May 2, 2013

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

The Language of Flowers
Carolina jasmine for separation.
Indian jasmine for attachment.
Dahlias for dignity.
Marigold for grief.
Dried basil for hate.
Common thistle for misanthropy.
Misanthropy is distrust of humankind. 
Misanthropy is all she has.

Victoria Jones is an eighteen year old who has just gotten out of the United States foster care system. Gotten out meaning that she's run away. Run away with no other place to go. She lives in a park while she attempts to get her life together, and grows her flowers - the only things that keep her company these days. She knows about the flowers because of Elizabeth, the woman that was so similar to her - dealing with demons of her own past - the only person who has been able to handle the tempestuous Victoria. She taught Victoria about her flowers, about how to care for them, what seasons they grow in, but most importantly their meaning. When Victoria begins working with a florist, the meanings of the flowers take on a whole new light. Victoria learns that she can change others lives through the flowers she gives them - periwinkle for tender recollections, mums for truth, rosemary for commitment

Each one has meaning
Her attitude towards life begins to change when the florist, Renata, takes her under her wing, and changes further when she sees a face from the past - Grant - Elizabeth's nephew. Grant understands Victoria, or at least he seems to, and an odd sort of romance blossoms between them, though she doesn't want to trust him. She's had way too much hurt in her life to let him into her heart. The novel takes you through Victoria's daily life as she faces obstacles and heartache that everyone faces, though it's more acute because of her background. You begin to wonder if Victoria will overcome the obstacles of her past that she's let cling to her, or if she'll crumble under the weight of the things she remembers.Victoria needs a large dose of peony, healing.

There were times in the book that I really just wanted someone to knock some sense into this girl's head. I found Victoria to be not exactly likable  though she had a certain allure, but it was more her background and story that drew sympathy. Grant, on the other hand, was charming because of his willingness to deal with all of Victoria's heaviness. I can't say that the plot was entirely surprising, as I could see that something (not telling what) was going to happen to shift things dramatically at some point. It was a good read, though I originally bought it just because the cover was pretty. The Language of Flowers surprised me with its content, and the information concerning flowers was definitely intriguing. I'll have to consider it next time I buy a bouquet...


  1. Thanks for the review! I bought the book last month because a friend had mentioned it in the letter. Now I know better what to expect from the read. It sounds like an interesting, but not overly impressing read... I'll see for myself and soon, as I hope.

  2. It's definitely worth the read. The supporting womens roles are very strong, and elevate the main character(s) to a higher standing in my mind. It was a NY Times Bestseller, so obviously people liked it! I hope you enjoy!


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