BOOK CLUB: Her Heart for a Compass

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Her Heart for a Compass by Sarah Ferguson Duchess of York, introduces us to Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott. 

Lady Margaret struggles with trying to keep her parents happy but also keeping herself happy. She knows that marrying the man that her parents chose will leave her miserable.

Lady Margaret wants to marry for love, she does not want to marry simply to unite family fortunes, and to keep society happy.

In the end, she throws caution to the wind and refuses the union, much to the disgust of her father who wipes his hands of her. The local society has formed major judgments on not only their daughter but on them as her parents. 

Lady Margaret’s dear friend Princess Lousie, who is the daughter of Queen Victoria, warns her of what a foolish mistake she has made.

Lady Margaret decides to follow her passion for helping the less privileged in London’s slums. This is where she meets Reverend Sebastian and his sister, who teach her what the lower-income families need and how to help them best. 

Years later she will use this information when she decides to move to New York, where she discovers the 5 Points district which is much like the Lambeth district of London. Again she does what she can to help the low income families of the district.

This 500+ page book was one that I found so very easy to read.  The book is broken up into 44 chapters, which makes it very easy to find a point to stop when it’s bedtime. But I promise you that you will be very tempted to keep reading. 

Lady Margaret is easy to feel connected to, and someone that I found I was hoping for the best for.

This is Sarah Ferguson’s first adult novel and I certainly hope it won’t be her last.

Author: Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York
ISBN: 9780008383619
Copy courtesy of Harper Collins

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Her Heart for a Compass by Sarah Ferguson Duchess of York. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

14 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Her Heart for a Compass

  1. Imagine my surprise and delight to find out I was selected to read Her Heart for a Compass by the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson.

    And I was also surprised and delighted by the book! It was well thought out, thoroughly researched, and kept me reading from start to finish. Sarah wrote a beautiful story, some of which was based on historical figures, and who is well placed to write about the elite social group of England and I hope does more of the same.

    Thank you for choosing me to read and review Her Heart for a Compass.

  2. I’ve always been a fan of Fergie, Sarah Ferguson the Duchess of York and I mentally predicted that this book ‘Her Heart for a Compass’ would be a similar tale to her own life. It is about a courageous woman born into a high society family set in the 1860s. It was in the time of arranged marriages and Lady Margaret the main character who is very strong willed and wants to do what’s right. Not a book I would normally apply for but I’m glad I did.

  3. I was looking forward to reading this first adult historical fiction book by the Duchess of York ‘Her Heart for a Compass’ but didn’t realise it was a co-authorship with Marguerite Kaye or that it is a Mills and Boon publication.
    It is a big book of over 500 pages and at times I did feel there was just too much detail and perhaps the book could have been about 100 pages less than what it is but it is an enjoyable, interesting read.
    The story is a fictional account of Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott who is an long descended relative of the Duchess.
    It is Victorian England and Lady Margaret is betrothed to marry but there is no love or desire on Lady Margarets’s part and quite against standards and parental pressures of the time she literally runs from the engagement party.
    Lady Margaret’s adventures from leaving London to her travels to Ireland and America and then her return to London society provide adventure and romance (but not what you’d expect from a Mills and Boon romance).
    It is refreshing to read about the life of an independent woman in this period of time and one who lives her life according to her heart and her terms. The banishment and ostracisation from her family and friends is cruel and harsh to read but all part of that era.
    Thank you for the opportunity to read and review as it isn’t a title I would normally have picked up.

  4. Her Heart for a Compass written by the former Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson is a combination of tragedy, fairy tale, and a love story.

    Lady Margaret Montagu Scott’s parents, the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch have arranged a society marriage for her with a man she is not fond of, she feels confined and restricted to the life before her and on the night of her betrothment she flees the party. Her parents are friends with Queen Victoria and feel they must salvage their reputation, Lady Margaret is adamant she will not marry Killin and is sent to their home in Dalkeith to reconsider, when she returns to London and flatly refuses she is banished to Ireland to be taught a lesson.

