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Her Heart for a Compass

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From one of the most famous former members of the British royal family, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York —a mesmerizing novel of a young noblewoman’s coming-of-age that richly details both high society and low in Victorian England. Queen Victoria’s close friend, the Scottish Duke of Buccleuch, Lady Margaret Montagu Scott is expected to make an advantageous marriage. But Marg From one of the most famous former members of the British royal family, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York —a mesmerizing novel of a young noblewoman’s coming-of-age that richly details both high society and low in Victorian England. Queen Victoria’s close friend, the Scottish Duke of Buccleuch, Lady Margaret Montagu Scott is expected to make an advantageous marriage. But Margaret is an impulsive and outspoken girl in a repressive society where women are, quite literally, caged in corsets and required to conform. When Lady Margaret’s parents arrange a society marriage for her, she tries to reconcile herself to the match. But shortly before her betrothal is announced, Margaret flees, leaving her parents to explain her sudden absence to an opulent ballroom stuffed with two hundred distinguished guests. Banished from polite society, Margaret throws herself into charitable work and finds strength in a circle of female friends like herself—women intent on breaking the mold, including Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Louise. Margaret resolves to follow her heart—a journey of self-discovery that will take her to Ireland, America, and then back to Britain where she finds the life she was always meant to lead. A bold and thoughtful story about a rebellious woman finding herself and her voice in an age of astounding technological change and great social unrest, Her Heart for a Compass is a delicious costume drama rich in atmosphere, history, and color.


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From one of the most famous former members of the British royal family, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York —a mesmerizing novel of a young noblewoman’s coming-of-age that richly details both high society and low in Victorian England. Queen Victoria’s close friend, the Scottish Duke of Buccleuch, Lady Margaret Montagu Scott is expected to make an advantageous marriage. But Marg From one of the most famous former members of the British royal family, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York —a mesmerizing novel of a young noblewoman’s coming-of-age that richly details both high society and low in Victorian England. Queen Victoria’s close friend, the Scottish Duke of Buccleuch, Lady Margaret Montagu Scott is expected to make an advantageous marriage. But Margaret is an impulsive and outspoken girl in a repressive society where women are, quite literally, caged in corsets and required to conform. When Lady Margaret’s parents arrange a society marriage for her, she tries to reconcile herself to the match. But shortly before her betrothal is announced, Margaret flees, leaving her parents to explain her sudden absence to an opulent ballroom stuffed with two hundred distinguished guests. Banished from polite society, Margaret throws herself into charitable work and finds strength in a circle of female friends like herself—women intent on breaking the mold, including Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Louise. Margaret resolves to follow her heart—a journey of self-discovery that will take her to Ireland, America, and then back to Britain where she finds the life she was always meant to lead. A bold and thoughtful story about a rebellious woman finding herself and her voice in an age of astounding technological change and great social unrest, Her Heart for a Compass is a delicious costume drama rich in atmosphere, history, and color.

30 review for Her Heart for a Compass

  1. 4 out of 5

    Caz

    I did a joint review of this one with one of my fellow AAR staffers, Evelyn North. We both gave it the same grade - B/4 stars. Her Heart for a Compass is the first (adult) novel by Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, and in it, she and her co-writer, historical romance author Marguerite Kaye, explore the life of one of the Duchess’ ancestors, Lady Margaret Montagu Scott, a young woman who defied the strict conventions of Victorian England to live life under her own terms. You can read our review at I did a joint review of this one with one of my fellow AAR staffers, Evelyn North. We both gave it the same grade - B/4 stars. Her Heart for a Compass is the first (adult) novel by Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, and in it, she and her co-writer, historical romance author Marguerite Kaye, explore the life of one of the Duchess’ ancestors, Lady Margaret Montagu Scott, a young woman who defied the strict conventions of Victorian England to live life under her own terms. You can read our review at All About Romance.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kate Eminhizer

    In my opinion, this book was just simply mediocre. I went into it believing I would be swept away and what I got was a character that I just couldn't find any empathy with. The main character, Lady Margaret, is a somewhat spunky teenager who rebels at what her expected responsibilities are. In defying her father's wishes, she is forced to reflect upon her life and her desires. As she finds a way to carve a life out for herself she learns what it is important and what she is capable of. Along the In my opinion, this book was just simply mediocre. I went into it believing I would be swept away and what I got was a character that I just couldn't find any empathy with. The main character, Lady Margaret, is a somewhat spunky teenager who rebels at what her expected responsibilities are. In defying her father's wishes, she is forced to reflect upon her life and her desires. As she finds a way to carve a life out for herself she learns what it is important and what she is capable of. Along the way she finds love and purpose. In some aspects the book unfolds as follows: a rich girl throws a tantrum and eventually gets what she wants. That doesn't make for a compelling plot. The author did do a good job at representing the differences of social class in both London and New York. Lady Margaret represents all those of the upper class who made exceptional changes to the status quo in order to better the opportunities available for those less fortunate. I received a copy of this title via NetGalley.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Adele

