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The Language of Flowers

Average Rating 4.5
( 596 )
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(345)

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(158)

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(51)

2 Star

(17)

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(25)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

39 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

Incredible book! Must read.

The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

To put it simply, this book is brilliant. Any book that can make me cry, yell, gasp in horror, and feel such compassion for its characters is exceptional. Because this story was told, a part of me has been changed forev...
The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

To put it simply, this book is brilliant. Any book that can make me cry, yell, gasp in horror, and feel such compassion for its characters is exceptional. Because this story was told, a part of me has been changed forever.

Young Victoria Jones had no voice. Life had been cruel to her, and she had no say in where, or with whom she would live it. For nine years, she led a distrustful, broken, and neglected existence throughout numerous foster homes. That is, until she was brought to the endless rolling San Francisco vineyards and farmhouse belonging to Elizabeth, her new foster mother. Here she was introduced to a fresh beginning, and inadvertently a voice; the language of flowers.

Troubles and heartache seemed to follow Victoria. Sometimes she battled them, oftentimes they overcame her; but an underlying strength burned in her battered heart, fueling her search for peace, belonging, and love.

I plan on re-reading this book-slower, savoring each delicate, heartrending page. The Language of Flowers is a unique bouquet, compiled of Lavender (Mistrust) Heath (Solitude) Fennel (Strength) and Hawthorne (Hope). The beauty and scent of its blossoms will linger with me for quite some time.

posted by Nicnac63 on August 22, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

Good Read

I read the reviews and took a chance, there are alot of pros and cons in this book, make your own decision. This book is hauntingly sad and bittersweet. I felt that Victoria was left holding the bag as many unwanted children are, on the other hand she is also frustratin...
I read the reviews and took a chance, there are alot of pros and cons in this book, make your own decision. This book is hauntingly sad and bittersweet. I felt that Victoria was left holding the bag as many unwanted children are, on the other hand she is also frustrating! I feel sad for her and mad at her all at the same time, she is without a doubt one of the most frustrating people. She has no real personality it seems and its impossible for her to have any genuine relationships. While I can understand because of her childhood why she would be angry and mistrustful, she is in a word....feral. I feel like she never truly lets go of her past and is unaccepting of her future even though shes doing well, she seems wholly unappreciative of the oppurtunity she has and chucks it away with both hands. I thought that the ending felt rushed and should have gone further into detail. I think the other characters were great, the use of flowers was great,the book itself was lovely but victoria just pissed me off!Overall a good read......

posted by apacheprincess on October 6, 2011

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  • Posted August 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Incredible book! Must read.

    The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

    To put it simply, this book is brilliant. Any book that can make me cry, yell, gasp in horror, and feel such compassion for its characters is exceptional. Because this story was told, a part of me has been changed forever.

    Young Victoria Jones had no voice. Life had been cruel to her, and she had no say in where, or with whom she would live it. For nine years, she led a distrustful, broken, and neglected existence throughout numerous foster homes. That is, until she was brought to the endless rolling San Francisco vineyards and farmhouse belonging to Elizabeth, her new foster mother. Here she was introduced to a fresh beginning, and inadvertently a voice; the language of flowers.

    Troubles and heartache seemed to follow Victoria. Sometimes she battled them, oftentimes they overcame her; but an underlying strength burned in her battered heart, fueling her search for peace, belonging, and love.

    I plan on re-reading this book-slower, savoring each delicate, heartrending page. The Language of Flowers is a unique bouquet, compiled of Lavender (Mistrust) Heath (Solitude) Fennel (Strength) and Hawthorne (Hope). The beauty and scent of its blossoms will linger with me for quite some time.

    39 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 28, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Very good

    I enjoyed reading this book. The story was smart, interesting and entertaining! I highly recommend this book

    21 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Sad and beautiful

    This is a story of of needing to learn how to love. That seems unbelievable, doesn't it? Love just happens. We love our family, we love our friends, we love. We love. But, what if we never had a family, or a friend. What if a child were abandoned by her mother, the first person who would love her? What if she spent ten years with no one showing love, no one to turn to, not even a friend? What happens to love then? Victoria knew the answer. She knew what happens when one spends ten years without love. It becomes unattainable, or seems to. It becomes unbelievable, doesn't it? It becomes impossible. Victoria knew that. She also knew that no one would ever love her, and she set out to make it so. The sadness of Victoria and her spare, hollow life is a tangible thing. It is apparent to Renata, the woman who looked at a gaunt and empty young girl, and decided to try to help. She was careful to only help a little, lest she frighten Victoria away. She was circumspect and a little bit kind. She did what no one before, had managed to do. Victoria allowed her to become a friend. What happens in the days that follow are remarkable. The story grows like a vine around circumstance and coincidence. But then, some say, there is no coincidence. Some things are just meant to be. The journey that Victoria takes after meeting Renata, who is my personal hero in this story, is a journey with many twists, many turns, and many obstacles. But most journeys end somewhere, even if it is only at the beginning of a new journey. The back story, where we learn the language of flowers has its own elegance and beauty. I liked this book. Recommended

    21 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2011

    Read this book!

