Her Heart for a Compass

Today, I have some really exciting news to share with you. I am absolutely delighted to announce that I have been collaborating on a novel with none other than Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York.

Here is a clip from the official press release:

Her Heart for a Compass is a fictional account of the life of the Duchess’s great-great-aunt, Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott. The narrative of Lady Margaret incorporates research into the Duchess’s heritage and draws upon her own unique life journey and experiences.

The Duchess of York said: ‘It all started with researching my ancestry. Digging into the history of the Montagu-Douglas Scotts, I first came across Lady Margaret, who intrigued me because she shared one of my given names. But although her parents, the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch were close friends with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, I was unable to discover much about my namesake’s early life, and so was born the idea which became Her Heart for a Compass. With real historical events and facts to hand, my imagination took over. I invented a history for her that incorporated real people and events, including some of my other ancestors. I created a friendship between my heroine and Princess Louise, Queen Victoria’s sixth child, and I drew on many parallels from my life for Lady Margaret’s journey.’

The Duchess joined forces with her collaborator and mentor, Marguerite Kaye, to write an immersive historical saga that sweeps the reader from the drawing rooms of Victoria’s court and the grand country houses of Scotland and Ireland, to the slums of London and the mercantile bustle of 1870’s New York. Rich in historical detail and grounded in extensive research, the novel offers a compelling look at Victorian England in the wake of Prince Albert’s death and the fascinating journey of a woman, born into the higher echelons of society, who desires to break the mold, follow her internal compass (her heart) and discover her raison d’être – and falling in love along the way.

What a journey The Duchess and I have been on together! We have had so much fun and become great friends in the process. Gallons of coffee have been drunk. There has been the occasional glass of fizz. We have shed a few tears. And we have laughed – a lot!

A map of Lady Margaret’s journey in Her Heart for a Compass created for The Duchess by Lesley Buckingham

The result is a book that we are both incredibly proud of, something new for both of us. Now I’m finally allowed to make a song and dance about it, I’m looking forward to sharing more of that journey.

The UK Cover

Here is the official, back of the book blurb:

London 1865

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.

Her Heart for a Compass will be published in August by Mills & Boon (UK) and William Morrow (US).  

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22 responses to “Her Heart for a Compass”

  1. Amanda Ward

    CONGRATULATIONS. What an absolute sneaky and secret keeper you are. Thrilled for you and cannot wait to read this. Love reading about Queen Victoria’s children, especially the childless Princess Louise who became Duchess of Argyll.
    You have worked so hard for this and so I wish you many, many sales. Am of course envious that you now have royalty with a love for history as a friend. Bolly darling? Hope you celebrate despite being in lockdown.

  2. Elizabeth McGinty

    Many congratulations, absolutely delighted for you. Very best wishes for success.

  3. This is absolutely amazing, you dark horse you! So looking forward to reading this!

  4. Thank you. Can’t wait for the publication date, I am very proud of this collaboration

  5. Thanks so much Elizabeth

  6. My sister sent me a bottle of Veuve Cliquot, will that do instead of the Bolly? So glad to be able to talk about this now, it is a wonderful book, even if I say so myself!

  7. Sally Freytag

    Wow, Marguerite. Massive congratulations! Sounds an amazing undertaking. Must have been hard, sitting on this for so long!
    Sally x

  8. Susan Allan

    Sneaky you! Not even so much as a tiny wee hint in all this time! Look forward to reading it! Well done 👏

  9. Thank you. Trust me, it’s been quite a mammoth task to keep quiet!

  10. It was very difficult, but now that I can talk about it, I’m so excited. I’m completley biased, but I think we have written a fabulous book together, and we’re both very, very proud of it.

  11. Kate

    Just been reading about this in today’s Scotsman. Congratulations.

  12. Wendy Loveridge

    All I can say is that I am incredibly proud of you! Sarah Ferguson is very lucky to have had you as her mentor and collaborator. xoxo

  13. Ro Spencer

    When can we get this book?

  14. Sounds really interesting.
    I have always admired the Duchess, good for her to stand up for her rights, didn’t work out too well for poor Diana.

  15. It was a fascinating book to work on because so much of it was based around The Duchess’s real ancestry. And as I’ve said a few times now, she is a lovely person, and great fun to work with

  16. Awww, thank you so much Wendy. It was a really great project to work on, and I learned just as much from her as she did from me, I promise you!

  17. Thanks Kate. I heard my name mentioned along with The Duchess last night on the Radio 4 news and actually gave a delighted whoop. All it needs now is The Today prog!

  18. It will be released in hardback in August this year, in the UK and the US at the same time, but it’s already available for pre-order now.

  19. Well, you kept that quiet! 😉 It sounds fascinating and I’m looking forward to reading it!

  20. I know, and it was a HUGE effort! But I’ll be talking lots more about it in the run up to release, with my co-author too of course. And I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it too!

  21. Margaret Murray-Evans

    Congratulations! 📖❤️🤓

  22. Thanks so much Margaret