Title: New Beginnings at the Little House in the Sun.

Author: Chris Penhall.

Genre: Contemporary romance.

Publication Date: 25th August 2020.

Standalone Sequel to The House That Alice Built, and the second in the Portuguese Paradise series.

Estimated Page Count – 288.

Also read: And then she shines!

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New Beginnings at the Little House in the Sun–Portuguese tiles, Fado and the Number 28 Tram.

New Beginnings in the Little House in the Sun is the sequel to The House That Alice Built, and finds our leading lady leaving the past behind and planning abrand-new future in Portugal. As we all know the path to true happiness always has some trips and turns along the way, and it’s no different for Alice, who finds herself dealing with unexpected challenges from the past of those around her as well as her own.

It can be read as a stand-alone novel, but if you know The House That Alice Built you will find some familiar characters and new ones to meet too. Plus as well as enjoying Cascais, we spend a bit more time in Lisbon and pop over the river Tejo, venturing as far south as the Sado River.In the bookAlice’s artistic venturesare becoming more successful and she gets the opportunity to add another string to her bow. Tile painting is very popular in Portugal, and I dabbled in it when I lived in Cascais many years ago.

Must read: The forgotten gift book review!

The tiles are called azulejos and I have developed an on-going love and fascination for them over the years, which really started with a visit to Porto. I remember visiting Sao Bento Railway station in the city and being overwhelmed by the azulejo panels designed and painted by Jorge Colaco which portray rural scenes and depict significant moments in Portuguese history. So, I thought that as Alice is now settling in Portugal, she should try her hand creating beautiful tiles herself. My personal creations included a ceramic table and many, many, many coasters.

Alice, obviously, is much more successful and talented than I was, but every time I put a mug on abrightly-coloured tile painted by me, I remember my time there fondly. There’s also a hint of Fado in the book, too. This traditional Portuguese musical form was granted World Heritage status in 2011 as an urban Lisbon song which symbolises both the city and the country. You can hear it in many bars and restaurants in region,and after a visit to the Fado Museum in Alfama, I decided to download some of the music I’d heard, In the process I came across a version of Chuva, sung by Mariza. It’s so gorgeous I decided to use it in the book…you’ll have to read it to find out why! Alice spends a lot of time in Cascais, but there are places in Lisbon that I used as locations for certain scenes–Time Out Market opposite Cais de Sodre station, for example and Casa De Alente jo in Restaura dores, plus there’s also a tram ride up and down the hills on the narrow cobbled streets. There has to be. It’s Lisbon! I enjoyed a return visit to the city last November and took a trip on the famous Tram 28 to see what it was like. It was brilliant! I think when Alice uses it she’s a bit distracted though so may not have enjoyed it to its full capacity.

About the author:

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 firstnovel, 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 totravel. She is never happier than when she is gazing at the sea.

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