    I really enjoyed this debut adult novel by Sarah Ferguson. What I particularly loved was the inspiration behind the leading lady, Lady Margaret, who was a member of the author’s own family and with further research alongside her mentor and co-author, Marguerite Kaye, a novel filled with history, intrigue, hope, compassion, inspiration, emotion, bravery and romance was formed. Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott is the second daughter for the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch. Margaret is 20 years old I really enjoyed this debut adult novel by Sarah Ferguson. What I particularly loved was the inspiration behind the leading lady, Lady Margaret, who was a member of the author’s own family and with further research alongside her mentor and co-author, Marguerite Kaye, a novel filled with history, intrigue, hope, compassion, inspiration, emotion, bravery and romance was formed. Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott is the second daughter for the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch. Margaret is 20 years old and is a little perturbed with society rules and what is expected of her. The Duke has chosen a suitable husband for Margaret but she doesn’t love him, she doesn’t really like him and is in a quandary of her options, if she does have any? Does she betray her heart and marry someone she doesn’t like as that is expected of her or does she betray her family and refuse to obey to the rules festooned upon the aristocrats of the era? What a situation to find oneself in! We follow Lady Margaret on her journey of self-discovery, of listening to her heart and to her mind. The story takes us to London, Scotland, Dublin and New York. We encounter many new people that leave a lasting impression on Margaret’s life and give her the much needed strength and guidance for what lies ahead. Lady Margaret is a very likeable characters; she’s smart, brave, a little feisty, kind, compassionate and aspirational. She doesn’t want to conform like her sister and peers, she wants more for her life and more for those kind souls she meets in her quest to find the direction her heart desires. Sarah Ferguson has written a very readable historical romance that is full of atmosphere transporting the reader to a time and place that belongs to the characters in the book. There are moments of compassion, empathy, stepping out of your comfort zone that leave you inspired for a young woman with dreams of a better place for many. Your emotions will become heightened as you wrap yourself around Margaret’s world and the romance will fill your heart with joy.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Vivien Parry

    Sailing into love! When I first heard about this book I was intrigued, the synopsis was just the type of book I enjoyed. Lady Margaret enters the frame running from a party where her betrothement is about to be declared. She shudders at the thought of the match her father had made for her in Killin and although she has tried, she cannot stand him and doesn't want to marry him. When her refusal is heard by her father, she is banished from the family to learn a lesson. Margaret's life takes a furth Sailing into love! When I first heard about this book I was intrigued, the synopsis was just the type of book I enjoyed. Lady Margaret enters the frame running from a party where her betrothement is about to be declared. She shudders at the thought of the match her father had made for her in Killin and although she has tried, she cannot stand him and doesn't want to marry him. When her refusal is heard by her father, she is banished from the family to learn a lesson. Margaret's life takes a further turn when she is banished to Ireland after a second refusal to marry Killin. Her correspondence with Lochiel, a friend of her father's finds feelings growing but she doesn't feel ready to marry and when she refused Lochiel, she travels to America to start a new life. When I first started to read I thought Margaret a ninny and flighty but the more I read the more I saw her to be growing in character and in confidence. Her travels were the journey she needed to make to find her way back into society and to the man she was destined to marry. At times the letters within the book made me sob uncontrollably at the harsh way she was treated by her father and that the was ostracized by her family and friends. I can't wait to see what the next book will be like as this one was a surprise and a great read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tanya Nellestein

    I actually really enjoyed this book! Lady Margaret resonated with me. A wonderful story of strength, independence, compassion and love. But I hated Louise!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Vicki Vass

    Bumped up a star when I found out this was based on an actual individual. I enjoyed this book and read it quickly.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joanne

    I thoroughly enjoyed every page of this 450 page historical novel! Even though the story had a delightful ending, I could have easily read more! Each page was full of masterly worded descriptions of either a location, castle or article of clothing! Like all historical novels, there were characters based on real people and many who were fictional. Beginning in London in 1865, it is the story of Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott, who rebels all that society and her family expect from her and emb I thoroughly enjoyed every page of this 450 page historical novel! Even though the story had a delightful ending, I could have easily read more! Each page was full of masterly worded descriptions of either a location, castle or article of clothing! Like all historical novels, there were characters based on real people and many who were fictional. Beginning in London in 1865, it is the story of Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott, who rebels all that society and her family expect from her and embarks on a journey of her own She travels from London, to Scotland, across the pond to New York City and eventually back to Scotland; in each place carving a path of her own and meeting many influential people along the way! As soon as Sarah's next book is written, I am rushing to read that, as well!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Cormier

    This is the story of Lady Margaret Scott the real ancestor of the author, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. Lady Margaret is suppose to marry a husband her father's picks for her that is advantageous for the family. It is 1865. Read this novel to see how Lady Margaret finds her voice as she refuses to do what her father and society expect. The book is 549 pages. Worth reading every page. This is the story of Lady Margaret Scott the real ancestor of the author, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. Lady Margaret is suppose to marry a husband her father's picks for her that is advantageous for the family. It is 1865. Read this novel to see how Lady Margaret finds her voice as she refuses to do what her father and society expect. The book is 549 pages. Worth reading every page.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rosie Amber