    I was fortunate enough to get an advance copy of this book. I read it straight through this weekend. This book has all the elements of a best seller--a page turning plot, flawed but likeable and believable characters, and thought-provoking themes. The book has a lot to say about broad themes--around family, love, and motherhood--and also offers an introduction to the foster care system and the Victorian language of flowers! I am amazed at the way the author took these seemingly unrelated subjects and wove them into the book in a totally entrancing and believable way.
    This book is well-written and offers so many topics for discussion, making it a great selection for book groups. I think young people will enjoy the book too, as they will relate to the main character's struggle to define her own identity. My recommendation: when this book is published, read it. You'll be glad you did.

    14 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2011

    Loved it!

    I was lucky enough to have received this book as an ARE, since it will come out in August. I cannot speak highly enough about this story or about the writing. I read it in a few days, and I was completely captivated from the first few words.
    The writing is flawless, the imagery so tightly woven that as you turn the pages you become ensnared in the smell and color of the flowers that haunt the lines. The story itself is a beautiful, honest look at the foster care system, its many, many faults and few positive sides. As a foster mother herself, the author is a perfect voice to speak for these children who are not blessed with families.
    The main character, Victoria, is a very special person. She's hard to get to know and understand, sometimes even making the reader frustrated at her many self-destructive behaviors, but we come to love the way her head works. We root (no pun intended) for her, we grieve for her past and her troubled present and we can't help but be hopeful about her petal-strewn future.
    I recommend this book to everyone. I hope to see lines in front of every bookstore to buy it on the day it comes out. I promise you, you will never think about flowers in the same way again.

    12 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2011

    Good Read

    I read the reviews and took a chance, there are alot of pros and cons in this book, make your own decision. This book is hauntingly sad and bittersweet. I felt that Victoria was left holding the bag as many unwanted children are, on the other hand she is also frustrating! I feel sad for her and mad at her all at the same time, she is without a doubt one of the most frustrating people. She has no real personality it seems and its impossible for her to have any genuine relationships. While I can understand because of her childhood why she would be angry and mistrustful, she is in a word....feral. I feel like she never truly lets go of her past and is unaccepting of her future even though shes doing well, she seems wholly unappreciative of the oppurtunity she has and chucks it away with both hands. I thought that the ending felt rushed and should have gone further into detail. I think the other characters were great, the use of flowers was great,the book itself was lovely but victoria just pissed me off!Overall a good read......

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 27, 2011

    Beautiful and Thought Provoking - A Story of Second Chances

    When I was approached by Random House to read this book, I was fascinated by the premise of the book. I was also interested because it was the author's first novel. I just wish I hadn't let it fall down in my pile of books to read. Once I started this book, I struggled with the fact that I couldn't put it down, yet I didn't want the story to end.

    The character of Victoria took me back to my early social work days of working with juveniles in alternative high schools and group homes. It reminded me of some of the kids who left an impression on me and made me wonder....where are they now? All would be adults by now. How are they doing? Was there someone there to help them transition into the adult world?

    I liked how the author flipped back and forth from Victoria's childhood in foster care to her current life as an adult. It made the story move faster and gave you the history you needed at the time you needed it. I can't say I had a favorite character, because I loved each of the them in their own special way, but Elizabeth and Renata were amazingly strong, patient and caring women that I would love to know. I also loved that a certain person in the novel was named Hazel Jones. My grandmother was Hazel Jones, and she also was a flower lover and passed that on to my mom and to me even though I never met her.

    I loved the history and language of the flowers. It was fascinating and made me look at flowers in a whole new light. I have a new flower garden that we will be planning for next spring and I am thinking differently about the types of flowers I want to plant in there.

    This novel touched on many different topics that would encourage lots of discussion including forgiveness, love, heartbreak, despair, hope, and second chances. We all make mistakes, so shouldn't we all deserve second, or maybe even third, fourth and fifth chances? This novel makes you believe second chances must be given and received.

    THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS is powerful, engaging, enchanting, thought provoking, and beautiful. When I got to the final chapter of the book, I was sad and torn. I wanted to get to find out what happened, but didn't want the story to end. This one is a keeper on my bookshelf and I have a feeling it would be on yours too. Run out and get this book today!

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 28, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Truly moving and heartwarming.

    Holding everyone at arms length, trusting no one, Victoria is the product of ill-treatment having been raised in multiple foster care. She recounts searing years of abuse and neglect that will make you cringe. Abandoned as an infant, Victoria was shuffled through the foster care system until age 9, when her last chance at being adopted failed miserably. Elizabeth, her foster care mother when she was 9, taught her the language of flowers. Since then, she'd been in group homes. Victoria uses the flower language in her job in a florist shop as an adult to create bouquets with messages. This form of communication gives hope to the storyline when she meets a flower vender who shares her ability to communicate with and through flowers. Truly moving and heart warming.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    "THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS" (REVIEW)

    "THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS" BY VANESSA DIFFENBAUGH

    We've always been told that flowers have meanings and Victoria Jones knows that better than anyone. After spending most of better than anyone. After spending most of her life in the foster care system, she soon ends up living in a public park where she starts her own garden until she is taken in by a florist that is surprised at her abilities with plants.

