New Book – The Burning Air by Erin Kelly


Pubishing year: 2013

The start of the novel has already gripped my attention.

At the beginning of the book we are introduced to Lydia, whose husband Rowan is about to retire after being a headmaster for many years. Lydia knows she is going to die but she hasn’t told her family. As she writes in her diary, we learn that she has a secret that she hasn’t told her family. A crime she committed, but at the end of her entry we are none the wiser.

Next Lydia is in her death throes surrounded by her husband Rowan, and her three children. Tara, Felix, and Sophie. Sophie is clearly the main character in the novel. She is expecting her fourth child. That night at home she receives an envelope where she discovers a series of grainy pictures. Yet, we are led to understand that the pictures is of her husband Will with another woman. Sophie becomes angry, upset, and starts labour, but she swears to Will she won’t let him be close to her again.

In November nine months later we see Sophie and Will driving towards the family house in Devon. It is not clear what happened between Will and Sophie, but it seems they stayed together because of the children’s sake. Now Sophie is the proud mum of a baby girl, Edie. That weekend they go to Devon to scatter Lydia’s ashes. The house is quite isolated, with no communications with the exterior world other than an old-fashioned telephone, used for emergencies.

It is obvious that something will happen that weekend. Sophie finds her father drunk, which is unlike him, and she and Will manage to put him to bed. Then the other siblings arrive. Tara is next. She has a partner Matt, but he is not the father of her son, Jake. Apparently, Jake is mixed race, and he had bullying problems in his comprehensive school two years ago, but thanks to the intervention of Will and Lydia they sent the boy to a fitter school.

Felix is the baby of the family. I am not sure what is the problem with Felix, but everybody comments on some kind of disfigurement. To Sophie’s shock he brings along a girlfriend, Kerry. It is evident from the first moment we meet Kerry that she is strange. Kerry hardly says a word, and we shows excessive interest in Edie, Sophie’s daughter. In the cover of the novel we learn that a woman takes a child, so I imagine that Kerry will kidnap Edie. Kerry starts acting up. Sophie discovers a jumper belonging to her mother, which she wants to keep. She talks to Kerry about it, but the next thing Sophie knows the garment has been used to build a guy (It is Guy Fawkes’ weekend) and Sophie sees it burning. Even though she tries to rescue it, it is not possible. Then when everybody is surrounding her, wanting to see to her charred hands, she catches a glimpse of Will and Kerry, and for a moment she thinks Kerry is the woman in the grainy pictures she received nine months before.

I imagine that whatever Lydia did in the past is linked to Kerry, and now this woman is out to get some revenge on Lydia’s children. I am pretty sure that Kerry is the woman from the photographs with Will, and she sent them to Sophie to hurt her. If Kerry is that woman, why hasn’t Will said anything? Did he and Kerry have an affair?

Very interesting start. I am scared because I expect things will go from bad to worse, but I am intrigued what Lydia did and who Kerry really is.


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