    As her journey begins to find her purpose in life she travels to America for a new beginning and eventually back to England. I loved the character development; Margaret knew what she wanted in life and didn’t let the fact that she was of high society change her. She is a strong-willed and tenacious woman who finds herself and her place in life.

    I felt it very unfair the way she was treated by her family, but life in Victorian times was a lot different, the rights and privileges of Victorian women were limited, and expectations were high. Princess Louise was a great side character for Margaret who offered her support and a loyal friendship.

    Occasionally I do read some historical fiction, this was slightly different. Sarah drew on many parallels from her own life for Lady Margaret’s journey and used real people, historical events and facts. She researched her ancestry and came across Lady Margaret, who intrigued Sarah because she shared one of her given names, with not much else known about her life the idea was born to write Her Heart for A Compass.

    This is a character-driven drama, and the slow-burn narrative style really pulls you into the story. If you’re a fan of historical fiction, I highly recommend.

    Thank you, Beauty and Lace and Harpers Collins Australia, for the opportunity to read and review.

  5. Thankyou Beautyandlace and Mills and Boon for the opportunity to read ‘Her Heart for a Compass’ by Sarah Ferguson.
    This book is set in the time of Queen Victoria’s reign and begins in 1865.
    Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott is expected to become betrothed to Lord Rufus Ponsonby the Earl of Killan but at a ball at her parent’s residence, (Montague House) where the announcement is to be made, Margaret flees!
    She is brought back somewhat bedraggled after the party is over by Donald Cameron of Lochiel an acquaintance of her father’s, to a hostile reception.
    Her father the Duke of Buccleuch is furious and she is banished to their home in Scottish Dalkeith. After this punishment and working in helping London’s poor she again rejects Killan. This leads to further banishment to Ireland and still later to America and further adventures.

    Lady Margaret is a very independent young woman and a friend of Queen Victoria’s daughter, Louise.
    Such a good book, well written with interesting characters and a little historical fact.
    I enjoyed it!

  6. This enjoyable historical romance is written by Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. Set in Victorian times it follows the adventures of Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott who, unusually for women of that period, decides she wants to find her own destiny.
    At the beginning of the novel Lady Margaret’s betrothal to Lord Rufus Ponsonby, the Earl of Killin is about to be formally announced but Lady Margaret realises she can not go through with it and runs away. Lady Margaret returns to her family and tries to be the woman they want her to be but she finally realises she can’t and is banished to Ireland.
    The story follows Lady Margaret as she travels from Ireland to New York and back to Scotland (her homeland). She is a woman determined to make her own way, she works directly with the very poorest families and follows her dream to become a writer. Along the way she forges relationships with a few men but does not feel she can marry.
    Some of the characters in the novel are based on the Duchess of York’s ancestors and the novel features a mix of real-life and fictional characters. In the novel Princess Louise, Queen Victoria’s sixth child, is one of Lady Margaret’s closest friends but protocol deems that she has to deny the friendship when Lady Margaret is banished. I enjoyed reading about Princess Louise and have done a little research to learn more about her. It sounds as if she had a very interesting life that would make a novel or two.
    While I enjoyed the novel I did feel that at over 500 pages it was perhaps a little too long but it was easy to read and reminded me that although women still have a long way to go to achieve equality we’re a lot better off than the women of Victorian times.
    Thank you to Beauty & Lace book club and Mills & Boon for the opportunity to read Her Heart for a Compass.

  7. Thank you Beauty and Lace and HarperCollins Australia for the opportunity to review “Her Heart for a Compass”.

    Her Heart for A Compass is a romance novel written as a fictional story about the lead character Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott. Lady Margaret is initially the toast of aristocratic London Society, that is until she decides she cannot marry a man she loathes. She decides a different path for herself in many cities/locations and the people she meets along the way that leave impressions on her and in her quest to marry where her heart truly lies.