    This book is beautifully written and makes you realize just how wonderful the world can be. With a bit of mystery and secrecy tossed in this book it's intriguing. Don't miss out on this one!

    -Kitty Bullard / Great Minds Think Aloud Book Club

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 15, 2011

    Worth Every Penny

    Bought it and had it completly read in 24 hours - couldn't put it down! Looking forward to more from this author in the future!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2011

    highly recommend it!!!

    What a wonderful book!!! For a while now i have been reading books and putting them down immediately and moving on to the next hoping to find a book to draw my attention. This book did it!!! Couldn't put it down read it in two days and I keep rereading it!! Survival, love, motherhood, forgiveness, all wrapped into one!! It moved me so much that the tears kept falling!!! Read it!!!

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2011

    Could not put this book down.

    I am a James Patterson, Mary Higgins Clark fan.

    This book kept my interest all the way through. I can see where this could be movie material.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 26, 2011

    Flowers used for Expression

    When emotions are too raw, flowers become a catalyst for expression. Foster child Victoria, abandoned as an infant, shuttled from foster home to foster home until she is 9 years old. At 9 she becomes the foster daughter of Elizabeth, a grape farmer. Isolated from the world herself, Elizabeth pulls Victoria into her 'family' in the hopes of adoption.
    Flowers and their language is a skill Elizabeth teaches Victoria over the course of the next year.
    Victoria learns and takes in so much that when she is released from the foster care system at age 18 she eventually finds herself back with flowers, working for a florist named Renata.
    Excelling in her knowledge of flowers and their expression of emotion, Victoria begins to make a name for herself in the floral world. Victoria continues to struggle with her own sense of belonging and self-worth that follows her in a relationship with Grant. Unable to express herself, Grant and Victoria begin a flower dictionary of expressions.
    Fears of not knowing how to belong, of feeling inadequate causes Victoria to jeopardize her own happiness. Will she be able to pull out of herself and find the love she deserves?
    Amazing look into the depth of flowers and a creation of a floral dictionary, detailed with their origin and meanings. I had never given much thought to the depth flowers could express, depth of emotion when our uncertainties make our words unavailable.
    Great focus on the foster care system and the need for programs to integrate these 18 year olds into adulthood, into a society where they can feel they finally belong.
    Told with heart and deep emotions, both verbal and through flowers.
    Unique and Powerful!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 20, 2011

    Wonderful book

    As i read the reviews for this book and heard everyone say how they couldnt put it down i must admit i was sceptical... ive heard that line too many times and never said it myself. This book is causing me for the first time to actually say i couldnt put it down. This is one of the most wonderful books i have ever read. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone and will most likely read it again myself. It is sad, hopeful, and full of meaning. I will never look at flowers the same. Get this book... it is well worth every penny

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 20, 2011

    Loved it.

    Loved it. That's all

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2011

    Hang in there-it's worth finishing!

    I have to admit that I almost didn't finish this book. I'd begun to have the feeling that the time invested wasn't going to be worth it by the time I got to the end of the book. Boy, was I wrong!! It quickly showed me that there was so much more to come and I couldn't put it down. It follows the morphing of a foster child from one with serious issues to a woman who understands and gives love and commitment. It's beautifully written, almost poetic in parts, and a cast of supporting characters who are fascinating in their own right. Loved it and I know you will too!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 26, 2012

    Heart Wrenching Book!

    Victoria, a defiant child, is brought up in the foster care system and is so hardened on the outside that she is unable to feel love. She finds solace and communicates her feelings through flowers. This is a heart wrenching story ... a story that you won't soon forget about forgiveness and second chances. I'm looking forward to more books from this gifted writer.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2012

    Even though Diffenbaugh has only witnessed the difficult life le

    Even though Diffenbaugh has only witnessed the difficult life lead by people like Victoria, she understands what its like to be in her position. The characters are real and they provide a new perspective on the people we never notice. The story is different and fresh, emotional and honest. It actually inspired me to write a similar story for essay for a college application.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2012

    It has been some time since i read a book that did not let me sl

    It has been some time since i read a book that did not let me sleep at night, that I just would wake up at 2-3am because I just wanted to see what happen next, this was a beautiful told story, very heartfelt and real, i came across it by chance, i had spend some time unable to find what to read next and wondering thru the aisles i found this treasure, that i just felt in love with, and that i have recommended to all of my friends and everyone who reads this review. I highly recommend this. This story deserves to be seen on the big screen after you have read it of course.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2012

    Amazing book

    This is a well written, heart wrenching story with a very unique theme, communicating through the meaning of flowers. I could not put it down!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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