    Her Heart For A Compass is a Victorian romance. It is based around a true character, Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott, and the authors of this book have created a fictional tale about her life. As a second daughter of a Duke, Lady Margaret was brought up to do her duty by both her family and the society in which she lived. However, she rebelled against her father’s wishes Lady Margaret’s refusal set her on a lonely path as she was sent away from her family, but as the story progressed Lady Mar Her Heart For A Compass is a Victorian romance. It is based around a true character, Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott, and the authors of this book have created a fictional tale about her life. As a second daughter of a Duke, Lady Margaret was brought up to do her duty by both her family and the society in which she lived. However, she rebelled against her father’s wishes Lady Margaret’s refusal set her on a lonely path as she was sent away from her family, but as the story progressed Lady Margaret followed her heart and grew in confidence to become an independent woman; a rarity in Victorian England. During the story the reader is taken on a journey which included Scotland, Lambeth in London and New York, and I could easily picture the settings. The narrative is sprinkled with letters between Margaret, her family and friends, as well as several newspaper articles written about Margaret; not usually a fan of such inclusions, I was surprised by how well I thought they worked for this book. The author’s notes at the back of the book explain that Lady Margaret is loosely based on a relative of Sarah Ferguson the Duchess Of York, who wrote this book with her co-author Marguerite Kaye. I’m sure that the Duchess’s knowledge of royal etiquette must have helped enormously as far as giving the story authenticity is concerned. I must mention this is a long book, with my paperback version reaching almost 550 pages. I felt there was room to shorten the narrative without taking away too much of the story. In other areas, a few times dialogue was used to convey information to the reader, in a fashion that made the dialogue seem unnatural; the facts could have been interspersed in the narrative instead. Overall, this is the first attempt at writing for an adult audience by the Duchess and I’m sure it will be popular. I look forward to seeing what she writes next.

  10. 4 out of 5

    HalKid2

    I knew Sarah Ferguson had written a series of kids books, so I was both surprised and intrigued when I learned she was branching out into the historical fiction genre (my favorite). And excited about seeing what a royal-insider might be able to do. You won't see the name on the book jacket, but on the title page, you will see Ferguson had a co-writer, historical romance author Marguerite Kaye. Unfortunately, for me, even with Kaye's help, HER HEART FOR A COMPASS turns out to be just an OK read. I knew Sarah Ferguson had written a series of kids books, so I was both surprised and intrigued when I learned she was branching out into the historical fiction genre (my favorite). And excited about seeing what a royal-insider might be able to do. You won't see the name on the book jacket, but on the title page, you will see Ferguson had a co-writer, historical romance author Marguerite Kaye. Unfortunately, for me, even with Kaye's help, HER HEART FOR A COMPASS turns out to be just an OK read. The novel centers on a distant relation of the Duchess, Lady Margaret Montagu Scott, the second daughter of a Scottish Duke, who lived during the Victorian age. But this book does NOT actually tell HER story. According to Ferguson, this story is largely made up -- since virtually nothing is known about Lady Margaret. Which I suppose has the advantage of allowing Ferguson and Kaye free rein in creating this novel. Ferguson also explains in the Author's Note that the book contains elements of her own story as well. Here's how. Lady Margaret is a free spirit who refuses to conform to the expectations of her age. She is more outspoken and independent than women of her age are supposed to be. She refuses to marry a man for the betterment of her family and disregards the wishes of her parents. All causing a scandal. Instead, Lady Margaret prefers to live according to what she wishes. (Sound familiar?) How Lady Margaret experiments with her hard-won freedom (including travels to Ireland and later, the United States), how she manages to earn some money, how she tries to improve the lot of impoverished people, and how she deals with love -- all these make up the substance of the story Ferguson and Kaye created. It's a fine story. It's compelling enough to keep you reading. The writing is acceptable. But it didn't quite hang together for me and it is probably about 100 pages longer than it needed to be, if it was a tightly written book. So, if you, like me, are curious about what the Duchess of York can do as a writer, enjoy!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    To be fair, I only borrowed this book from my library as it was written by Sarah Ferguson and I was curious and intrigued. Being a Mills and Boons book (and only having read a handful when I was much younger), I was expecting torn bodices and heaving breasts and chaste kisses ... so I really had no expectations. This book was okay - outside of my usual genre so I find it a bit difficult to judge by comparison and I'm unlikely to ever pick up something else she writes. It was fairly obvious what w To be fair, I only borrowed this book from my library as it was written by Sarah Ferguson and I was curious and intrigued. Being a Mills and Boons book (and only having read a handful when I was much younger), I was expecting torn bodices and heaving breasts and chaste kisses ... so I really had no expectations. This book was okay - outside of my usual genre so I find it a bit difficult to judge by comparison and I'm unlikely to ever pick up something else she writes. It was fairly obvious what would happen and who the protaganist would eventually connect with but I figure that is a historical romance novel trope. It was interesting reading about the societal expectations of women in the 1860s and the reader could draw comparisons between "society" in England and in America. But, it didn't stir me in a way that would have long lasting impact on me. Maybe it wasn't meant to and it was just written for entertainment - if that's the case, then it was a good book as it did its job. It is not a challenging read and you can pick it up and put it down without losing any of the plot.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sharyn

