Today I am on the Blog Tour for The Spanish Girl and I am here with an extract for you all.
Before I share that though, here’s some information on the book.
Title: The Spanish Girl Author: Eugene Vesey Publisher: Clink Street Publishing Published: 21st April 2022 Format: Paperback Source: N/A Summary: The Spanish Girl is a love story, but one with an unexpected ending. Frank Walsh, a young teacher in 1980s London, is unhappily married to Rania, a young Guyanese girl who was a student in one of his English classes. Rania runs to Frank to escape from her overbearing Muslim family. She is also looking for a surrogate father, her biological father having died when she was a child.
Frank takes Rania in. However, he soon realises they are incompatible, their coexistence made unbearable by a clash of personalities and cultures. He feels trapped: he doesn’t have the heart to leave Rania, because it would mean sending her back to her oppressive family; it would also mean finding himself alone again.
While teaching on a summer school in Dublin, Frank falls in love with Ana, a Spanish girl in his class. He hopes Ana will be his escape route from his unhappy marriage. But his love for Ana hits a wall he never expected.
Then someone else unexpectedly comes into his life. He falls in love again, but it’s a love far more powerful than anything he has ever experienced or imagined before.
‘My father is very bad-tempered,’ Ana said. ‘Once he didn’t speak to me for two months.’
He laughed and took a quaff of the excellent stout. They were in the Stag’s Head, one of his favourite hostelries in the centre of Dublin, close to the university, Trinity College, with its ‘surly front’ as Joyce described it, where he was teaching on an English language summer school for foreign students. Entering the Stag’s Head was like stepping into a hundred-year time warp. It was all dark wood, tile and marble and high, ornately-plastered ceilings. They were in one of the cosy wood and cut-glass-panelled snugs. It probably hadn’t changed much since Joyce’s time.
She reminded him of the young waitress in the hotel in San Sebastian where he had stayed with his mother for a week on their way to Lourdes. How long ago was that? Eighteen years! He was twenty-one, still a seminarian, but sick in soul because, having lost his faith, he had lost his vocation to the priesthood too, but after nine years couldn’t find the courage to leave and go back to the world he had left behind at the age of twelve, a world that was like another planet now.
At dinner in the hotel with his mother, who felt more like a chaperone than a companion, he had stolen surreptitious guilty glances at the young Spanish waitress with hopeless longing, crushed by the thought that if he stayed in this way of life he could never have a girlfriend like her, or any girlfriend, never have a wife, never have children, never be normal…
And now here he was, in a pub in central Dublin eighteen years later, chatting up a pretty young Spanish girl who looked not totally unlike that Spanish waitress all those years ago! A ripple of triumph went through him at the thought. He had escaped his fate, turned the tables on it, defied it! He had come through, to quote DH Lawrence, and come out the other side, though it had almost destroyed him.
Now he was in a different world, the real world, the world that, ironically, he had read about enviously in novels, the world of real people, of real men and women, normal people, not celibate sorcerers in black frocks who dealt in black magic and mumbo jumbo; the world where men and women met and mingled, fell in love, made love, had sex, made children, lived together, lived.
‘What did you do to upset him so much?’ he asked her with a wry smile, wondering if he should ask if it had been something to do with a boy, but refraining, because she seemed so innocent.
‘I told him I wanted to go to England.’
‘You mean, to live in England?’
‘Yes. Just for a year. To study.’
‘And he wouldn’t let you? But you’re twenty-one. He can’t stop you, can he?’
‘He stopped speaking to me.’
‘For two months?’
‘Yes. Until I agreed not to. That’s why I’ve come here. It’s a compromise with him.’
‘It’s not enough, three weeks.’
‘I know. But I can’t disobey him. I’m afraid of him.’
‘You’re afraid of your father?’
‘He loves me.’
‘He loves you too much then!’
‘Yes, he’s very possessive.’
‘He has to let you go sooner or later.’ He felt fraudulent saying it. What did he know, he who wasn’t a father yet, might never be, if the doctors were right?
‘Yes. But only when I get married.’
‘I see. Will you get married?’
‘I hope one day.’
About the Author
Eugene Vesey was born and brought up in an Irish Catholic family in Manchester, where he attended Xaverian College, a Roman Catholic grammar school, until age 11. From 12 to 21 he continued his education at Roman Catholic seminaries in the English Lake District and English Midlands, where he also studied philosophy and theology. (His first novel Ghosters is in part based on his experience of Roman Catholic seminaries.)Having left the seminary, he graduated with an honours degree in English language and literature from the University of Manchester and obtained a postgraduate certificate in education from the University of Liverpool. He lives and works in London, where he has taught English as a foreign language in colleges for many years. He also taught for many years on English language summer schools in Trinity College, Dublin, an experience that has left him with an abiding affection for that city, which he revisits regularly. Because of his Irish heritage he also has a deep love for Ireland and Irish culture, particularly Irish literature and music. Apart from writing, he enjoys reading, listening to music, going to concerts, studying classical languages, gardening, walking and watching Manchester United. Politically Eugene describes himself as a ‘democratic socialist’ as well as an environmentalist. He is also a vegetarian and keen supporter of animal rights charities. Eugene has self-published four novels so far: Ghosters, Opposite Worlds, Italian Girls, Hearts and Crosses.The Spanish Girl will be his fifth novel. He has also published two volumes of poetry, Venice and Other Poems and Thirty-Nine Poems.