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Historical Fiction

The Air You Breathe

by Frances de Pontes Peebles

Quick take

Two girls—an heiress and a servant—discover love and fame in this evocative tale of friendship, betrayal, and samba set in midcentury Rio de Janeiro.

Good to know

  • 400+ Pages

  • LGBTQ+ Friendly

  • Female Friendships

  • Literary

Diane Guerrero, author of In the Country We Love, starred in the hit series Orange is the New Black.

Why I love it

As a child, my life was full of uncertainty, and expressing myself through art was one of the things that made me feel most alive. I remember listening to Kaoma’s “La Lambada” as a kid, and feeling excited by the way it connected familiar melodies with sounds that were entirely new. I couldn’t understand it at the time, but to me those sounds represented the connectivity between human beings. They...

Synopsis

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 l...

Preview

Get an early look from the first pages of Frances de Pontes Peebles's The Air You Breathe.

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