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Summary

A sensational debut novel perfect for fans of Outlander and The Binding. This is Gothic, epic, romantic fantasy at it’s very best: a tale of magic, intrigue on dangerous waters and a love story for the ages. Perfect for fans of V.E. Schwab and China Mieville.

Arden Beacon arrives in the salt-swept port of Vigil with a job to do. Tasked with using the magic in her blood to keep the lighthouse burning, she needs to prove herself worthy of her family name and her ancestors’ profession.

But the coastline Arden must keep alight – battered by a sea teeming with colossal, ancient beasts – is far from the cultured, urban world she knows. It is a place of secrets, rumours and tight-lipped expectations of a woman’s place. More than anyone, the town folk whisper about Arden’s neighbour, Jonah Riven, the hunter of leviathans. They say he murdered his wife. They say he is as much a monster as his prey.

Amidst all her determination and homesickness Arden cannot get this shadowy stranger out of her head. A plot swirls around the lighthouse keeper, the hunter and the authorities. Arden must make sense of these dark waters – before they wash her away.

©2020 Claire McKenna (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"A wonderfully tortured and emotional mystery." (SFX

What listeners say about Monstrous Heart

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 17-05-20

Stupendous

What a ride! I was very pleasantly surprised at how in depth this story was. The prose are gorgeous and intelligent. A fantastic new world to linger in that has much weight. I pray you enjoy it as much as I do! Now on to the rest of this glorious story!

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  • Margaret Winslow
  • 11-04-20

Mixed feelings

The writing was beautiful and formal, the world-building concept exciting, original, magical; it's the aspect that drew me to buy the book, and in that regard I was not disappointed. The ideas are so delightfully creative and original that I was conceptually captivated, and the whole tone of the book was darkly intriguing and magical without feeling unreal; very believably expressed, which made it wonderful to "live" there with the characters for a while. I was, however, disappointed by the following: 1) The plot and style relied so heavily on the reader's power to assemble the story's mysteries that I felt lost for most of the book. I still enjoyed listening to the gorgeous language and highly interesting concepts, so I didn't abandon the story, but I feel like I didn't understand a lot of what was going on or why; I wish the author had spelled things out more; it was confusing. The concept is so unusual that I needed more explanation to make it clear. 2) The sex was fairly graphic and emotionless and felt empty, IMO; too much vulgar physical description & not enough emotional meaning/description or reason in the plot to have had it, other than just two people feeling "in heat" like animals. 3) The ending was disappointing. Arden sets off to do something I'm excited to see unfold, but the book ends and I don't get to see/find out what happens! (Is it the first of a series? If so, good--it means readers will eventually get fulfillment, but I won't be reading further books.) 4) An unrealistically disproportionate percentage of gay characters/perspectives/nods made me feel the author is trying to meet politically-correct quotas, which I find distasteful. 5) At least one plot element/character seems heavy in the beginning but doesn't amount to much in the end.