    Headstrong woman finds her place Sarah Ferguson's debut novel is lovely, with hints of her own life (and apparently the heroine is a distant relation). There is so much to like in this book, a Duke's daughter Margaret, who is best friends with Queen Victoria's daughter Louise ( a sculptress and independent woman herself) refuses to be married to a man she doesn't like, and who she suspects doesn't like her. Her father exiles her to Ireland to get her to change her mind. The ramifications of this Headstrong woman finds her place Sarah Ferguson's debut novel is lovely, with hints of her own life (and apparently the heroine is a distant relation). There is so much to like in this book, a Duke's daughter Margaret, who is best friends with Queen Victoria's daughter Louise ( a sculptress and independent woman herself) refuses to be married to a man she doesn't like, and who she suspects doesn't like her. Her father exiles her to Ireland to get her to change her mind. The ramifications of this are the rest of the story as Margaret finds ways to help the poor, travel and become a writer. As this is historical fiction as well as a romance, there is a very happy ending. Thanks to Goodreads for my winning this book. I am so glad I read it, and highly recommend it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn E Hagen

    I read this book in three days. The articles I'd read previously all talked about the fact that Sarah, Duchess of York, had written a historical novel. None said what the book was really about. Lady Margaret is a fictionalized version of an actual ancestor of the Duchess. We first meet her when she's is going to be betrothed to a man she has no desire to marry because her father says it's her duty. The marriage will benefit the family fortune. What's a young Victorian lady to do? Lady Margaret ca I read this book in three days. The articles I'd read previously all talked about the fact that Sarah, Duchess of York, had written a historical novel. None said what the book was really about. Lady Margaret is a fictionalized version of an actual ancestor of the Duchess. We first meet her when she's is going to be betrothed to a man she has no desire to marry because her father says it's her duty. The marriage will benefit the family fortune. What's a young Victorian lady to do? Lady Margaret can't think of anything to do except to run away. And that is when her many adventures begin. I thought the book was very well-written and researched. Letters from one character to another are interspersed with the chapters, as well as the text of a few newspaper articles. I was only distracted once, when Lady Margaret and Princess Louise are talking and one uses the word "squish." I thought, aha, an anachronism! But I was wrong because "squish" was first used in 1647! A co-author is not named on the cover but is thanked in the afterword. I can easily imagine this being made into a film or series. Lady Margaret does what the book's title describes: she uses her heart for a compass, and finds her own way in a time when women couldn't even vote and were burdened by bustles and other cumbersome garments.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bess

    No literary genius here. 1860s UK setting with a divergence to NYC. It was very much a knockoff Bridgerton with the society season and the queen approving the latest debutantes whose only purpose in life is to marry up in station to improve the families wealth. Complete with gossipy news snippets. The heroine finds her voice in New York but in the end returns to her homeland where she finds love, is reunited with her family and again is in favor with the queen.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Very well written. However, about half of the book could probably be cut out. There's a lot of pointless exposition, but it was still a fun read, especially if you would like to get lost in the world of a Victorian aristocrat for a while. Very well written. However, about half of the book could probably be cut out. There's a lot of pointless exposition, but it was still a fun read, especially if you would like to get lost in the world of a Victorian aristocrat for a while.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lilyane

    Not very well written. What kept me from giving up were the epistolary parts of the book: I found them more interesting and emotional than the narrative. I can't in good conscience recommend "Her Heart for a Compass": there are so many far better historical novels available. Not very well written. What kept me from giving up were the epistolary parts of the book: I found them more interesting and emotional than the narrative. I can't in good conscience recommend "Her Heart for a Compass": there are so many far better historical novels available.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lorraine

    “Her Heart for a Compass” is an enjoyable historical novel that will appeal to a lot of readers. The burning question for many potential readers is, of course, can Ferguson write, or is this just a vanity project? Happily, Ferguson can indeed write, and in an accessible style that makes this long novel no hardship to read. Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott is having to face up to the fact that she simply can’t marry the man her parents have chosen for her. She detests him. And ultimately, despi “Her Heart for a Compass” is an enjoyable historical novel that will appeal to a lot of readers. The burning question for many potential readers is, of course, can Ferguson write, or is this just a vanity project? Happily, Ferguson can indeed write, and in an accessible style that makes this long novel no hardship to read. Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott is having to face up to the fact that she simply can’t marry the man her parents have chosen for her. She detests him. And ultimately, despite intense pressure – especially from her bully of a father – she refuses. This triggers a long journey, literal and metaphorical, to find the life she wants to live. It’s sometimes lonely. It encompasses the highest of society – Princess Louise is one of her friends – and the lowest, as Margaret attempts to help alleviate the effects of poverty in some of the poorest areas. Although Margaret is not keen on society’s insistence that she should marry and mould her life to a man’s, love does find her. The novel is not highly original, but this is due more to inbuilt constraints than weakness on Ferguson’s part. For one, this is based on historical fact. Ferguson has chosen people about whom little detail is known, allowing her considerable room to build her story; but she is still bound by the known facts. Additionally, the late 1800’s had strong social mores which dramatically constrained women, particularly those from the financial and social elite. This too limits the sort of story that can be told about a woman of the time. Marguerite Kaye is cited as a co-writer. I have not read any of Kaye’s work – she’s an oft-published author of historical romances – so cannot comment on how much of this novel is her voice rather than Ferguson’s. I do suspect, given her experience, that she had a strong hand in structuring the novel. Although this is a long novel, it’s well judged in terms of detail – enough is given to bring the historical setting to life, but not enough to bog the story down. I did feel that the pace of the story flagged a little sometimes. At times it seemed a very long time between significant events. Although this may be true to life, in fiction it can lead to unfortunate dips in the pacing. However, “Her Heart for a Compass” is generally absorbing, a genuinely interesting story. A large part of this is due to the characters. They’re a particularly vivid lot, and readers will quickly come to cheer Lady Margaret on, despise her bullying father, sympathise with her mother (trapped between husband and daughter), and be intrigued by her suitors. Knowing these people were generally real, I became particularly interested in a couple and wanted to find out what happened to them in real life. For this reason I was grateful for the historical note that ends the novel, answering some of my questions. It saved me some research! Although romance is a significant element of the story – as you’d expect, given the limited prospects for women at the time – the novel includes a lot of other things. Notably, social problems of the era and social change. On balance, I probably wouldn’t call it a romance, rather just a historical novel. This is a novel that a lot of readers will enjoy. It’s well written, and the story is absorbing and interesting. The flaws are minor (some predictability and some pacing issues), and some won’t be bothered by them at all. I’d recommend that readers who like historical fiction with a strong dash of romance give this a try. If you enjoyed this review, please visit www.otherdreamsotherlives.home.blog to read more.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Chapter Ichi

