The Burning Air

( 5 )

Overview


A heart-stopping tale of twisted obsession from the author who gives us “everything we love in a thriller” ­­(O, The Oprah Magazine)

The MacBrides lead a cozy life of upper class privilege: good looks (more or less), a beautiful home, tuition-free education at the prestigious private school where Rowan is headmaster, an altruistic righteousness inherited from magistrate Lydia.

But when Rowan and his three grown children gather for the first ...

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The Burning Air

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Overview


A heart-stopping tale of twisted obsession from the author who gives us “everything we love in a thriller” ­­(O, The Oprah Magazine)

The MacBrides lead a cozy life of upper class privilege: good looks (more or less), a beautiful home, tuition-free education at the prestigious private school where Rowan is headmaster, an altruistic righteousness inherited from magistrate Lydia.

But when Rowan and his three grown children gather for the first time since Lydia’s passing at the family’s weekend home—a restored barn in the English countryside—years of secrets surface, and they discover a stranger in their midst. A stranger who is convinced that Lydia was a murderer. A stranger who has been exacting vengeance upon the family for years without their ever knowing. And one who will threaten the youngest MacBride, baby Edie, and the clan’s memory of Lydia, shattering their world forever.

The Burning Air is Erin Kelly's most chilling novel yet­—a novel that fans of Sophie Hannah and Kate Atkinson will find spellbinding.
   

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this tension-filled suspense novel from Kelly (The Dark Rose), when the members of the MacBride family gather in Devon to scatter the ashes of wife, mother, grandmother, and magistrate Lydia, after her agonizing death from cancer, it becomes clear that all is not well. The usually sober father—retired headmaster Rowan—is unaccountably drunk; daughter Sophie and son-in-law Will may have reached an impasse because of an affair and a breakdown; mixed-race grandson Jake has been in trouble with the law; and disfigured son Felix has a beautiful new girlfriend whose initial silence unsettles everyone. The disappearance of baby Edie, cryptic excerpts from Lydia’s diaries, and the narrative of an individual perhaps wronged by the MacBrides indicate that family secrets can have far-reaching implications. While a bigger payoff regarding Lydia and Rowan’s actions would have been welcome, skillfully drawn characters and masterful building of suspense, which reaches a literally searing climax, will leave most readers well satisfied. Agent: Zoë Pagnamenta, Zoë Pagnamenta Agency. (Feb.)
Kirkus Reviews
Kelly has hit her stride in this third outing, a classic dark thriller combining suspense with gorgeous, evocative prose. Told from the perspectives of four individuals, this story is British journalist Kelly's third offering and by far her most inventive novel. Set in England, the tale involves a close-knit family named MacBride, whose members soon become the focus of a pathological mission to destroy them. It starts with Lydia, beloved mother of the clan and magistrate of the court, who is dying. Lydia confesses in one of the diaries she's kept most of her life a deed so terrible and life altering that she realizes if her family reads it, the contents would forever change them. But she doesn't plan on that happening since she intends to destroy all of her diaries before the end arrives. Meanwhile, the rest of the MacBride family continues on with their lives: Her disfigured son, Felix, once a happy and handsome child, brings a mysterious woman into their midst. Sophie, the oldest daughter and mother of three boys and a baby girl, struggles with her once-perfect marriage to Will. And Tara, mother of the mixed-race teen, Jake, seems to finally be happy with her boyfriend, Matt, a surrogate father to Jake. Rowan, the former schoolmaster, mourns his wife but takes great joy in his grandkids. And the entire group comes together at the traditional family getaway near a remote village, where cellphones won't work and no electronics are allowed. It is there and in both Saxby and London that a tale of unreasonable, sustained hatred and revenge bubbles up, threatening to tear the happy family apart and leave them with a wound that will never heal. With writing so seductive and multiple voices that are pitch-perfect for the characters she's created, Kelly shows that she is a writer who doesn't need to keep repeating herself to stay in the game. A book that will consume the reader as fully as the bonfire set by the novel's characters.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670026722
  • Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
  • Publication date: 2/21/2013
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 438,542
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author

Erin Kelly

Erin Kelly is an author and freelance journalist. She lives in North London with her husband and daughter. Her previous books include The Poison Tree and The Dark Rose.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 27, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I was drawn into this story from the very beginning. The Burnin

    I was drawn into this story from the very beginning. The Burning Air was a family tale told from several different points of views. It starts out from Lydia’s point of view and her writing to herself in a secret diary about an event that she did and how it if possible caused her own sickness by keeping this secret to herself and how her family wouldn’t think of her the way she would want to be remembered if they were to find out. Then the story switches to Sophie, Darcy, Rowan and Kerry point of views. I love books like this because I always wonder what that person would have thought. The author did an excellent job of giving each person their own voice without seeming like you were reading the same thing over but giving you more. They each had their story within the story which gave them a more real feeling as a person. A very good Suspense/Thriller novel.


    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Taut Suspense

    A prominent and closely knit family must face the consequences of past secrets, learn to deal with the events that unfold in the present.

    The story opens as the terminally ill matriarch of the MacBride family unloads her guilt for actions she took in her past in her daily journal, never intending for anyone to ever see it, unaware that those actions have been the basis for a long-planned, twisted revenge against her family.

    The events that unfold after her death may tear her family apart, damaging the innocent the most. Will they do what they usually do and twist events to their own version of reality?

    This darkly written English suspense novel is an emotional tale written with overlapping timelines, different POVs, stripping the facade of the 'perfect family' to the bone. Each character has their own demons to deal with, their own glaring flaws they attempt to hide. One twisted individual is plotting against the family, obsessed with bringing them to their knees. Their plans for revenge have fermented and grown over the years and finally come to an explosive fruition, but not necessarily a positive final outcome.

    If you enjoy a good suspense novel that is gritty and so convoluted that you cannot even imagine the conclusion, I strongly recommend this book!

    This edition was provided by NetGalley and PENGUIN GROUP Viking in exchange for an honest review.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 8, 2013

    This novel was recommended at my library. I really enjoyed the

    This novel was recommended at my library. I really enjoyed the read - it captured my attention from the very first page. A lot of twist and turns which kept me intrigued. It also had a message about "secrets" and what they can do to relationships and families. All in all it was a good read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted February 11, 2014

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    Posted October 21, 2013

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