The Washington Post
The Language of Flowersby Vanessa Diffenbaugh
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
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 mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to/b>/i>
- Editorial Reviews
- Product Details
- Related Subjects
- Read an Excerpt
- What People Are Saying
- Meet the author
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
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 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 with nowhere to go, Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger 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.
Look for special features inside. Join the Circle for author chats and more.
The Washington Post
"Instantly enchanting…. [Diffenbaugh] is the best new writer of the year." -Elle
“I would like to hand Vanessa Diffenbaugh a bouquet of bouvardia (enthusiasm), gladiolus (you pierce my heart) and lisianthus (appreciation). In this original and brilliant first novel, Diffenbaugh has united her fascination with the language of flowers—a long-forgotten and mysterious way of communication—with her firsthand knowledge of the travails of the foster-care system. … This novel is both enchanting and cruel, full of beauty and anger. Diffenbaugh is a talented writer and a mesmerizing storyteller. She includes a flower dictionary in case we want to use the language ourselves. And there is one more sprig I should add to her bouquet: a single pink carnation (I will never forget you).”—Washington Post
"A fascinating debut…. Diffenbaugh clearly knows both the human heart and her plants, and she keeps us rooting for the damaged Victoria." -O Magazine
"Diffenbaugh effortlessly spins this enchanting tale, making even her prickly protagonist impossible not to love."Entertainment Weekly
“An unexpectedly beautiful book about an ugly subject: children who grow up without families, and what becomes of them in the absence of unconditional love...Jane Eyre for 2011.” –The San Francisco Chronicle
"(T)he first-time novelist and real-life foster mother masterfully mixes sweet and tart to create a story that is devastating, yes, and hopeful, but also surprisingly, satisfyingly real."Redbook
“A moving and beautifully written portrayal of the frailty – and the hardness – of the human spirit”. –The Daily Telegraph (UK)
“Lucid and lovely” –The Wall Street Journal
“In a world where talk is cheap, debut author Vanessa Diffenbaugh has written a captivating novel in which a single sprig of rosemary speaks louder than words. …The Language of Flowers deftly weaves the sweetness of newfound love with the heartache of past mistakes in a novel that will certainly change how you choose your next bouquet."—The Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"We couldn't put it down."Good Housekeeping
“Diffenbaugh creates a story of promise and redemption.” –The Sacramento Bee
“A deftly powerful story of finding your way home, even after you’ve burned every bridge behind you. The Language of Flowers took my heart apart, chapter by chapter, then reassembled the broken pieces in better working condition—I loved this book.—Jamie Ford, author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
“This hope-soaked, glorious book speaks to every once-broken, cracked, or poorly mended heart about the risks we take to heal, to be fully human, to truly connect. An astonishingly assured debut.”—Joshilyn Jackson, author of Gods in Alabama
“As a foster care survivor, I feel a kinship with Victoria Jones as she battles loss and risk and her own thorny demons to find redemption. Vanessa Diffenbaugh has given us a deeply human character to root for, and a heart-wrenching story with insight and compassion to spare.” Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife
"The Language of Flowers is a primer for the language of love. Vanessa Diffenbaugh deftly gathers themes of maternal love, forgiveness and redemption in an unforgettable literary bouquet. Book clubs will swoon!" Adriana Trigiani, author of Very Valentine and Don’t Sing at the Table
“This heartbreaking debut novel about mothers and daughters, love, and the secret significance of flowers had me weeping with emotion and wonder. Victoria Jones is an unforgettable heroine and you will never look at flowers the same way again.”—Tatiana de Rosnay, author of Sarah’s Key
“Is it really possible that this is Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s first novel? I can hardly believe a debut writer can bring this much insight and polish to a story. What an achievement!”—Kelly Corrigan, author of The Middle Place
“The Language of Flowers gives us new definitions of human compassion in all its forms. Bouquets of laurel and trumpet vine await this beautifully arranged story!”—Helen Simonson, author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
