle about a house or money. It’s about a relationship, a one-sided relationship that both have been deluding themselves about. Adam, because he is that self-involved, and Alice because she believes it is the norm. The truth doesn’t dawn on her until she experiences something completely different in Portugal.
She suddenly comprehends the way he gaslights her, has ridiculed her dreams and dampened the person she used to be. The new setting and people help her to reassess her entire life.
Penhall pens a vulnerable and anxious main character, despite Alice being a career woman in control, which I think is the strength of this story. Admittedly I did find her quite annoyingly weak and well versed in denial and avoidance, however I think the author wants her readers to know that behind every apparently strong facade may lurk a vulnerable interior.
It’s a romcom, women’s fiction with an undertone of empowerment. I have to admit I snorted out loud at Ignacio and the phone scene. It is a blend of humour and the story of a woman on the search for herself.
Buy The House that Alice Built at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Ruby Fiction; pub date 20 Aug. 2019. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Ruby Fiction. At Kobo. At Barnes & Noble. Google Play.