Celebrating the Release of Her Heart for a Compass

Her Heart for a Compass is out today! At last, the ‘big’ book that I co-authored with Sarah, The Duchess of York has hit the shops, and I can finally talk about it.

So first of all, what is the book all about? Here is the official blurb:

London 1865

In an attempt to rebel against a society where women are expected to conform, free-spirited Lady Margaret Montagu 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 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 heart 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, 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.

I’ve already talked about what fun I had working with The Duchess on this book and the friendship that we now share, and you’ll be hearing a whole lot more from both of us in the media in the next few days and weeks.

To celebrate launch day, I thought it would be fun to share a little bit of insider knowledge with you here, personal connections to me that are woven into the story that both The Duchess and I had fun dreaming up.

So first of all, there’s my native Argyll. The real Princess Louise, who became the Duchess of Argyll, features in the story as Lady Margaret’s best friend. Inveraray and the Castle, the ancestral home of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll, has featured in a number of my own romances, and the view from the town across Loch Fyne is one of my favourites. It’s this view, from this very photograph, that Princess Louise describes in Her Heart for a Compass, in a letter to Lady Margaret following her marriage to the Duke of Argyll:

The photograph she (Louise) enclosed was not of her husband’s family home but of the pretty fishing village by the same name on the banks of Loch Fyne “Which I thought you would like, for I know how much you enjoy the Highland scenery”, Louise had written. It was a very beautiful scene, with heather-clad hills in the background beyond the still waters of the loch.

That’s not the only connection between Argyll and the book though. Fraser Scott, a Crimean War veteran whom Lady Margaret quite literally stumbles upon early on in the book, was born in the village of Lochgoilhead not too far from my own home. And the little steamer which Donald Cameron has had built to sail on Loch Arkaig is named Scarba, after the Western Ferry the Sound of Scarba, which will be very familiar to you if you follow my ‘good morning’ Twitter posts.

Much more personal are two characters whom The Duchess named just for me. Johanna, who is one of Lady Margaret’s maids in New York, was named for my amazing Mum; and Margherita, the daughter born to Randolph Mueller and his wife at the end of the New York section of the book is of course named for me (as well as Lady Margaret, naturally).

Starting the celebrations earlier this week, when The Duchess called in on my sister

And so onto the celebrations. I have a very special hardback copy of the UK edition of Her Heart for a Compass to give away to one lucky reader, with a bookplate signed by both myself and The Duchess. To enter, all you have to do is comment below (if you haven’t commented here before, there might be a delay in posting until you are whitelisted, so don’t worry if it doesn’t come up straight away.  Here is the question:

If your heart was your compass, where would it lead you?

The competition is international, so open to all. The winner will be announced here on Monday 9th August.  

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Congratulations to Anna, my winner. I have sent you an email.

Thank you so much to everyone who entered, and I do hope that if you read the book you’ll let me know what you think.

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15 Comments

  1. Congratulations to you both on this wonderful book journey. My heart would lead me to Dorset and the South West. I love the Jurassic coastline and I want to walk the South West costal Path.

  2. If my heart was my compass it would lead me to make the very best of my current life, by ditching the job I hate and reaching for a future working with books, words and people who love to read and create their own poems and stories.
    Congratulations on completing a marvelous project!

  3. If my heart was my compass, it would lead me to travel around the world for a couple of years, so I could know with all my senses what the places I write about in my fiction are really like.

  4. Oh my gosh, I’m so excited and happy for you Marguerite with the release of this new book!

    If my heart were a compass it would lead me to a remote Gothic manor in the English countryside with an amazing library!

  5. I am so delighted that your book is finally out in the world and you can talk about it. I was fascinated reading about all your connections to the book. What a wonderful connection you and The Duchess have.

    (Please do not include me in the drawing.)

  6. It sounds fabulous!
    And I would want to travel to 2 places, one would be Butlins when I was a child where all my dads family would gather, and the other would be to see those people who are no longer with us but who I wish were

  7. Congratulations!
    If my heart were a compass, I would hope in any lifetime it would always lead me back to my partner of 18yrs.

  8. So excited for this release!

    If my heart was a compass I’d like to think that it would lead me to the same passions I have now for animal rescue, books and dreaming of travel.

    I believe our hearts take us towards our passions.

  9. If my heart was a compass, it would take me to the United Kingdom for a never-ending tour of the whole place. I must have lived there in a previous life, because I am drawn to in my books and dreams.

    Congratulations to you, Marguerite, for your part in “My Heart for a Compass.” I’m so proud of you!

  10. Thanks for a fabulous giveaway, Marguerite! If my heart were a compass, it would bring me full circle to the life and loving husband that I have now (sorry – very cheesy, but true!!)

  11. Congratulations to you and Sarah Ferguson on your collaboration. I thoroughly enjoyed Her heart for a compass. What a great read. Hope there will be more to come

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