The Burning Air by Erin Kelly (Pamela Dorman Books, February 2013)
The MacBrides have gathered in their English countryside retreat, a converted barn, for the first time since matriarch, Lydia’s death. Rowan was the headmaster at the prestigious school, allowing his three children to attend tuition free, Lydia a magistrate, the family seemingly leading a charmed life, but there is a stranger who has always been in their midst, convinced that the family is responsible for a life wasted, and more sinisterly, holds Lydia responsible for a death. Plotting and planning for many years, the time has come for vengeance to be wrought on the unsuspecting family. Told effectively through flashbacks, the identity of the stranger is slowly revealed, the plot slowly unfolds as the suspense builds until the final scene that not only threatens the bonds of a family, but the life of the family’s youngest member, baby Edie. Fast paced with a brooding atmosphere, The Burning Air is a chilling story of festering vengeance and the kind of hatred that ruins lives.