Sarah Ferguson’s Mills & Boon novel edges on to UK bestsellers chart

It’s not quite Bridgerton levels of sales, but Sarah Ferguson’s first venture into the romantic fiction market, Her Heart for a Compass, has nonetheless made its way into the UK bestsellers chart, with just over 1,000 copies sold in the last week.

Her Heart for a Compass was published on 3 August.
Her Heart for a Compass was published on 3 August. Photograph: Mills & Boon/PA

Published by Mills & Boon, the 500-plus-page historical romance tells of the red-headed, free-spirited young Lady Margaret Montagu Scott, who flees an arranged marriage to eventually find true love, and her true calling. Based on the Duchess of York’s own ancestor, and drawing on, says her publisher, “her own unique life journey”, Her Heart for a Compass was published on 3 August, co-authored by veteran Mills & Boon novelist Marguerite Kaye.

According to book sales monitor Nielsen, the novel sold 1,079 copies in the week to 14 August, enough to put it in 10th place in the hardback fiction chart this week – behind Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid, but ahead of Songbirds by Christy Lefteri.

This is a slight drop on its first week of sales, when 1,241 people bought a copy of the £14.99 hardback, but the total of 2,320 copies sold in two weeks is already closing in on lifetime sales of Ferguson’s children’s book Little Red, which according to Nielsen stands at just over 5,000 copies. It lies well clear of the chart-topping success of Bridgerton author Julia Quinn, however, who has more than 10m copies of her historical romances in print in the US.

Ferguson had said that she hoped Her Heart for a Compass would be “made into the next Bridgerton”, telling a podcast that “I need this book to be Pride and Prejudice meets 24”. Variety quoted a source claiming that “[her team] is already in talks with at least one streaming service and will be approaching others once a 360-degree treatment of the book is finalised. These will include Amazon and Netflix. Everyone involved is looking at the success of Bridgerton as a demonstration of the immense appeal of period drama on streaming services.”

The Duchess is already writing her second book with Mills & Boon. “I’m so excited to be diving into this new story, once again with Marguerite Kaye as my co-author,” she said in a statement last week. “I really feel this book marks a new phase of my life. I’m ready to embrace the opportunities and challenges of writing adult fiction, and to build on what I have learned when writing Her Heart for a Compass.”

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