    Thank you @harlequinaus for #gifting me a copy of Her Heart for a Compass @millsandboonuk @sarahferguson15 Book review: Sarah Ferguson's novel Her Heart for a Compass is mesmerising. I was enthralled from the first page and wanted to continue reading long after putting it down. This historical fiction novel is based on Sarah Ferguson's ancestors and events that occurred. Some characters created, others part of history. The story is set in the grandest of settings of London, Ireland and Scotland. S Thank you @harlequinaus for #gifting me a copy of Her Heart for a Compass @millsandboonuk @sarahferguson15 Book review: Sarah Ferguson's novel Her Heart for a Compass is mesmerising. I was enthralled from the first page and wanted to continue reading long after putting it down. This historical fiction novel is based on Sarah Ferguson's ancestors and events that occurred. Some characters created, others part of history. The story is set in the grandest of settings of London, Ireland and Scotland. Sarah's insight into this life,as the Duchess of York, influenced her research, knowledge and personal awareness of societal norms, conventions and settings. No one could write this better! This is one of the most detailed and realistic portrayals of a story set in Victorian England I have ever read. Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott, daughter of the Duke of Buccleuch is expected to marry for a good match for her family, rather than marry for love. She is cast out of society for not marrying the man her father wishes her to. Margaret is ambitious, caring, adventurous and courageous. She has a desire to help others in need and is not afraid to speak up for those who cannot. Margaret's compassion is heartwarming. There are many members of the royal family who are constantly helping others, working to ensure those suffering are supported and gain opportunities in life. Margaret is an example of this. She does not simply provide funds, she works with the children in the poorest places and gives them love, kindness and a sanctuary they have never experienced in their lives. What a character to admire. Margaret's best friend is Princess Louise, Queen Victoria's daughter and their friendship is tested as Margaret travels to Ireland and America. Margaret grows as a person and she learns to truly follow her own heart, the whole way through the novel. The romantic relationships in the novel are exciting, heartbreaking and simply beautiful. I hope to read more of Sarah Ferguson's novels. This should be made into a movie! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ #herheartforacompass #sarahferguson #royalty #ladymargaret #queenvictoria #princesslouise #chapterichi #romamcenovel #bookrecommendations

  19. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Sarah Ferguson has long been known for her wonderful story-telling and her children's books, now we KNOW she's also an accomplished historical novelist in her own right. 'Her Heart for a Compass' is well-researched, documented and written as Sarah Ferguson speaks which has always been poetic and well-versed. The character descriptions are beyond amazing; vivid, coming to life and their personalities are evident for the reader. Lady Margaret is an appealing, feisty, female yearning for her own ch Sarah Ferguson has long been known for her wonderful story-telling and her children's books, now we KNOW she's also an accomplished historical novelist in her own right. 'Her Heart for a Compass' is well-researched, documented and written as Sarah Ferguson speaks which has always been poetic and well-versed. The character descriptions are beyond amazing; vivid, coming to life and their personalities are evident for the reader. Lady Margaret is an appealing, feisty, female yearning for her own choices in life. Her father is a bully who wants her to marry to benefit him and his friend, who also has a financial interest in sheep. Lady Margaret run away from the expected bethrothal; is ultimately banished from polite society and begins a life of charity work her fathers fails to comprehend. She grows and learns from others in her travels, including a move to NYC. Throughout the book, she falls in love and is proposed to three times, but refuses to marry "because the timing isn't right yet." I enjoyed the historical descriptions of the places, venues, apparel worn, scenery, large homes, as well as the formality of the 1800's. At times, I found bits of Sarah Ferguson's personality peeking through in the fun-loving, ambitious, liberal female of Lady Margaret! Much of this novel is fiction, but is based on the ancestory of Sarah Ferguson. It's a tender romance for Lady Margaret who places family first when all is said and done. But first, she must prove herself as an independent female rather than just woman to be married off for carrying on the family name at a young age. NOTE: Took off a star due to the many annoying typos and mistakes. Where was the editor for this long book by Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York? She deserved better by William Morrow Publishers.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Pat Carswell

