Her Heart For A Compass by Sarah Ferguson Duchess of York @MillsandBoon @SianBaldwin

London 1865

In an effort to rebel against a society where women are expected to conform, free-spirited Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott flees her confines, and an arranged marriage. But Lady Margaret’s parents, the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, as close friends with Queen Victoria, must face the public scrutiny of their daughter’s impulsive nature, and Margaret is banished from polite society.

Finding strength amongst equally free-spirited companions, including Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Louise, Margaret embarks on a journey of self-discovery that will take her to Ireland, America, and then back to Britain, in search of the life she was always meant to lead and the love she meant to find.

Incorporating research into her heritage and drawing upon her own unique life journey, the Duchess, with co-writer Marguerite Kaye, pens a fictional account of the life of her great-great-aunt, Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott. Rich in historical detail, and set amongst the drawing rooms of Victoria’s court, and the grand country houses of Scotland and Ireland, Her Heart for a Compass is a breathtaking romantic novel of daring to follow your heart against all odds.

Her Heart For A Compass is a sumptuous historical work of fiction written by Sarah Ferguson The Duchess of York. I’ve long been an admirer of the author, I found her to be a breath of fresh air when she joined the royal family and she has always seemed a hardworking, true to herself whirlwind despite the bad press that always seems to stalk her. But the main reason I wanted to read her first historical novel for Mills and Boon actually came from wanting to read about the history of the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch as I also have a connection to the family-but in a much less personal way than Sarah Ferguson! My father in law worked for the present Duke on his estate at Bowhill and when he died, the Duke gave permission for a tree to be planted in his honour on the estate and his ashes were then scattered at the tree. So we often go to Bowhill to visit “Grandpa’s tree” and it’s a place that’s understandably become very special to us.

Her Heart for a Compass isn’t your typical historical romantic fiction, no “bodice-ripping”, instead it’s the story of a fiery woman (in hair colour and personality!) making her way in a world that’s not quite ready for her! Lady Margaret flees from a marriage arrangement that puts her at odds with her family and this is the story of her search for love and happiness in a world far away from the comforts of her high society upbringing. Although the known facts about her life are woven intricately throughout, most of this novel is a fictional imagining of her journey to those known historical events. And Sarah Ferguson and her co-writer Marguerite Kaye have done a great job of building up a character who does in fact seem very like the Duchess herself-red haired, determined to make her mark on the world against the confines of the life she finds herself in simply because of the family she was born (married) into.

Her Heart For a Compass is a breathtaking and fascinating book. The narrative is interspersed with letters between the main characters and clips from the society pages at the time and this adds a greater depth of understanding of the time period and society’s view of women during the Victorian period. It works well due that foundation layer of perception and I found that even though this is a doorstopper of a book, it never felt like it.

A captivating storyline with an unforgettable heroine, I thoroughly enjoyed this!

The Duchess of York is a global humanitarian, businesswoman, best selling children’s book author, producer and wellness advocate.

In 1993 she founded Children in Crisis and the charity has educated over 1.4 million children, trained over 18,000 teachers, built 57 schools and supports hundreds of schools on a yearly basis. Recently CIC merged with Street Child and The Duchess is Founder Patron, remaining active in its mission to provide education to forgotten children around the world. She has recently returned from visiting Street Child’s projects in Nepal and Sierra Leone, supporting the most marginalised into education and out of bonded labour.

The Duchess has published over 55 books including two autobiographies and titles dealing with health, empowerment, history, art, as well as children’s stories. A seven book series for young readers has recently been signed in Australia and New Zealand, with the first 3 books ‘The Enchanted Oak Tree’, ‘Genie Gems’ and ‘Arthur Fantastic’ published shortly. Four books from the original ‘Helping Hands’ series have recently been re-released. Other children’s books include the series of ‘Budgie the Little Helicopter’, adapted into a highly successful animated series on US primetime Fox and the children’s book ‘Tea for Ruby’, published by Simon and Schuster which had it’s debut at the top of the New York Times bestseller list. Other books include ‘What I know now: Lessons Learnt The Hard Way’; the aforementioned 12 book series ‘Helping Hands’ with Lloyds Pharmacy and a five book children’s series about the adventures of ‘Little Red’. The Duchess retraced Queen Victoria’s travels abroad to co-write ‘Travels with Queen Victoria’ as well as ‘Osborne House’.

The subject of countless media interviews herself, The Duchess has also found success as a reporter and presenter. In America, she has been a special correspondent for NBC’s Today show and has presented specials and documentaries on ABC, FOX, and CNN. In Britain, she has presented and co-produced specials for ITV, BBC, and Sky TV. She has served as guest editor on BBC Radio 4 Today programme and has regularly contributed to BBC Radio 2’s primetime lifestyle show “Steve Wright.

In 2020, the Duchess founded her new charitable trust, Sarah’s Trust and in June 2021 she became an International Ambassador for Montessori.

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I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.