“Devastating, hopeful, and beautifully written—The Language of Flowers is a testament to the tender mercies and miraculous healing power of love.”—Beth Hoffman, author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
"The language of flowers, as illuminated through Victoria's words and a special appendix, turns out to be an addictive preoccupation."NPR
“The Language of Flowers is a warm, satisfying, feel-good read.”—Metro
“A sensory feast of flowers and their symbolic meaning, this tale – seen through the eyes of foster care survivor Victoria – is uniquely compelling.” ASOS
“Enchanting, ennobling, and powerfully engaging, Diffenbaugh’s artfully accomplished debut novel lends poignant testimony to the multitude of mysteries held in the human heart.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Fans of Janet Fitch’s White Oleander will enjoy this solid and well-written debut, which is also certain to be a hit with book clubs.”—Library Journal (starred review)
"Vanessa Diffenbaugh delivers a first-class, literary forget-me-not."King Features
"A compelling story about spiritual hunger and the power of nature—and human connection—to help heal hearts."Bookpage
“Uses green, growing things to say something fresh and special about human life.”—Chicago Tribune
"Elegantly written...a true “page-turner”."Chicago Sun-Times
“A novel of emotional depth and uncommon force.”—Chicoer.com
An expert in the 19th-century language of flowers, Victoria is also a deeply troubled young woman who has just been emancipated from the foster care system. This first novel explores Victoria's struggle to make her way in the world and the mysteries of loving and of being loved. VERDICT While at times heartbreaking, the tone is ultimately hopeful, and readers will never look at a flower bouquet in the same way again. (LJ 6/1/11)
Cleverly combining tender and tough, Diffenbaugh's highly anticipated debut creates a place in the world for a social misfit with floral insight.
After more than 32 homes, 18-year-old Victoria Jones, abandoned as a baby, has given up on the idea of love or family. Scarred, suspicious and defiant, she has nothing: no friends, no money, just an attitude, an instinct for flowers and an education in their meaning from Elizabeth, the one kind foster parent who persevered with her. Now graduating out of state care, Victoria must make her own way and starts out by sleeping rough in a local San Francisco park. But a florist gives her casual work and then, at a flower market, she meets Grant, Elizabeth's nephew, another awkward soul who speaks the language of flowers. Diffenbaugh narrates Victoria and Grant's present-day involvement, over which the cloud of the past hangs heavy, in parallel with the history of Elizabeth's foster care, which we know ended badly. After a strong, self-destructive start, Victoria's long road to redemption takes some dips including an unconvincing, drawn-out subplot involving Elizabeth's sister, arson and postnatal depression. While true to the logic of its perverse psychology, the story can be exasperating before finally swerving toward the light.
An unusual, overextended romance, fairy tale in parts but with a sprinkling of grit.
- Random House Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.30(w) x 7.76(h) x 0.76(d)
Read an Excerpt
For eight years I dreamed of fire. Trees ignited as I passed them; oceans burned. The sugary smoke settled in my hair as I slept, the scent like a cloud left on my pillow as I rose. Even so, the moment my mattress started to burn, I bolted awake. The sharp, chemical smell was nothing like the hazy syrup of my dreams; the two were as different as Indian and Carolina jasmine, separation and attachment. They could not be confused.
Standing in the middle of the room, I located the source of the fire. A neat row of wooden matches lined the foot of the bed. They ignited, one after the next, a glowing picket fence across the piped edging. Watching them light, I felt a terror unequal to the size of the flickering flames, and for a paralyzing moment I was ten years old again, desperate and hopeful in a way I had never been before and would never be again.
But the bare synthetic mattress did not ignite like the thistle had in late October. It smoldered, and then the fire went out.
It was my eighteenth birthday.
In the living room, a row of fidgeting girls sat on the sagging couch. Their eyes scanned my body and settled on my bare, unburned feet. One girl looked relieved; another disappointed. If I’d been staying another week, I would have remembered each expression. I would have retaliated with rusty nails in the soles of shoes or small pebbles in bowls of chili. Once, I’d held the end of a glowing metal clothes hanger to a sleeping roommate’s shoulder, for an offense less severe than arson.
But in an hour, I’d be gone. The girls knew this, every one.
