By Vanessa Diffenbaugh
SYNOPSIS: A mesmerizing, moving, and elegantly written debut novel, The Language of Flowers beautifully weaves past and present, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own troubled past.
The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating grief, mistrust, and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings.
Now eighteen and emancipated from the system, Victoria has nowhere to go and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. Soon a local florist discovers her talents, and Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But a mysterious vendor at the flower market has her questioning what’s been missing in her life, and when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.
MY REVIEW: Lately I seem to be drawn to books that flip from one time to another. I don't know if that's a product of what's out there now, or just a factor of the stories I seem to love. Yes, I loved Vanessa Diffenbaugh's The Language of Flowers! There, I said it early on. I pasted in a sneak peek at the bottom of this review post if you want to see what glorious things I am talking about with this story!
Diffenbaugh places us, her readers, in a seldom written about world. Foster care. And what happens to those in "the system" who aren't adopted. Victoria has a gift, she loves to nurture flowers and plants. I liked the way Diffenbaugh shows the caring and vulnerable side of Victoria through her garden.
This first time author has written a book as beautiful as the flowers that unfold within the book's pages. She's a wordsmith and a born storyteller. Just when you think you know what trail you're on, Diffenbaugh throws a curve into your garden path.And they aren't all pretty. There's grit and substance.
I have to admit that I was glued to the meanings of the different flowers and wish we still gave meaning to the flowers we use as gifts.
Well told, well paced and well plotted. I highly recommend this one! I loved learning the language of flowers and hope you will too. But more importantly, I thought the journey of Diffenbaugh's Victoria is a lesson learning experience. She'll open your eyes and make you think...and feel.
4 out of 5 stars!
This galley was sent to me by the publisher and in no way affected my review.