    Lady Margaret beats to her own drum, is headstrong though a likeable character who you want to succeed. Although wordy at times, and a bit of a slow burn (this book has 500 pages) the Author has written an historical fiction with a lot of detail with ‘Lady M’ a likeable character leaving the reader wanting to follow her headstrong journey and persevere through the historical details etc. Being a fan of historical books, I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction that is not your typical historical fiction, nor Mills and Boon type romance.
    Thank you again for the opportunity to review.

  8. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read Sarah Ferguson’s Her Heart for a Compass – I must admit that I wasn’t sure what to expect but I loved it. The book follows the life of Lady Margaret Montague Douglas Scott who is a distant relative to Fergie and mixes fact with fiction.
    Set in London in 1865 we follow Lady Margaret on her unconventional path visiting London, Scotland, Ireland and America a truly remarkable woman for her time.
    I would thoroughly recommend this book and give it ***** 5 stars

  9. Thankyou for this book. I wasnt sure about this one, it is a BIG book, and im picky with what historical fiction i pick up – It was a bit of a slow read- i had a few other books on the go – but i did really enjoy Lady Margaret story and journey. Set to enter into a planned marriage, Lady Margaret ( a head strong women) runs from the situation. The book follows her journey throughout different cities/countries and the people she meets along the way. I enjoyed the writing, again it was a bit of a slow burn and i think could have been a tad shorter- it was great that alot of the characters were based on past and present royal members throughout history – if you enjoy some romance and historical fiction you will enjoy this.

  10. Her Heart For A Compass is a surprisingly good read!
    Meticulously researched and with an inside comprehension of the history of the Royal Family,
    this book portrays the expectations of a young female from a well bred family
    and the arranged marriages that were common.
    She rebels against the expectations and is sent away to exile.
    A very well written story that is easy to read and lovers of Historical Fiction will be delighted.
    This will also appeal to other the Genre lovers.
    Thank you for the chance to read Sarah Ferguson’s first adult novel.
    I hope she continues to write adult books.

  11. Thankyou Beauty and Lace Bookclub and Harper Collins Publishers for the opportunity to read “Her Heart for a Compass” by Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York.

    To be honest I found this novel hard to immerse myself into to begin with. Maybe I presumed that even though Lady Margaret Montagu Douglass Scott appeared rebellious to societies norms at that time I found I could not relate well to her character and situation.
    But as I persevered and the author slowly but meticulously built on this main character, I grew to admire and respect her character traits and the struggles that she encountered in her attempts to believe in herself and follow her heart. I enjoyed the fact that the novel was also not as predictable as I assumed it would be.
    A well written historical novel based on research and characters from the author’s own family tree as well as fictional characters and events which I enjoying reading and reviewing.

  12. Thank you for the opportunity to read Her Heart for a Compass.

    I found the size of the book (over 500 pages) a little daunting to begin with and while the start of the book was slow, it definitely built up to a lovely ending.

    The story’s focus on the aristocracy was definitely outside of my normal reading selections but I find the insight into their lives really interesting. I also really enjoyed reading about the choices Lady Margaret made, as I’m sure these were less than favourable in that time.

    The authors note at the end was great as I learnt that a lot of the story and characters had factual bases.

    This is a great slow burning historical romance that is so much more, definitely recommended.

  13. I loved this historical romance book. It was hard to read about how she was treated by her father for standing up for herself and wanting to marry for love and be happy . Such a courageous lady following her dreams and finding her own happiness by going against the norm. Loved her character, the strength and drive she had us something to be admired . Thankyou for the chance to read this book

  14. I quite enjoyed reading Her Heart for a Compass. Set in the late 1800’s it is a fictionalized account of Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott, the daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch.
    I enjoy reading historical fiction and it’s not historical fact that I’m after it’s more the atmosphere of the era that I want a feeling for and Her Heart for a Compass is full of atmosphere.
    Margaret is a fun character and I easily warmed to her and wanted her to achieve her goals. She is rebellious and outspoken, two traits positively frowned open by elite society of the time.
    I liked the addition of letters and newspaper articles which broke up the narrative.
    This is a big book and a slow-paced read. Perfect for readers who enjoy character driven stories.

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