Book Review: Monstrous Heart – Claire McKenna

Book Review: Monstrous Heart – Claire McKenna

Monstrous Heart Trilogy #2
Release Date: April 2nd 2020
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3/5 stars


When Arden Beacon is sent to the lighthouse, she is simply a woman with a job to do. She neither seeks, nor expects, distraction. After years tainted by disappointment, Arden is finally taking up her family’s profession. She must prove herself worthy of her name, for she has nothing else.

But the coast she has been tasked with lighting is far from the world she knows – the salt-swept, backwater town of Vigil is battered by a sea teeming with colossal, ancient beasts. It is a place of secrets, rumours and tight-lipped expectations of a woman’s place.

More than anyone, the folk of Vigil whisper about Arden’s new neighbour, Jonah Riven, hunter of leviathans. He murdered his wife, they whisper – a perfect, golden girl, full of charm and potential. So very different to Arden Beacon.

They say he is as much a monster as his prey, but Arden cannot get this dark stranger out of her head.

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.


Monstrous Heart is the beautifully written story of lighthouse keeper Arden Beacon. Finally taking up the profession she has always wanted, Arden travels to the coastal town of Vigil to take up her post, but things are not all that they seem – townspeople whisper that Arden’s neighbour Jonah murdered his wife, but can Arden discover the truth?

I generally love books that are set on and around the sea so I was completely fascinated by the premise of this story. McKenna has a really gorgeous and lyrical writing style, one that catapults the reader into this unique world. I was most intrigued by the magic and the sea creatures though I did at times feel there wasn’t enough world building to really explain how it works. I did feel a bit lost in parts which pulled me out of the story.

Arden is a great main character, she’s complex and stubborn, determined to do what she thinks is right and uncover the mysteries surrounding Jonah Riven. The romance was a central part of the story but I was more interested in the other things that were going on. The story is an intriguing one and fans of books such as Outlander will absolutely love this one. Whilst I did get a bit lost I overall enjoyed the story and am intrigued to find out where things will go in book two.

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