Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa’s A Woman of Endurance: A Novel was published in April 2022 (HarperCollins). [Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.]
Description: Combining the haunting power of Toni Morrison’s Beloved with the evocative atmosphere of Phillippa Gregory’s A Respectable Trade, Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa’s groundbreaking novel illuminates a little discussed aspect of history—the Puerto Rican Atlantic Slave Trade—witnessed through the experiences of Pola, an African captive used as a breeder to bear more slaves.
A Woman of Endurance, set in nineteenth-century Puerto Rican plantation society, follows Pola, a deeply spiritual African woman who is captured and later sold for the purpose of breeding future slaves. The resulting babies are taken from her as soon as they are born. Pola loses the faith that has guided her and becomes embittered and defensive. The dehumanizing violence of her life almost destroys her. But this is not a novel of defeat but rather one of survival, regeneration, and reclamation of common humanity.
Readers are invited to join Pola in her journey to healing. From the sadistic barbarity of her first experiences, she moves on to receive compassion and support from a revitalizing new community. Along the way, she learns to recognize and embrace the many faces of love—a mother’s love, a daughter’s love, a sister’s love, a love of community, and the self-love that she must recover before she can offer herself to another. It is ultimately, a novel of the triumph of the human spirit even under the most brutal of conditions.
Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa was born in Puerto Rico. As a child she was sent to live with her grandparents in the South Bronx, where she was introduced to the culture of rural Puerto Rico, including the storytelling skills that came naturally to the women, especially the older women, in her family. Much of her work is based on her experiences during this time. Llanos-Figueroa taught creative writing, language and literature in the New York City school system before becoming a young-adult librarian and writer. Her first novel, Daughters of the Stone, was a Finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, and her short stories have been published in anthologies and literary magazines such as Breaking Ground: Anthology of Puerto Rican Women Writers in New York 1980-2012, Growing Up Girl, Afro-Hispanic Review, Pleaides, Latino Book Review, Label Me Latina/o and Kweli Journal. She lives in New York City.
For more information, see https://www.harpercollins.com/products/a-woman-of-endurance-dahlma-llanos-figueroa