Audiobook Review: THE BURNING AIR by Erin Kelly

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Format: Audio; 10 CDs (11½ hours)
Narrators: Patricia Conolly, Saskia Maarleveld,
Samuel Roukin, Robert Ian Mackenzie
Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Recorded Books
Released: February 21, 2013
Source: Borrowed from the library

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.


“A good mother loves fiercely but ultimately brings up her children to thrive without her.
They must be the most important thing in her life,
but if she is the most important thing in theirs, she has failed.”

When I first read those lines at the end of Chapter One, I thought, “Oh, that’s a good quote.” BUT, after finishing the book and thinking about what I just read, now I have to say that it’s a FANTASTIC and very fitting quote for this twisted tale of dark family secrets, revenge, kidnapping, and murder.

Everyone is wronged and holds a grudge at some point, but THE BURNING AIR reveals what happens when a grudge turns into a poisonous obsession for revenge. And, the MacBride family, the target of the villain’s wrath, has no idea what’s going on until it’s too late. Wow, it’s amazing what kind of diabolical plan a mad person can carry out! This was a fast-paced, suspenseful tale with many shocking revelations throughout. As the details unfolded, I kept questioning if there was a clear-cut villain, and I was very surprised by the ending. Such a sad, tragic secret!

I loved the dark, eerie atmosphere of this story. It’s set around Bonfire Night in early November at a remote barn that’s been turned into the MacBride’s weekend home. I could easily picture myself there, feel the family’s isolation and desperation as their world came apart, smell the burning air…

I am so glad I chose to listen to the audiobook of THE BURNING AIR. So good! The book is divided into sections, and each one is told in the point of view of a different main character. Patricia Conolly, Saskia Maarleveld, Samuel Roukin, and Robert Ian Mackenzie performed the parts, and they did an outstanding job capturing the emotions of the characters. I could have listened to their amazing voices all day.

Rating: 4½ Stars