Friday 1 September 2023

Infinite Stranger by Wendy Skorupski BLOG TOUR #InfiniteStranger @WendyMSkorupski @RandomTTours #BookExtract


On a snowy February morning in 1978, eighteen-year-old Leah Cavanagh meets Brother Matthew Haddon while on a retreat with her Catholic girls’ school. The four days she spends at Greystones Abbey in the wilds of North Yorkshire will have a profound impact not only on her own life, but also on that of her single mother Molly, who never recovered from the murder of her fiancé in 1956.

Leah and Matthew start writing to each other. Soon a tentative friendship develops, with a hint of more. The longing that Leah feels is shared vicariously by Molly, who sees something of her late fiancé in a photograph that Leah shows her of the handsome young monk. When Leah leaves home to study at music college, her feelings for Matthew deepen and she has difficulty committing to other relationships.

Over the coming years Leah keeps returning to Greystones Abbey, spurred by her infatuation for Matthew. The forbidden desire between them grows in intensity with each visit, until it seems impossible that the monk’s vows of chastity will remain unbroken. Soon Leah finds herself unable to break free - neither from her controlling mother, nor her enigmatic yet tortured monk - and realizes that choices will have to be made.

Infinite Stranger by Wendy Skorupski was published in June 2023. As part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour, I am delighted to share an extract from the book with you today. 

Extract from Infinite Stranger by Wendy Skorupski

Lichfield, July 1983

Tomorrow is my wedding day.

Those words could be the lyrics to a song, don’t you think? A joyful song; one that injects your veins with a rush of adrenaline, giddiness, the narcotic urge to dance. I can feel a strong beat there. Tomorrow is my wedding day. Four-four time. Could be a tango, then. I can already picture myself on the dance floor: slow, thigh-clinging strides in sync with my partner’s, the occasional unexpected lurch as he tips me backwards – long hair tum- bling away from my face, eyes shut in concentration as said partner holds me firmly round the waist to make sure I don’t topple over completely, hitting the parquet with a thump.

I meant to say groom, not partner. Because come tomorrow, that’s what he’ll be. And I his wife. Mr and Mrs. His and hers. Happily ever after.

The zone where fairy tales fear to tread.

So tomorrow I’m getting married and you should be here with me, Mother. You should be sitting by my side, in the living room of my tum- bledown cottage in Lichfield, keeping me company on my last night as a single woman. Your feet should be propped up on the coffee table; mine tucked beneath me. You always liked stretching out your feet, because you said it was good for the circulation. Our hands should be cradling mugs of hot milky coffee, our lips blowing the steam away before taking that first sip. The TV should be on, tuned into an old black and white film – Bette Davis perhaps, or better still, Vivien Leigh, your favourite, because in your youth everyone said you had a Scarlett O’Hara smile. And later at night, before making our way up the staircase to our respective bedrooms, we could have a final peek at my wedding dress. There it’ll be, hanging outside the wardrobe in all its sequinned finery, catching the glow from the lightbulb as we step inside my room and flick the switch by the door, transposing drabness into magic: a shimmering satin splendour. In fact, rather like you.

You should be here on this special night, supporting me, calming my nerves, stroking my face, murmuring, It’ll be fine, darling. It’ll be fine. 

But you’re not here. Instead of cradling a mug of coffee in my hands, I’m clutching a letter. A crumpled letter, with fine calligraphy that’s smudged with water stains. Tears, actually. A letter you never knew about, because I slipped it in my bag before you had the chance to spot it in the hall at Belle View on my last visit home. Good job I was standing there at the time, putting on my jacket and getting ready to leave at the very moment the postman pushed the envelope through the letter box. You were in the kitchen, clattering about by the sink, washing up mugs, delaying the bitter sorrow of parting. So I stole the letter - which was addressed to you but definitely from him, because I recognised his handwriting - and I read it on the inter-city train from Lyneham-on-Sea to Birmingham, then the local one to Lichfield. I read it multiple times, on both journeys. Every word of it. That’s when I knew there was no point in calling off the wedding. That’s when it finally hit home that there was no other way.

Wendy Skorupski had an international upbringing in Cyprus and Vienna and graduated
from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in England. She lives in the beautiful historic city of Krakow in Southern Poland and works in the field of international education. Her first dream was to be a concert pianist, just like Leah Cavanagh in her latest novel, Infinite Stranger, therefore she writes about this little-known world from first-hand experience. Infinite Stranger was also inspired by the murder of Wendy’s late mother’s fiancé, Peter Fox - a tragic event that changed the course of her life and provided the backdrop to the novel.

Wendy is the mother of three wonderful children and the owner of a stubborn but loveable Belgian Malinois. During her daily brisk walks with this high-energy dog, ideas for her writing abound.

Wendy is also the author of the novel, Once Upon a Thousand Hills, available on Amazon. She is currently working on her next novel.

Wendy’s blog can be found on:

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