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The Road through Rushbury

The Road through Rushbury

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All she needs is a little bit of change. She'll have to fight him for it.

Main Tropes

  • Fish out of Water
  • Spinster


Georgiana Paige is on the shelf after eight full Seasons in London and not a single offer of marriage. When the opportunity to act as companion to her spinster aunt presents itself, she jumps at the chance to escape the Marriage Mart and embark on a new adventure. Upon her eventful arrival in the tiny Yorkshire village, though, she finds herself confronted with a man who both piques her interest and provokes her pride.

A lowly country vicar, Samuel Derrick would do anything to keep his coarse but idyllic parish the way it is. When change arrives there in the form of multiple new tenants straight from London, he vows to fight against their meddling. He is unprepared, though, for Georgiana Paige and the way she forces herself into the inner workings of the parish. His past experience tells him to keep the woman at arm's length, but his heart—and her determination to stay involved—won't allow for it.

As the village fights against the industrialization and poverty sweeping the North, Samuel and Georgiana find themselves working to pull the village together, even as those around them seemed determined to pull it apart. But how can two people who have lived such disparate lives bring anything together when they are fighting against their own desires for change and love?

Intro to Chapter 1

Ten thousand. 

That was the number of pins Georgiana Paige estimated she’d had stuck in her hair since her coming out eight years ago. She winced as her maid placed another one, the edge of it prodding the crown of her head in much the same way the heel of a boot prods at a reluctant horse.

Georgiana relaxed as her maid stepped back, making a final adjustment to the coiffure. It was not Georgiana’s preferred way to wear her hair, but she didn’t care enough to dispute it. One could only muster so much opinion on such a matter. She dismissed the maid and was left alone with her younger sister Daphne.

“You look magnificent!” Daphne’s voice was almost reverent as she stepped forward and surveyed Georgiana in the mirror in front of them.

Georgiana looked up at her with a twinkle in her eye. “I look too old for this hairstyle, that’s what I look.” She stood and smoothed her skirts.

“Nonsense,” Daphne said. “You mustn’t think that way, Georgie.” She pursed her lips together in a manner entirely at odds with her youthful naiveté. “You must consider tonight’s ball as though it were your very first—and you freshly arrived in Town.”

Georgiana took stock of herself in the long mirror. “I feel as though I have been here an eternity.” She said it softly, almost to herself. She was every bit as plain as she had been upon her coming out—hair a nondescript shade of brown, a nose too long to convey the delicacy so valued in Society—and her face was showing subtle signs of the years that had passed: light wrinkles at the outer edges of her eyes and on her forehead, and a few pale freckles on her nose.

Utterly forgettable. Those were the words she had once overheard applied to her appearance. They had stung at the time, but there was truth to them, no doubt. She turned from the mirror and smiled at her sister.

“I cannot imagine tiring of London,” Daphne said with a sigh, plopping down on the bed and pulling a pillow into her arms. 

“Well, let us hope, then, that you haven’t occasion to spend as many Seasons as I have here, for I assure you that eight of them is more than ample time to give you a distaste for Society.” Georgiana held out the crook of her arm, and Daphne rose to take it, accompanying her out of the bedchamber and down the corridor.

“But,” Daphne sputtered, “with all the balls, routs, evenings at the theater—”

“All begin to blend together.”

Daphne frowned. “But surely there are enough new people each Season to provide plenty of variety?”

Georgiana smiled. She remembered being on the cusp of her first Season, just as Daphne was—the fluttering nerves as she prepared for her first ball, the anticipation of making a smart match. Never would she have imagined that she would be doing all the same things nearly a decade later, no closer to marriage than when she had been in the schoolroom. 

“I’m afraid they, too, begin to blend together, Daph. I have found that there is not much to choose amongst the gentlemen here—they are very much the same.” She patted Daphne’s arm. “But you mustn’t listen to me, you know, for I am nothing but a jaded spinster.”

A gasp came from Daphne, and Georgiana glanced at her amusedly before rushing on. “I am determined to begin wearing caps and warm shawls and perhaps even adopt a cat to keep me company, in which case I shall forever be carrying it in my arms and saving it scraps of food from the dinner table.”

Daphne let out a giggle and elbowed her as they came to the dining room. “Stop being ridiculous, Georgie. You are not a spinster. We will find someone for you yet!”

“Thank you, my dear, but for some time now, I have thought that nothing would suit me better than living out my life in some solitary cottage, far from the sights and smells of Town.” They broke arms, and Georgiana turned, looking down at Daphne and shedding her humor. “I am terribly sorry that you find yourself having to wait for your turn at London because of me. I hardly think that Papa realized what he was agreeing to when he said he didn’t want two daughters out in Society at once. I believe he meant it as a way to spur me to action, but it has instead merely served to hurt you.”

Daphne managed a smile. “It isn’t your fault, Georgie. And I only have to wait another year, even if you don’t make a match this Season.” 

Georgiana shut her eyes briefly. The likelihood of her marrying in the next few months was so negligible as to be ridiculous. And to someone like Daphne, a year was an eternity. Daphne should not be punished for Georgiana’s inability to elicit an offer.

Footsteps sounded, and their parents entered the dining room, her father glancing around.

“Where is Archibald?” He looked more grave than usual.

Georgiana shrugged her shoulders. It was rare that they knew her brother’s whereabouts. “I imagine he will arrive halfway through dinner as he often does.”

Her father pursed his lips and motioned for them all to take their seats.

Daphne looked at Georgiana consideringly as she pulled at her glove fingertips to remove them. “How is it that Archie can spend even more Seasons than you in London and yet still find plenty of enjoyment and to spare?”

Georgiana’s eyes flitted to her father, who was listening with a slight crease to his brow. He worried over Archie’s unceasing ability to enjoy London—and the corresponding ability to spend money. No doubt Georgiana would have found more pleasure in London if she enjoyed the freedom that her brother did. 

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