Lillie is a slave on Greenfog plantation with her father, mother, and brother. Her father joins the Confederate Army for the promise of freedom. But when he is killed, he is accused of theft and the family remains in slavery. Lillie sets out to clear her father’s name and win freedom for those she cares about. She uses her own ingenuity and a little magic to help her complete her quest.
Freedom Stone was an enjoyable read. The story is told primarily from Lillie’s point of view, but Kluger doesn’t hesitate to shift into the perspectives of other characters, including the daughter of the plantation owner, and Bett, an elderly slave whose baking is infused with a special magic dating back to the Ibo tribe in Africa. The end result is a richer view of plantation life than could be achieved solely through Lillie’s eyes. Kluger shows the brutality and injustice of how the slaves were treated, and how the personalities of both slaves and overseers contributed to the violence.
The magic Lillie uses to manipulate time is obviously the most difficult part of the novel to swallow, but Bett and Lillie so clearly believe in the special powers of their ancestry that my disbelief was suspended. The moment where Lillie runs out of Bett’s magic and reaches into herself to find her own was a lovely piece of writing. Further, the time travel device permits Lillie to visit her father on the battlefield before he dies, allowing her and the reader a glimpse of the devastating war around them.
I would recommend Freedom Stone to kids who are interested in the Civil War, with the caveat that there is a magical aspect to the story.