The story of an intense female friendship fueled by affection, envy and pride–and each woman’s fear that she would be nothing without the other.
Skinny, nine-year-old orphaned Dores is working in the kitchen of a sugar plantation in 1930s Brazil when in walks a girl who changes everything. Graça, the spoiled daughter of a wealthy sugar baron, is clever, well fed, pretty, and thrillingly ill behaved. Born to wildly different worlds, Dores and Graça quickly bond over shared mischief, and then, on a deeper level, over music.
One has a voice like a songbird; the other feels melodies in her soul and composes lyrics to match. Music will become their shared passion, the source of their partnership and their rivalry, and for each, the only way out of the life to which each was born. But only one of the two is destined to be a star. Their intimate, volatile bond will determine each of their fortunes–and haunt their memories.
Traveling from Brazil’s inland sugar plantations to the rowdy streets of Lapa in Rio de Janeiro, from Los Angeles during the Golden Age of Hollywood back to the irresistible drumbeat of home, The Air You Breathe unfurls a moving portrait of a lifelong friendship–its unparalleled rewards and lasting losses–and considers what we owe to the relationships that shape our lives.
The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles delivers a Brazilian historical tale that is rich in culture. It also features two women going against the present life to find something better for themselves. They go away from their community’s expectations and soar higher than they can dream. Music, slavery, and unwavering friendship make this an interesting read. Frances de Pontes Peebles captures the time periods perfectly. Readers, like myself, will travel back in time to World War II era. The writing style is unique and gives a clear voice to these Brazilian women. It is both sad and fun to explore.
Inside this book, I got to watch as two women went on to begin their own future. They quickly became best of friends with a talent in the music industry. This road leads to a roller-coaster of jealousy, love, and loss. Both need the other one for support. To them, it was like they couldn’t operate well, unless they were together. However, despite their need for each other, they also have this push and pull relationship. Each gave their support to the other one yet at times they were competitive and cruel. The Air You Breathe is an emotionally engaging story. It is easy to get swept into the characters’ lives. Overall, I recommend this women’s fiction novel to others.