From the center of the couch, a girl stood up. She looked young—fifteen, sixteen at most—and was pretty in a way I didn’t see much of: good posture, clear skin, new clothes. I didn’t immediately recognize her, but when she crossed the room there was something familiar about the way she walked, arms bent and aggressive. Though she’d just moved in, she was not a stranger; it struck me that I’d lived with her before, in the years after Elizabeth, when I was at my most angry and violent.
Inches from my body, she stopped, her chin jutting into the space between us.
“The fire,” she said evenly, “was from all of us. Happy birthday.”
Behind her, the row of girls on the couch squirmed. A hood was pulled up, a blanket wrapped tighter. Morning light flickered across a line of lowered eyes, and the girls looked suddenly young, trapped. The only ways out of a group home like this one were to run away, age out, or be institutionalized. Level 14 kids weren’t adopted; they rarely, if ever, went home. These girls knew their prospects. In their eyes was nothing but fear: of me, of their housemates, of the life they had earned or been given. I felt an unexpected rush of pity. I was leaving; they had no choice but to stay.
I tried to push my way toward the door, but the girl stepped to the side, blocking my path.
“Move,” I said.
A young woman working the night shift poked her head out of the kitchen. She was probably not yet twenty, and more terrified of me than any of the girls in the room.
“Please,” she said, her voice begging. “This is her last morning. Just let her go.”
I waited, ready, as the girl before me pulled her stomach in, fists clenched tight. But after a moment, she shook her head and turned away. I walked around her.
I had an hour before Meredith would come for me. Opening the front door, I stepped outside. It was a foggy San Francisco morning, the concrete porch cool on my bare feet. I paused, thinking. I’d planned to gather a response for the girls, something biting and hateful, but I felt strangely forgiving. Maybe it was because I was eighteen, because, all at once, it was over for me, that I was able to feel tenderness toward their crime. Before I left, I wanted to say something to combat the fear in their eyes.
Walking down Fell, I turned onto Market. My steps slowed as I reached a busy intersection, unsure of where to go. Any other day I would have plucked annuals from Duboce Park, scoured the overgrown lot at Page and Buchanan, or stolen herbs from the neighborhood market. For most of a decade I’d spent every spare moment memorizing the meanings and scientific descriptions of individual flowers, but the knowledge went mostly unutilized. I used the same flowers again and again: a bouquet of marigold, grief; a bucket of thistle, misanthropy; a pinch of dried basil, hate. Only occasionally did my communication vary: a pocketful of red carnations for the judge when I realized I would never go back to the vineyard, and peony for Meredith, as often as I could find it. Now, searching Market Street for a florist, I scoured my mental dictionary.
After three blocks I came to a liquor store, where paper-wrapped bouquets wilted in buckets under the barred windows. I paused in front of the store. They were mostly mixed arrangements, their messages conflicting. The selection of solid bouquets was small: standard roses in red and pink, a wilting bunch of striped carnations, and, bursting from its paper cone, a cluster of purple dahlias. Dignity. Immediately, I knew it was the message I wanted to give. Turning my back to the angled mirror above the door, I tucked the flowers inside my coat and ran.
I was out of breath by the time I returned to the house. The living room was empty, and I stepped inside to unwrap the dahlias. The flowers were perfect starbursts, layers of white-tipped purple petals unfurling from tight buds of a center. Biting off an elastic band, I detangled the stems. The girls would never understand the meaning of the dahlias (the meaning itself an ambiguous statement of encouragement); even so, I felt an unfamiliar lightness as I paced the long hall, slipping a stem under each closed bedroom door.
The remaining flowers I gave to the young woman who’d worked the night shift. She was standing by the kitchen window, waiting for her replacement.
“Thank you,” she said when I handed her the bouquet, confusion in her voice. She twirled the stiff stems between her palms.