    I usually miss the satisfaction of historical fiction, often losing interest because of the imitative period prose that accompanies the setting. This exquisite book grabbed me from the first page because the writing is perfectly composed and has a light-hearted humour about it. Ms Ferguson and her mentor have mastered the Victorian age, by making the characters and the storyline relevant to modern times. The multi-dimensional heroine, Lady Margaret, wonderfully characterized with deep thoughts an I usually miss the satisfaction of historical fiction, often losing interest because of the imitative period prose that accompanies the setting. This exquisite book grabbed me from the first page because the writing is perfectly composed and has a light-hearted humour about it. Ms Ferguson and her mentor have mastered the Victorian age, by making the characters and the storyline relevant to modern times. The multi-dimensional heroine, Lady Margaret, wonderfully characterized with deep thoughts and reason, is not unlike many young women coming into adulthood, feeling smothered by societal traditions and wanting to make her own way independently. Parents often are maligned for imposing their child-rearing mantras onto their daughters, particularly when it comes to romance, lifestyle and decision-making. The Scott’s are no different. Of course, Lady Maragaret’s and Princess Louise’s expectations have royal implications and far-reaching consequences as readers can clearly see and understand, thanks to exceptional portrayals and good writing. By drawing on different family, biographical and historical resources, the fictional narrative is enriched. The gripping, real storyline from an insider’s point of view is well developed over it’s time period, in the geographical settings, and through Lady Margaret’s maturity and growth of emotional intelligence. We should smile at the successful outcome and a good read. Kudos to the Duchess of York for persevering through her own life experiences over the 18 years it took to complete this fulfilling and ultimately, very personal project.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mary Hart

    5 stars I enjoyed this book. I read it quite slowly, I used it as my lunchtime read. I think it's important to state that it starts with a naive and innocent teenager who is eager to make her parents proud. The author gives a good indication of how life was for an aristocratic family, their mores, their aspirations, their obligations and challenges. Margaret is keen to be like her elder sister and make a good marriage but when introduced to her potential fiancee she's not enamoured. This first st 5 stars I enjoyed this book. I read it quite slowly, I used it as my lunchtime read. I think it's important to state that it starts with a naive and innocent teenager who is eager to make her parents proud. The author gives a good indication of how life was for an aristocratic family, their mores, their aspirations, their obligations and challenges. Margaret is keen to be like her elder sister and make a good marriage but when introduced to her potential fiancee she's not enamoured. This first stage of the books makes us realise that she's not the type of girl who will survive with a staid man. We meet a potential hero near the start and for some of the book I was thinking: what's D doing? There are other potential romantic partners and through all her challenges, Margaret grows into an independant, caring woman. There are evocative descriptions of the places, the voyages, the dress and people of the victorian age, the have and the have nots on both sides of the altantic. I like that I'm also reading some of Sarah's philosophy for life as this adds another layer in the telling of the tale. I was fascinated to use wikipedia to see the links with her ancestors on both her maternal and paternal sides. There are strong side characters that I enjoyed: Julia, Marion and even Louise, though she came across as a very fair weather friend. I'd certainly like to read more about her mentor Marion. I voluntarily read and reviewed an author donated copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Zoe M

    I wasn't expecting to be quite as blown away with this book as I was. I found it enchanting, such a delight and a pleasure to read. The background to the book is just as interesting. The book has taken 15 years to write and is based, loosely, on the real Lady Margaret and Sarah herself. It was while searching her heritage that she found Lady Margaret, a red head, strong willed woman which is where she believes her traits come from and so she had to write about her and intertwined Lady Margaret w I wasn't expecting to be quite as blown away with this book as I was. I found it enchanting, such a delight and a pleasure to read. The background to the book is just as interesting. The book has taken 15 years to write and is based, loosely, on the real Lady Margaret and Sarah herself. It was while searching her heritage that she found Lady Margaret, a red head, strong willed woman which is where she believes her traits come from and so she had to write about her and intertwined Lady Margaret with her own personal experiences. When Lady M moved to America it mirrored Sarah's life and what she did there. The story starts with Lady Margaret getting ready to announce her engagement to a man she doesn't particularly like and he doesn't particularly like her. But it was a marriage of convenience and one her parents had arranged. But instead of going ahead with it and playing the game, she refuses. What follows is an incredible journey, meeting lots of great characters along the way and eventually finding love, peace and happiness. I loved the moments she shared with Lady Louise, Queen Victoria's daughter. In between chapters were often letters or press snippets. These gave the reader the thoughts of the sender or the press! I really enjoyed this book, its beautifully told and it far exceeded my expectations. Its well researched and very credible to the era. I knew it would be good but I found it to be amazingly good and I loved it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Louisa Donovan

