Unable to sit at a computer due to crippling back pain, Karen Telling lay in bed writing her surprisingly uplifting tale of moving to Carvoeiro, which has been described as “a love letter to Portugal”.

By Sophie Sadler

Karen and her husband Nick moved to Portugal in 2003, having sold their metal finishing business in the UK. Karen tells me, “We loved coming on holidays to Carvoeiro and bought a holiday rental and always thought we would retire here. Then the opportunity came to sell the business when I was just 38 and Nick was 42.”

The couple sold up in the UK and got in a car with their two dogs to start life in Portugal. “The book is intended to show that you can do it. We looked for opportunities and took chances, but ultimately we have had such a positive experience.”

The book covers Karen’s major back surgery in 2009 in Lisbon, but she is anxious to point out that she tried to make this as light-hearted as possible because she ultimately wants this to be a feel-good book in a time of great negativity. “I wanted to show the compassion and love we felt from Portuguese people and the kindness of strangers when I was most vulnerable. Even though I was in a bad place, we also met some fantastic characters in the hospital and, ultimately, the surgeon saved me from being in a wheelchair.”

Despite this, Karen is now physically disabled and finds it incredibly painful to sit or stand still. During lockdown, she lay on her bed and tapped out the story – which she first started writing years before – on her phone.

The book is also full of poignant moments related to the many cats they have adopted or helped. “After the first kitten walked into our rental property, we started to look after and received countless strays that had been abandoned. I think locals thought of me as the crazy cat lady of Carvoeiro!”

Mostly though, this book is about her love of Carvoeiro. “It’s a place that no one comes to just once. I know so many people will recognise it and might want to read the book.”

Another Day in Paradise was released in August and is available on Amazon, Kindle and in the local outlets listed below:

The Algarve Book Cellar bookshop and Earth Café in Carvoeiro, Bed Warehouse in Lagoa, Rocha Brava reception, Cepsa garage (which is located on the right-hand side, when driving into Carvoeiro), Cult n’ Art in Alvor, and Direct Transport, Porches.