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Daughters of the Stone

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  475 ratings  ·  93 reviews
It is the mid-1800s. Fela, taken from Africa, is working at her second sugar plantation in colonial Puerto Rico, where her mistress is only too happy to benefit from her impressive embroidery skills. But Fela has a secret. Before she and her husband were separated and sold into slavery, they performed a tribal ceremony in which they poured the essence of their unborn child ...more
Hardcover, 323 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published August 12th 2009)
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Average rating 4.04  · 
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 ·  475 ratings  ·  93 reviews

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Brown Girl Reading
Daughters of the Stone covers 150 years of the same family. The story begins with Fela who has been ripped away from Nigeria and sold as a slave in Puerto Rico. From Fela's story we see her descendants and how they receive their gifts and what life brings them. This is the quintessential black girl magic book. This is a must read to understand the importance of women in families but also how they connect as mothers and daughters and how they pass their legacy from one ton the other. I learned so ...more
Elizabeth George
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recomended-reads
In the interest of full disclosure, I know the author. She took a seminar from me in April in Tuscany. This is her first novel, and it was published by St Martin's Press in 2009. However, they do not appear to have done much to promote it, and the rights have now returned to the author. The novel is the story of five generations of women whose roots are in Nigeria as well as in Puerto Rico where the first generation is represented by a woman who is enslaved. The book combines magical realism wit ...more
Tara Chevrestt
Jan 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Gosh. This is a good book, the kind of book that leaves me having to get my thoughts in order to write this. It's about 5 women, each a new generation of the same family. It begins with Fela. Fela takes readers from the land of Africa to Puerto Rico when she is taken as a slave. Thru her, the tragedy of slavery on the island is told. She leaves behind Mati and Mati exacts revenge on the men who have done her and her mother wrong. Mati gives birth to Concha who struggles to make her mother's worl ...more
LaTrice McNeil-Smith
Sheesh! So good! I don't even know how to articulate all of my feelings about this beautiful book. I had to give 5 stars. This impacting me so much especially from Chapter 14 onward. The character development was thoughtful and beautiful. The dialog amongst the characters was so authentic.

I feel like this is a book I needed to remind me through the characters lives of certain things I wish could have come from my mother and my grandmothers. It's almost like her characters reminded me of very spe
Jan 31, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 21st-centurylit
The story begins with Fela in the mid-1800s sold into slavery on a sugar plantation in Puerto Rico. Before she left Africa she and her husband performed a tribal ritual in which the essence of their unborn child was put into a special stone. This stone thus becomes the glue for the entire book. The book is separated into five parts beginning, as mentioned, with Fela's story which is then passed on - along with the stone - to her daughter, Mati. From Mati the stories and the stones go to Concha, ...more
Jan 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written book I literally couldn't put down once I started it. It draws you in from the start and refuses to let go. The book is a series of tales spun in the African griot storyteller tradition, each focusing on the successive generations of the women in a family of black Puerto Ricans over the generations from the first woman brought over from Africa on a slave ship through plantation life during the Spanish colonial period, the American experience and on to America itself, only t ...more
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm sorry it took me so long to check this off my "to read" list. This is a beautifully written story that spans generations, cultures and oceans. I saw a few of my own stories reflected in this writing as well as some of my family. This is the story of a stone that is passed on to the first girl of each generation, it brings with it a responsibility that cannot be ignored or passed over. The lives of Fela, Mati, Tia Josefa, Concha, Elena and Carisa are all played out against the backdrop of the ...more
Jan 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The 'Daughters of the Stone" paints a rich and emotional picture of the lives of five generations of women. That it takes place in Puerto Rico adds to the colorful tapestry of the story. With that said Figueroa's book is this and much more. The struggles of these women in each of their relationships as mother, daughter, grandmother, and wife will strike a chord of recognition if you are any of the above. As well as the message to remember the stories passed down in our families. In this way we r ...more
Apr 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you’re a multigenerational family saga reader, you’ll want this on your radar!

