Title: The Language of Flowers
Author: Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Genre: General Fiction
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.
Victoria has a lot of issues she has spent her life in the foster care system and it hasn’t been a happy experience and as a result she is angry, miserable and full of self loathing. Her journey to self worth is told in chapters that alternate between the present and events that occurred eight years previously when she was 10. This was the time she first learned about the language of flowers which enabled her to cope with life in foster care. Not a lot is explicitly told about the abuses that she went through – but enough is revealed to understand that kids in foster care are not necessarily in a safe and caring environment. As a contrast she gets treated much better as an adult and it is with the support of friends that she slowly realises that she is loveable, friends who stand by her when she reaches the point in her life where she has to choose between being isolated and part of a community. I was sucked into Victoria’s world from page one and at times I wanted to hug her and at other times I wanted to slap her, but above all she was very real for me.
Rating: A – Excellent. I could not put it down
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