2 Jun 2016


The Language of Flowers by Vanessa DiffenbaughTHE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS by VANESSA DIFFENBAUGH.

BACK COVER BLURB: The Victorian language of flowers was used to express emotions: honeysuckle for devotion, azaleas for passion, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones it has been more useful in communicating grief, mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings.

Now eighteen, Victoria has nowhere to go and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. When her talent is discovered by a local florist, she discovers her gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But it takes meeting a mysterious vendor at the flower market for her to realise what's been missing in her own life, and, as she starts to fall for him, she forced to confront a painful secret from her past and decide whether it's worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.

FIRST SENTENCE {Part One ~ Common Thistle: 1}: For eight years I dreamed of fire.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 127}: I held fistfuls of the small yellow flowers to my face as if discovering water after many days in the desert. Pollen clung to my cheeks, and petals rained down on my chest and stomach and thighs.

SOURCE: A library book read for the June gathering of the Arkansas Book Club - Hello ladies - of which I'm an honorary member. For Kelly's review of The Language Of Flowers visit her Thoughts & Ramblings blog here

MY THOUGHTS: They say its common for children in the care system to test people. To push their foster carers/adoptive parents in an attempt to prove that they are right in their belief that they are unlovable, that there will come a time when they will be rejected. Something that came across loud and clear as Victoria struggled with placement after placement pre Elizabeth from whom she discovers her passion for flowers.

Such memorable characters. Well rounded, whilst I can't say I always liked Victoria (or Elizabeth come to that) I came to understand and love them warts and all so to speak.

With a two fold narrative and events that see the story move back before the strands eventually come together The Language Of Flowers could have proved confusing but instead proved a well crafted read, the various relationships and themes of communication (or lack thereof), motherhood and redemption ... I could go on ... coming together in a richly interwoven tapestry.

Then there's the bonus of the 'flower dictionary' at the back of the book in which the reader is enlightened as to the almost forgotten meaning of the language of flowers.

Verging on ***** ('It was amazing') as opposed to the **** ('I really liked it') I eventually decided on (I don't use the star system on my blog and would prefer not to use it at all but certain sites such as GoodReads require it), it is this, the secret language of flowers, that I personally would have liked to have seen featured more prominently than it was. To perhaps have had more people visit the florist where Victoria first came to ply her craft.


Kelly said...

Whew! I'm really glad you liked the selection this time. I also enjoyed it quite a bit and, like you, wavered in my feelings about Victoria at times.

I'll finish up my review following our meeting tonight and post it in the morning. Meanwhile, I've printed out yours to take with me to share. Interesting to note your cover was different from mine.

Suko said...

Tracy, I enjoyed your wonderful review, and will keep this book in mind. It sounds quite intriguing.

Brian Joseph said...

Great review of this book Tracy.

I like the fact that you mentioned that there were unlikable things about the main characters but that you liked them anyway. I think that this is a sign of a very good book.

On a side note whenever plants are mentioned in a story I figure that there is some symbolism involved.

Sherry Ellis said...

Good review. It's good to have a flawed main character. That's not always easy to achieve as a writer.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Sounds like it handles the serious issues that kids through foster systems go though well. I haven't heard that much about this book and it does sound like it needs to be out there more. Will have to see if the library has this one.

Literary Feline said...

This has been in my TBR collection for awhile now, but I haven't gotten to it. It does sound good. I have worked with foster children before--still do, really. And my brother is in the process of adopting a child who has spent most of his young childhood in the foster care system. I imagine I won't be able to keep my professional hat off when I read this--but I'll try!

Melliane said...

It sounds quite interesting the flower part, the thing about Victoria. why not.

Karen Alderman said...

This sounds like something I would enjoy!

Karen @For What It's Worth

Gina R said...

Ooh, now THAT sounds like my kind of read! Also reminds me a smidge of MEMORY OF VIOLETS (the author's name escapes me at the moment)... I think you'd enjoy it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!