Review: The Language of Flowers
Victoria has been in the foster care system since birth. She uses her attitude as a barrier to keep anyone from getting close to her. At the age of 18, she’s emancipated with no job, no home, and no one to turn to. She starts out living in a park and after a few weeks, approaches Renata, a florist for a job. The florist discovers Victoria has a talent for flowers and takes her under her wing. When Victoria goes to the local flower market with Renata, she sees someone who makes her come to terms with a painful part of her past.
I cannot describe how much I loved The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh – it’s sure to be on my list of favorites for the year. This book is fraught with tension and emotion and it kept me turning the pages as fast as I could. A lot of the book is dark and foreboding, but it’s so well written I felt a range of emotions as I read it and shed a bucket of tears.
Oh, how I felt for Victoria! Since she was shuffled from home to home, she didn’t want to get close to anyone and put up a facade to keep those near her at arm’s length. She didn’t want to establish a relationship that wasn’t going to last. It wasn’t hard to understand why or to see that she really did have a softer side. Her love of plants and the language of flowers gave her more comfort than anything else and gave her a way to communicate with others. Victoria’s story is told in the first person and alternates between the present and ten years in the past and I loved both parts of the story equally. Renata and the other characters are fabulous as well – Renata was a little bit quirky but she believed in Victoria and I loved her for it.
The plot in this book is wonderful too. Readers discover early that Victoria is avoiding facing something big that happened in her life years ago, but it takes a while to figure out just what it was. I knew whatever it was had made a huge impact on Victoria’s life and not knowing was killing me. I needed to know and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough so I could find out. I really appreciated the way Diffenbaugh slowly revealed the truth. I gasped when I read what it was, but was completely satisfied in the end.
The Language of Flowers is really a story of love and forgiveness and it makes readers think about what constitutes a family. I loved this book and wish I had a hundred copies to give away. I’m having trouble articulating my feelings and I know I’m not doing this fantastic book justice but I highly recommend it and urge everyone who loves women’s fiction to read it.
My book club discussed this book and everyone loved it. Sometimes when that happens there’s not much to talk about, but we found plenty to discuss. I’d printed out these discussion questions, but we really didn’t need them.