on September 25th 2015
Genres: Death & Dying, Romance
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I was warned about Tristan Cole.
“Stay away from him,” people said.
“He’s cruel.”“He’s cold.”
It’s easy to judge a man because of his past. To look at Tristan and see a monster.
But I couldn’t do that. I had to accept the wreckage that lived inside of him because it also lived inside of me.
We were both empty.
We were both looking for something else. Something more.
We both wanted to put together the shattered pieces of our yesterdays.
Then perhaps we could finally remember how to breathe.
The Air He Breathes is a wonderful tale of loss, forgiveness, and second chances. I can easily see how it would tug at the heartstrings of many people. However, it’s the little details—and lack thereof—that prevented me from giving this four stars.
Elizabeth is coping with being a single mom following the sudden death of her husband, while Tristan is barely surviving the devastating loss of both his wife and son. He has hardened his heart to any form of human connection, choosing instead to be reclusive and antagonistic. In Tristan, though, Elizabeth recognizes her own pain. As she slowly chips away his hostile façade, these two broken people begin to help each other heal and find happiness again.
You know that place in between nightmares and dreams? The place where tomorrows never come and yesterdays don’t hurt anymore? The place where your heart beats in sync with mine? The place where time doesn’t exist and it’s easy to breathe? I want to live there with you.
Tristan is an amazing character, and his grief is so evident that my heart couldn’t help but ache for him throughout the book. Elizabeth is an incredibly strong woman, and I admired her ability to set aside her own grief to provide stability for her daughter. There was somewhat of a disconnect for me, however, in the method of storytelling.
The story is told from alternate points of view, but when Elizabeth speaks the author designates certain thoughts as being—I assume—more significant than others. These are set apart, italicized, and occur with such frequency that I found them to be redundant and distracting.
I stared into his eyes. What are you thinking, stormy eyes?
“What are you doing here?” I’m so happy you’re here.
He was opening up. Please stay open.
There also aren’t enough specific details included for me to be able to lose myself in the story. I couldn’t place the timing of important events. There’s no mention of how long Tristan has been grieving, for example. Elizabeth’s husband has been dead for over a year, but how long has she been away from her hometown? Two months? A year? I had trouble envisioning some key characters because they are only described once, in passing. Tristan’s dog, Zeus, is very integral to the plot, but I didn’t even know what type of dog he is. At first, he’s called a golden retriever. In another chapter, someone says he’s a, “little ass dog,” but then later Tristan refers to him as a, “medium-sized dog.” Which is he? They’re small nuances, but ones that would have given me a better picture of the world Brittainy Cherry created.
There are some really wonderful supporting characters that help make up for the story’s pitfalls though. Little Emma will steal your heart and Faye is a complete hoot. If you’re in the mood for a good tearjerker with a lovely message, this one should fit the bill.
** ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. **