Her Heart for a Compass: A Novel

Written by Marguerite Kaye Sarah Ferguson
Review by Elizabeth K. Corbett

It is all arranged. Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott, second daughter of the Duke of Buccleuch, is expected to make a most propitious match. But on the night when her betrothal is to be announced to all of polite society, she makes her escape and instantly becomes the subject of gossip. After incurring her father’s wrath, she is sent away to live in the Scottish countryside, where she is isolated and separated from her family. It is only when she is utterly alone that Lady Margaret begins to evaluate what she wants. Thereafter, she embarks upon a journey to find herself in a world where her entire life is decided for her. A young woman with an indomitable spirit, she seeks to break free of these constraints and live life on her own terms.

This is a masterfully woven tale, rife with compelling, believable characters. Lady Margaret is an unconventional heroine who must overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. Her father is a cold and calculating man who treats his daughter only as a pawn to be manipulated. Margaret’s closest friend, Princess Louise, was perhaps my favorite character because of her vivacity and sharp wit.

In Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York’s debut novel, co-written with Marguerite Kaye, the bygone world of the Victorian era, complete with its propriety and austerity, comes to life. Not only is this novel exceedingly well-written, but its narrative is rich and captivating. The writing has a good balance between descriptive scenes and dialogue. While the pacing is mostly steady, there are lulls where the story slows down. There are even instances where the thread of the plot appears lost, which is quite distracting. But overall, Her Heart for a Compass is a thoroughly engrossing read that swept me up into the intrigue and drama of Lady Margaret’s fascinating life.