Distinct voices and use of structure across the various perspectives, beautiful use of imagery and continuity to thread all the narratives together, this was stunning! I think what stands out for me the most is how much this celebrated storytelling and the power in women’s narratives - in representing the various paths each woman walked, in the legacy of what was passed between generations, and the sense of history
Sharon Velez Diodonet
I've been sitting on this review for a week now because I haven't had the words to describe how much it impacted me. I am always looking for pieces of myself within the pages and this was the first time that a book represented Afro-Latinx women and the complexities of looking to the past to make your way in the future.

Daughters of the Stone tells the story of Fela, Mati, Concha, Elena & Carisa 5 Afro-Puerto Rican women who have been silenced by history for different reasons. As the story progre
Deborah Sherman
I felt this book was a bit aggressive trying to fit all aspects of Zenobia's life into one book. I also struggled a bit with all the Spanish phrases in the book, much of which were left untranslated, but only some of which were obvious in meaning. I don't think it really had an effect on the reading of the story.

The story is about several generations of women beginning with Fela, a slave from West Africa and ending with Carissa, a storyteller who collects and reclaims stories that have been reto
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writers-of-color
My mother is from Puerto Rico and I have been waiting my whole life to read about a family that reminded me of my own, so as soon as I heard about this book, I knew I had to get a copy. To say that I loved this book is an understatement. Even as I was reading it, I felt as if it was filling something up in myself, giving me a knowledge and a history that I had longed for and healing the hole in me where representation of my own people should have been.

This is the story of five generations of wom
A multigenerational saga of a slave and her descendants in the Caribbean, Daughters of the Stone is a good readalike to Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende, The Salt Roads by Nalo Hopkinson, and even Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. While not quite as polished as those three titles, I very much appreciated the focus on life through the centuries for Afro-Puerto Ricans and the legacy of slavery, as well as how modern Puerto Ricans still find themselves in the same patterns and cycles. ...more
Mark Mishler
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful book, with a sweeping view of history. The five generations of women depicted are interesting, strong, and magical. Their lives are told with rich detail. This offers the reader an opportunity to learn more about Puerto Rican history, the role of the enslavement of Africans, the impact of African culture and traditions on Puerto Rico, the ways in which people are able to build communities, the central role of women in holding communities together, and the power of stories. I ...more
Kari Walker
Jun 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love this book and the importance it gives to the oral tradition of families. While I did not spiritually identify with the gods presented, I definately identified with the idea that through storytelling we pass on identity. The women in this book were stronger and more successful the closer they got to their roots, and the more they embraced the legacy of where they came from.
Britt McCritt (Bantu Book Review)
Very well-written story that comes full circle. The language is rich and the characters are complicated and wholly developed. This book really moved me for a number of reasons and I feel inspired to investigate more thoroughly, listen more fully, dream and live more freely. It's a really simple book but the context is really what makes this book so powerful. ...more
Joy Johnson
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written

I absolutely love this book! I cannot start reading it. It is such a beautiful story of legacy, family, women, heritage and so much more. I have so much to process after reading it and I am so grateful that my friend recommended this book to me. You will not be disappointed, you have to read this book!
Mar 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: afro-latinx
Such a beautiful book. I think women no matter what color they are should read this book. Teaches the importance of family, love, communication, pain, and ancestors. I loved it I will definitely pick it up again.
K.S. Barton
May 13, 2018 rated it liked it

I found the book uneven. The stories of Fela and Mati were beautiful and riveting. The later stories, and particularly the last one, dragged. The last story, from the point of view of a modern woman, was thin compared to the others.
vivian hernandez
Several generations of strong women and their lives.

I was sorry to complete the book. The stories placed me in different people lives, situations and events. I'll miss the company. Thank you a truly enjoyable read.
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: latin-america
This is a book that deserves a sixth star if goodreads would let me. - Five generations of Afro-Puerto Rican women from the plantation years to New York immigrant years. Very good!
IE Latinx Book y Chisme Club
This was our first book read of the year and we all were incredibly touched by the characters and the relationships between them. With this story exploring five generations of Afro-Puerto Rican women, we discussed how important it is to hear stories about women and female relationships from female authors in addition to being able to read stories that focus on underrepresented groups in literature.