    If I could have given 4 1/2 stars, I would. Looking back almost a century and a half to find today's world of the aristocracy still dealing with issues like making a "proper" match and maintaining the illusion that everyone is expected to perform specific roles to keep nobility noble was slightly disheartening. That said, experiencing Lady Margaret's determination to be herself and make the world a better place for at least some marginalized people invigorated my reading experience. Operating un If I could have given 4 1/2 stars, I would. Looking back almost a century and a half to find today's world of the aristocracy still dealing with issues like making a "proper" match and maintaining the illusion that everyone is expected to perform specific roles to keep nobility noble was slightly disheartening. That said, experiencing Lady Margaret's determination to be herself and make the world a better place for at least some marginalized people invigorated my reading experience. Operating under the parameters of Queen Victoria's expectations could not have been easy for Princess Louise, however her correspondence with Lady Margaret was appropriately guarded for someone who always lived with the possibility that a letter could be waylaid to leaked to the press. Gossip columnists, clearly the paparazzi of the time, managed to sabotage relationships and careers. Upper class women had two roles, to strengthen alliances and bank accounts and to bear children who could inherit the family position. Margaret managed to escape expectation at great personal cost, made bearable by the freedom given with her annual allowance. Watching her grow from a perplexed debutante to a self assured, capable, compassionate woman brings into focus how far ahead of her time she was. The writers' craft in using gossip columns, personal correspondence, and narration allows the plot to move along in chunks of time without losing reader interest. I look forward to future collaborations like this one.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Bourque

    Okay, so I really wanted to like this book. There's nothing better than a thick, juicy period piece, plus I paid $15.00 at Costco for it. What I got instead was a travelogue of England, Ireland and the US in the 1800's and copious descriptions of houses and fashions of the very nice, saintly (and boring) Lady Margaret. At one point she fell in love with a Minister who worked for the poor. I thought, aha, here's the jumping off point. The richly brought up Margaret is going to marry the Minister a Okay, so I really wanted to like this book. There's nothing better than a thick, juicy period piece, plus I paid $15.00 at Costco for it. What I got instead was a travelogue of England, Ireland and the US in the 1800's and copious descriptions of houses and fashions of the very nice, saintly (and boring) Lady Margaret. At one point she fell in love with a Minister who worked for the poor. I thought, aha, here's the jumping off point. The richly brought up Margaret is going to marry the Minister and be banished from her family and struggle to live as a poor person. But no. On to the next country, and this turned out to be the theme over and over ad nauseum. Frankly, I knew I should have quit a third of the way through, but just kept thinking, for sure something interesting is going to pop up in the next chapter. Not so. Nothing interesting ever happens. No drama, no intrigue, nuttin'. I've said it in other reviews, nice people are great to have in your real life, but to read a novel about only nice people is extremely boring. True, her father was a villain, but we didn't see much of him. And the letters! Holy Cow! Talk about mundane! And there were sooooo many of them. I gave it three stars for the nice cover, the torn paper edges and after reading the last pages of the book, I'm pretty sure she had a ghost writer and everybody has made a pile of money using Sarah Ferguson's name. They got my money and I got 'boupkas'.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kate Walker

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. After not knowing what to expect from this book. I started reading the book with urge to get to end quickly then all my other books. I couldn't but the book down and I couldn't stop listening to the audiobook too. I found Margaret much like me life. I sometimes am aventageous like me. Iam not married or with children. I liked the Margaret in America instead of the Margaret in Scotland and liked the Margaret in Dublin and lreland the best. I can't to read the next book. I read about her heart for After not knowing what to expect from this book. I started reading the book with urge to get to end quickly then all my other books. I couldn't but the book down and I couldn't stop listening to the audiobook too. I found Margaret much like me life. I sometimes am aventageous like me. Iam not married or with children. I liked the Margaret in America instead of the Margaret in Scotland and liked the Margaret in Dublin and lreland the best. I can't to read the next book. I read about her heart for a compass buy Sarah Ferguson in hello magazine and had with the help of hello magazine I read the book and I had already chosen to read the book then too. I liked the characters Very much. At first I whated Margaret to marry Sebastian and not Donald, I liked Sebastian very much right from the very first chapters about Sebastian and later on I got to like Donald and I liked Donald at the end of the book. I liked reading the bits in the book about the queen victoria and remind me of seeing Queen Victoria's furtune in Buckingham palace in 2018 which I enjoyed ever so much. I would like to go Isle of Wight very much and I only went to the lsle of Wight when I was in second school and this I have made that I would like to go lsle of Wight next year.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Readsandeats