Meredith arrived at ten o’clock, as she’d told me she would. I waited on the front porch, a cardboard box balanced on my thighs. In eighteen years I’d collected mostly books: the Dictionary of Flowers and Peterson Field Guide to Pacific States Wildflowers, both sent to me by Elizabeth a month after I left her home; botany textbooks from libraries all over the East Bay; thin paperback volumes of Victorian poetry stolen from quiet bookstores. Stacks of folded clothes covered the books, a collection of found and stolen items, some that fit, many that did not. Meredith was taking me to The Gathering House, a transitional home in the Outer Sunset. I’d been on the waiting list since I was ten.
“Happy birthday,” Meredith said as I put my box on the backseat of her county car. I didn’t say anything. We both knew that it might or might not have been my birthday. My first court report listed my age as approximately three weeks; my birth date and location were unknown, as were my biological parents. August 1 had been chosen for purposes of emancipation, not celebration.
I slunk into the front seat next to Meredith and closed the door, waiting for her to pull away from the curb. Her acrylic fingernails tapped against the steering wheel. I buckled my seat belt. Still, the car did not move. I turned to face Meredith. I had not changed out of my pajamas, and I pulled my flannel-covered knees up to my chest and wrapped my jacket around my legs. My eyes scanned the roof of Meredith’s car as I waited for her to speak.
“Well, are you ready?” she asked.
“This is it, you know,” she said. “Your life starts here. No one to blame but yourself from here on out.”
Meredith Combs, the social worker responsible for selecting the stream of adoptive families that gave me back, wanted to talk to me about blame.
What People are Saying About This
“[An] original and brilliant first novel . . . a mesmerizing storyteller . . . I would like to hand Vanessa Diffenbaugh a bouquet of bouvardia (enthusiasm), gladiolus (you pierce my heart) and lisianthus (appreciation). . . . And there is one more sprig I should add to her bouquet: a single pink carnation (I will never forget you).”—Brigitte Weeks, The Washington Post
“A captivating novel in which a single sprig of rosemary speaks louder than words . . . The Language of Flowers deftly weaves the sweetness of newfound love with the heartache of past mistakes. . . . [It] will certainly change how you choose your next bouquet.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Fascinating . . . Diffenbaugh clearly knows both the human heart and her plants, and she keeps us rooting for the damaged Victoria.”—O: The Oprah Magazine (book of the week)
“Diffenbaugh effortlessly spins this enchanting tale, making even her prickly protagonist impossible not to love.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Compelling . . . immensely engaging . . . unabashedly romantic . . . an emotional arc of almost unbearable poignance.”—The Boston Globe
Meet the Author
To write The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh found inspiration in her own experience as a foster mother. After studying creative writing and education at Stanford University, Vanessa taught art and writing to youth in low-income communities. She and her husband, PK, have three children and live in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This is her first novel.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
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.
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
I enjoyed reading this book. The story was smart, interesting and entertaining! I highly recommend 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.
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!
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......
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.
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.
"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
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
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!
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.
A WONDERFUL READ!! I couldn't put this book down until I read the last page. It was a fascinating book about the Language of Flowers. I know that flowers have meanings and now I look at them in a different way. Now when I plant flowers, I will plan more as to what I want according to what they mean to me. I was also captivated by the main character in the book-Victoria. She had gone through so much in her lifetime and had some obstacles to overcome. She became a very wonderful young woman with a bright future ahead of her.
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!
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!!!
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!
Loved it. That's all
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.
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.
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!
This is an amazingly powerful book. The plot is engrossing, the characters are compelling, and the writing is beautifully crafted. I stayed up all night to read it. I rarely find a book that I highly recommend. This book is on that short list. I've already told my book club and all of my reader friends that this is a must-read novel.
I stumbled across this book at the public library and was immediately drawn in within a few pages. This is a book that will make you want to read from cover to cover without stopping, but don' t do it. Take the time to smell the roses (pun intended). You will want to share each moment with the main characters and empathize, laugh, and cry for them and with them.
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.
This book was different than anything I'd ever read. I found the characters to be deep and relatable. The book is beautifully written and the story wound within a simple theme. It is a perfect representation of the human spirit's need to love and be loved in a way that is both desperate and fulfilling.
This book was recommended to me by a friend and I'm so glad I picked it up! Finished in just under 30 hours. A very heart touching story. Read this book!