From one of the most famous former members of the British royal family, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York —a mesmerizing novel of a young noblewoman’s coming-of-age that richly details both high society and low in Victorian England.

Queen Victoria’s close friend, the Scottish Duke of Buccleuch, Lady Margaret Montagu Scott is expected to make an advantageous marriage. But Margaret is an impulsive and outspoken girl in a repressive society where women are, quite literally, caged in corsets and required to conform.

When Lady Margaret’s parents arrange a society marriage for her, she tries to reconcile herself to the match. But shortly before her betrothal is announced, Margaret flees, leaving her parents to explain her sudden absence to an opulent ballroom stuffed with two hundred distinguished guests.

Banished from polite society, Margaret throws herself into charitable work and finds strength in a circle of female friends like herself—women intent on breaking the mold, including Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Louise. Margaret resolves to follow her heart—a journey of self-discovery that will take her to Ireland, America, and then back to Britain where she finds the life she was always meant to lead.

A bold and thoughtful story about a rebellious woman finding herself and her voice in an age of astounding technological change and great social unrest, Her Heart for a Compass is a delicious costume drama rich in atmosphere, history, and color.


I’m a sucker for historical fiction and this one initially grabbed my attention with its cover. If you’re a lover of stories set in the Victorian Era, this is right up your alley.

Lady Margaret Montagu Scott is a charming, witty young girl who is expected to marry as she is bid. But on her first ball, she runs away. Here, readers may expect that she doesn’t wish to marry her father’s choice because she is courted by some other gentleman but that’s not the case. Margaret wants to chase her own dreams and marriage is not something she is eagerly looking forward to.

But as she tries to hide away from everyone, she finds herself in the company of Lochiel, her father’s friend.

Banished by her father the Duke of Buccleuch for her careless behaviour, Margeret is asked to live in their Scottish residence, away from society for a few months. During her time of reflection, she exchanges letters with Liochel and develops friendship and bonding through written words.

When she returns to London, she surrenders herself to fate and decides she’d marry whoever her father had chosen for her. She distracts her mind by investing her time in church activities and charity programs and develops an interest in writing storybooks for children. Yet, the exchange of letters with Liochel continues.

As time passes and her betrothal approaches, she realizes that her life would be bound to a man forever who’d pay no attention to her existence. Another impulsive decision and Margeret decides to reject her father’s choice once again. But this time, her punishment is severe and she is banished to live in Ireland. During her exile, her friendship with Liochel slowly turns into courtship till Liochel comes to her doorstep and asks for her hand. Margaret loves him too but this is not the life she dreamed of. She wants to run her life to her own accord.

From then on, Margeret decides to take the reigns of her life into her own hands and follow her dreams. This story is based on the real-life of Lady Margaret Montagu Scott, who leaves England and sets sail to New York to begin a new chapter of her life. We are talking about 1860s, a time where the lady, even walking alone in the dark was considered a scandal.

Travelling to another continent, starting life afresh and becoming a writer was something a very few dared to dream.
When I started reading the book, the first half of the novel didn’t even grab my attention as it was all about her daily routine and nothing exciting going on in Margeret’s life. In the end, when I found out that the story is based on a real person, I’ve added one more star to the review.

Though it is indeed her everyday routine which can be boring to read at times if we consider the fact that how women were expected to behave, it is worth considering that one needs the courage to take this kind of bold step, and considering Margert was only 21 when she travelled to NY.
** Four stars!

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