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 and she refused to marry the Earl of Killin, the man chosen for her.
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.
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In an attempt to rebel against a society where women are expected to conform, free-spirited Lady Margaret Montagu Scott flees the confines of polite society, 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 resolves to follow her heart. On a journey of self-discovery that will take her to Ireland, America, and then back to Britain, Lady Margaret must follow her internal compass and search for her place, and her own identity, in a changing society.
Incorporating research into her heritage and drawing upon her own unique life journey and experiences, the Duchess pens a fictional account of the life of her great-great-aunt, Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott. Rich in historical detail, Her Heart for a Compass offers a compelling look at Victorian England and the fascinating journey of a woman, born into the higher echelons of society, whose only desire is to follow her heart.
With co-writer Marguerite Kaye, an accomplished Mills & Boon historical author, The Duchess has created a breathtaking romantic novel of daring to follow your heart against all odds. Set amongst the drawing rooms of Victoria’s court, and the grand country houses of Scotland and Ireland.