Daughters of the Stone is the saga of five generations of Afro-Puerto Rican descent that shows all of their power, resilience and vulnerability. This debut novel starts with Fela’s arrival on a plantation in Puerto Rico where she is to work as a slave doing embroidery for the area’s wealthy. Back in Nigeria, Fela and her husband were unable to have children. As a last effort to conceive, her husband selects a stone to hold the soul of their child and they use it in a ritual next to the Oshun River, so that the Goddess herself could bless their lovemaking. Soon after, their village is decimated, Fela’s husband is killed and she is sold into slavery. Making the trans-Atlantic voyage with Fela is the stone, which gives her strength as she embarks on this new chapter in her life.
This stone, along with some powers of magic are passed along from female to female among the descendants of Fela. Relationships between mothers and daughters are fully explored here with all the complications that entails. While some turn their back on the magic and “old ways” of their ancestors, the stories and the stone always endure and the generations are brought full circle in their journey. One of the best books that I have read all year and I look forward to reading more by Llanos-Figueroa.