Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

by:  Vanessa Diffenbaugh
published by:  Ballentine Books
publish date:  August 23, 2011

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 feelings like 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, 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's forced to confront a painful secret from her past, and decide whether it's worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness. "The Language of Flowers" is a heartbreaking and redemptive novel about the meaning of flowers, the meaning of family, and the meaning of love.

This was one of those strange books that I liked, but disliked at the same time.  At times, I really didn't like Victoria, but I couldn't help but forgive her transgressions because on some level I kept thinking "It's ok, look at everything she's been through". 

I also didn't particularly buy into the relationship between Grant and Victoria.  What was Grant getting out of it?  It was all give on his part it seemed like and he got a cold, selfish, hungry partner in return.  More could have been explained about him I guess. 

I did like the story.  I liked Victoria "aging out" of the foster care system and struggling to make it on her own.  I was frustrated with her decisions at times, but she was a fighter and kept scrapping to make it.  I found the language of flowers to be very interesting.  I loved the idea and think it's one that should probably have a resurgence.  (Valentine's Day gift idea...Flower Dictionary and a lovely bouquet of assorted flowers to dictate your feelings)

Bottom line, there was a lot I liked about this book, but I had some issues with it too, particularly on this topic of motherhood, but you'd have to read the book first to understand.  I don't want to spoil the book, but there were some thoughts and ideas that Victoria had that made my eyebrows go so high they probably disappeared into my hairline. 

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