    I would like to thank Mills and Boon for a review copy of this book. Lady Margaret Montagu Scott find the rules and confines of her life too constricting. In an attempt to rebel she flees from her arranged marriage. However, her parents the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch have to do something as they are friends with Queen Victoria. To begin with they send her back to their home in Dalkeith, as Margaret spends time alone, she thinks about her life and decides that maybe the best thing to do is to I would like to thank Mills and Boon for a review copy of this book. Lady Margaret Montagu Scott find the rules and confines of her life too constricting. In an attempt to rebel she flees from her arranged marriage. However, her parents the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch have to do something as they are friends with Queen Victoria. To begin with they send her back to their home in Dalkeith, as Margaret spends time alone, she thinks about her life and decides that maybe the best thing to do is to follow her parents wishes. She is allowed back to London and there she learns that there could be a life out with her confines. From London she travels to Ireland and America and back to Scotland. I really enjoyed Lady Margaret as a character and her journey to finding her place in life and who she is was well written. I also enjoyed the side characters, in particular Cameron of Locheil. It was evident from the beginning that a lot of research had gone into this book, not only for the characters but as to what life was like in Victorian times. A well written 1st adult book from the Duchess of York.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    I received Her Heart for a Compass as part of a Goodreads giveaway. Lady Margaret Montagu Scott Buccleuch lives, for all intents and purposes, an exalted life: she is part of the English nobility, the daughter of a duke, and a close confidante of Queen Victoria's daughter Louise. But for Margeret, her life is a gilded cage. When a broken engagement leaves her estranged from her family, Margaret begins a journey to discover fulfillment, love, and life on her own terms. This was interesting; I loved I received Her Heart for a Compass as part of a Goodreads giveaway. Lady Margaret Montagu Scott Buccleuch lives, for all intents and purposes, an exalted life: she is part of the English nobility, the daughter of a duke, and a close confidante of Queen Victoria's daughter Louise. But for Margeret, her life is a gilded cage. When a broken engagement leaves her estranged from her family, Margaret begins a journey to discover fulfillment, love, and life on her own terms. This was interesting; I loved the look at a woman who shattered conventions in an unconventional age. Margaret was vivid and fascinating character if possibly somewhat anachronistically progressive in her views and attitudes. I do wish that there had been more of Margaret's real life to work off of however; it seems like her basic biographical details were accurate, but the major bulk of the story was guesswork. Still, it was one of those books I had trouble putting down, even while on vacation with lots of distractions!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Eileen Donovan

    I enjoyed reading about the maverick Lady Margaret's adventures, although at times, I wondered if much of what Lady Margaret felt and did was taken directly from the author's life. It was interesting to read Margaret's reactions and reflections about New York Life and the American people in general, especially since New York is where I was born, raised, and still live. It's worth a read, even though there are a few glaring errors in the narratives. At times, people are already seated and the auth I enjoyed reading about the maverick Lady Margaret's adventures, although at times, I wondered if much of what Lady Margaret felt and did was taken directly from the author's life. It was interesting to read Margaret's reactions and reflections about New York Life and the American people in general, especially since New York is where I was born, raised, and still live. It's worth a read, even though there are a few glaring errors in the narratives. At times, people are already seated and the author has them resuming their chairs and at one point, a character is even given the wrong age. But in all, it's an enjoyable read. I do wonder just how much of the writing is actually Sarah Ferguson's and how much can be attributed to Marguerite Kaye, her co-author, as she is called in the acknowledgements at the end of the book. If a true co-author, I would think she should be given that recognition on the title page, not simply in the notes. But perhaps the publisher thought sales would be better if only the Duchess of York was featured as the author.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Terri

    Do not be deceived. although a hefty book at over 500 pages, it is a fast-paced read and I finished in two days. I would love to know how much of this novel was actually written by Sarah Fetguson and how much by historical fiction co-author Marguerite Kay. it seems very polished for a freshman author. That said, I found the novel engrossing and the protagonist, Margaret, refreshing. I found her desire for independence, and for making a genuine contribution to the world, unusual for novels based in Do not be deceived. although a hefty book at over 500 pages, it is a fast-paced read and I finished in two days. I would love to know how much of this novel was actually written by Sarah Fetguson and how much by historical fiction co-author Marguerite Kay. it seems very polished for a freshman author. That said, I found the novel engrossing and the protagonist, Margaret, refreshing. I found her desire for independence, and for making a genuine contribution to the world, unusual for novels based in that period. The only discordant note to me was her relationship with the ditsy and narcisstic Louise. I felt Margaret to be much too intelligent to bother with her, and her omission from the novel woukd not be missed. My largest disappointment was the literary device wherein the protagonist must end up 'married and living happily ever after.' But, as she is based on a genuine person, i guess not much could be done with that! Overall, a gpod read!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lalla

    The author of this book is Sarah Ferguson the Duchess of York. She has created a historical novel that is based on actual ancestors from the Victorian era as well as people that may have existed and crossed path with the protagonist of this book. The story of a woman who refused to be molded and forced to accept the husband and lifestyle that her father chose for her and finds success and happiness on her own terms is the main plot. Along the way, the reader is able to picture New York City in t The author of this book is Sarah Ferguson the Duchess of York. She has created a historical novel that is based on actual ancestors from the Victorian era as well as people that may have existed and crossed path with the protagonist of this book. The story of a woman who refused to be molded and forced to accept the husband and lifestyle that her father chose for her and finds success and happiness on her own terms is the main plot. Along the way, the reader is able to picture New York City in the years between the end if the Civil War and the turn of the century, The beginning of independence for women striving for suffrage and the right to work and create on their own terms is part of the story. Reading stories set in the Victorian era reminds the reader of how fathers and husbands controlled the women of their families and how far women have come. This is a great and enjoyable read.

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