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?
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 in August 2020. Both are available in paperback, e-book and audio and are part of the Portuguese Paradise series. Finding Summer Happiness, which is set in Pembrokeshire in South West Wales is available in e-book, audio and paperback, and The House on the Hill - A Summer in the Algarve, the third novel in the Portuguese Paradise series, is published in e-book on 28th June 2022.
Chris is an author and freelance radio producer for BBC Local Radio.
She also has her own podcast - The Talking to My Friends About Book Podcast in which she chats to her friends about books. Good title!
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 first novel, 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 to travel. She is never happier than when she is gazing at the sea.
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The latest in the Portugese Paradise - but easily read as a standalone - and it's a Summer treat that transports you to the Algarve and puts a smile on your face as you watch over Layla and her struggles with keeping calm.... you'd think that would be easy for her as she runs a mindfulness retreat, but a blast from the past brings back some of her old anxiety so she's in need of yoga and calm now more than ever!
Layla is a woman who is very business minded. Very little time for the little pleasures in life, she is focussed on keeping her grandparents legacy alive with the thriving business in such an idyllic location. And when she's set the task of 'babysitting' and 'destressing' a friend of a friend, her own anxieties resurface as he's a face she remembers from her past... whether he remembers her is another matter!
Luke is a famous author and is escaping the drama of the media back in the UK, and also looking for quiet and inspiration for his latest work project. What better than the Algarve to get away from it all. He is reliant on Layla to give him those mindful breaks he needs to get the creative juices flowing, and he finds that spending time with her is giving him lots of things to think about - and wish she'd lighten up a little too!
As always, the setting is just wonderful for these books and the characters are well crafted and instantly pull you on their side so you want nothing but happiness for them all! Lots of fun and drama along the way make for a wonderful reading experience!