Many of our participants expressed how moved they felt reading about the connections between mothe
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
How do you know who you are? This is a real question. How can you be sure you are who you are, and what do you know about yourself that defines you? This is one of the questions Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa is trying to answer in her 2009 novel, Daughters of the Stone. This book is as ambitious in scope as it is in purpose, and yet easily readable and not terribly long. I sat down with it during finals week and, despite being supposed to have more important things to do (like revisions), I finished it ...more
Faith Reidenbach
Jan 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-fiction
It's unfair to expect One Hundred Years of Solitude from a writer who (apparently) works at another job, but that's what I wanted from this 5-generation novel. The author is similar to Gabriel García Márquez in that she was raised on family stories told to her by her rural elders, which inspired the stories in this book, she says. Alas, her work is literally much "thinner"--the male characters are particularly sketchy and/or flat--than García Márquez's masterpiece.

Still, I recommend this book. T
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa’s DAUGHTERS OF THE STONE is a beautiful homage to the vitality and power of the maternal line (and the ever complex relationships between daughters, mothers, and grandmothers) and the way we keep the souls of our ancestors alive today through storytelling. Llanos-Figueroa seamlessly traces the way story and spirituality flows through the generations, giving voices and faces to people we don’t usually see because they have been, for all intents and purposes, erased from our ...more
Jose Hernandez
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Daughters of the Stone Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa's used the stone of five generations of Afro-Ricans to share the storytelling of the forgotten history, culture, and connect with their ancestors. The stone was passed down to the first-born daughter. It brought each generation back to discover and connect to their Afro-Rican roots. Llano-Figueroa shed light on gender and race role thru familiar historical. By using a feminist lens not seen in other novels. It skips a significantly large amount of hi ...more
Elizabeth  (Thoughts From an Evil Overlord)
Loved it and wanted more! This book tells an epic family tale from Africa, through slavery on a Puerto Rican sugar cane plantation freedom into land ownership and education. The five generations of women each learn about themselves and the importance of family, as they keep the stories and healing traditions of their African ancestors. Telling such a saga, it's surprising that this book isn't 800 pages, but it's not. Dahlma Llanos Figueroa does a great job of skipping huge pieces of time without ...more
Debby Stephan
Jan 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put this book down. It follow five generations of women from Africa, through slavery in Puerto Rico to freedom and to New York. All of them pass down to their first daughters a truly magical stone. This stone helps them to carry their stories, the memories of the past, knowledge for the future, and the way to see their paths. All of them live difficult lives but they make it through.

The history throughout the book is wonderful. I love reading books about other cultures because there i
Mar 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
From slave days in Puerto Rico through 5 generations of daughters which end in New York, we visit each daughters story. I found the 1st two which take place in Puerto Rico interesting because their struggles were so much greater. Fela's story is one of slavery and love and getting out of both. Mati's story is of healer and craftswoman making her way as a free woman. Then we get to Concha who rejects her past and Elena who gets different struggles in New York City. Carisa returns to her historica ...more
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Picked this up in my library while searching for Puerto Rican literature to enhance my trip to Puerto Rico. There were few choices. Wow what a great book! The writing is crisply descriptive and compelling without being heavy-handed or overlong [one of my pet peeves]. The tale of several generations of Afro-Puerto Rican women from the slavery of the 1800's through immigration to contemporary independent woman is interesting and engaging. I learned a lot too! Beautiful cover illustration. A gem. ...more
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Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa was born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York City. She is a product of the Puerto Rican communities on the island and in the South Bronx. She attended the New York City public school system and received her academic degrees from the State University of New York at Buffalo and Queens College-City University of New York. As a child she was sent to live with her grandparents ...more

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