"In the interest of full disclosure, I know the author. She took a seminar from me in April in Tuscany... The book combines magical realism with historical fiction. It has at least a dozen excellent female characters: strong, decisive, determined to survive. The sense of place is extraordinarily well rendered. The writing is deceptively simple... I enjoyed it greatly."
"[A] compelling debut....beautifully told by Llanos-Figueroa, this is an unforgettable saga of the magical beliefs binding one family for generations."
"This is a remarkable first novel, both magical and deeply real, that vividly renders the power of storytelling to a diasporic people. The story of each woman in her own time and place is like a luminous fiber, meticulously spun from hay into gold, which woven together creates an unforgettable history, grounded in a black stone that symbolizes the legends and rituals of the Old Ones, but spiraling into a wider world that connects stone to memory and earth to continents. I am happy to add such a clairvoyant new voice to the Latina literary heritage. Llanos-Figueroa's 'Fela', with her embroidery skills, her dreaming, and her dance of loss and survival, is kindred spirit to my own 'Concepción'. I could not resist the magnetic pull of these stories."
~ Alicia Gaspar de Alba,
author of Calligraphy of the Witch
"The best fiction allows the reader to believe that the stories—critical dispatches not so far removed from reality—could be true. Llanos-Figueroa's deeply personal work is a landmark example of a people's history that, while fictionalized, is nevertheless wholly true to life."
~ Brittany Shoot
"In her first novel, Llanos-Figueroa chronicles the experiences of a seldom-discussed group, the descendants of African slaves in Puerto Rico. In a straightforward narrative style, sprinkled with magic realism, the book relates the stories passed from mother to daughter through five generations of powerful women, beginning with Fela, a proud West African who brings a stone of great power with her into slavery. Fela's daughter Mati uses the stone to become a curandera, or healer. In succeeding generations, each of Fela's female descendants alternately discovers her powers and then rejects them, experiences the failure of a husband to understand her needs, and makes mistakes with her daughter. Finally, Fela's great-great granddaughter Carisa returns to Puerto Rico from New York, rescues her ancestral stories from oblivion, and brings the power of the stone full circle. VERDICT This commanding exploration of women's history will resonate with readers of strong African American feminist narratives like those of Toni Morrison and Ntozake Shange. With its unflinching description of slavery, it should also appeal to readers of slave narratives like Charles Johnson's Middle Passage and Manu Herbstein's Ama: A Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade. [Library marketing.]"
~ Andrea Kempf
Johnson County Community College
"Beautifully written saga of five generations of Afro-Puerto Rican descent that shows all of their power, resilience and vulnerability. The stone in the title, along with some powers of magic are passed along from female to female among the descendants of Fela, an African women sold into slavery in Puerto Rico. 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."
~ Uptown Literati