Saturday, September 1, 2012
The Language of Flowers - Review
Author: Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Source: Librarything Early Reviewers
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.
While this book was in parts was painful to read, I loved it. It was so sad sometimes, my heart went out to Victoria.
I have a special place in my heart for stories that involve adoption or foster children. My heart broke over and over for Victoria, every time we learned she was rejected, every year it seemed until she finally went into a group home, no more chances at a family.
So it shouldn't be surprising that she doesn't know how to trust or make a family. How can she, when no one ever gave her reasons to trust or to be loved? She has a hard time communicating with others as well, and finds solace in flowers. When she meets Renata, a florist, her life begins to change, slowly, bit by bit. She reconnects with a boy from her past, Grant. And from here the story takes some surprising turns, some happy, some sad.
You find yourself really rooting for Victoria, this girl who went through so much but survived. She built a fence around herself for reasons that are understandable. But when circumstances change and she has reasons to take them down, will she? I wanted to skip to the end to find out, as I sometimes do, but this time I let the story play out. And I was happy I did.