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Review: The Language of Flowers

April 26, 2012

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.

Review copy provided by Random House.  I am an Indiebound Affliate.
58 Comments leave one →
  1. April 26, 2012 4:11 am

    I have been wanting to read The Language of Flowers, so I’m glad to hear it’s good!

    Kathy, This is going to sound mushy. But it’s the middle of the night and I’m sleepy. I just want you to know that I love your blog. I subscribe to your posts via email and while I don’t always have time to comment, I always read your reviews.

    The time and effort you put into writing your reviews is evident and makes me aspire to be a better blogger. I hope we have a chance to see each other at BEA again this year.:) – Mandy

  2. April 26, 2012 5:14 am

    I read and reviewed it just recently and simply loved it as well, will be in my top five. I keep thinking about it.

  3. Page permalink
    April 26, 2012 6:17 am

    I read an ARC of this book and loved it. What a great book club selection.

  4. April 26, 2012 6:37 am

    Glad your group liked it. I thought the audio was pretty good as well.

  5. April 26, 2012 6:42 am

    I am so glad that your group liked this book. A friend brought me a copy to read while I’ve been home recovering. I think I need to start reading it.

  6. April 26, 2012 7:35 am

    I though from the title that this might not be one I would like…happily I read your review. My mind is changed!

  7. April 26, 2012 8:01 am

    Another one still sitting on the shelf, thanks for the review Kathy! I feel as thought i need to pick this up soon!

  8. April 26, 2012 8:19 am

    I could just repeat what Sheila says above. Must get to this one.

  9. April 26, 2012 8:44 am

    This one is on my list of must-reads. I also find that when I love a book so much it’s so hard to write the review! But you certainly managed to convey why you loved it.

  10. April 26, 2012 9:36 am

    This sounds really good, I’ve added it to my wishlist 🙂

  11. April 26, 2012 9:51 am

    I’ve seen Language of Flowers around the blogosphere for awhile now, but would always just glance over the review. This time I really paid attention and now I totally want to read it! I’m a fan of women’s fiction but have a hard time really falling in love with a book from the genre. Thanks for the recommendation.

  12. April 26, 2012 9:59 am

    I loved this one too! Glad to see you enjoyed it so much.

  13. April 26, 2012 10:03 am

    I felt the same way about this book!

  14. April 26, 2012 10:07 am

    This was one of my favorites of the year as well, and I just loved the mix of pathos and hope that infused every page. It was a heartbreaking tale to read but one that ends with a modicum of hope. Excellent review today! You said it better than I ever could!

  15. sandynawrot permalink
    April 26, 2012 10:44 am

    I’ve not heard ONE BAD THING about this book! Heather loaned it to me, but it got pushed to the back of the line because of other “have to read” commitments. I must get through those books and make this a priority.

  16. April 26, 2012 11:11 am

    Sounds like a gorgeous read. It doesn’t seem like something I would normally like but I may just have to give it a try.

  17. April 26, 2012 11:12 am

    This sounds like an amazing story. It seems as though I could relate to this story.. Victoria sounds like many of the children I work with, who are “in the system” and get shuffled around from home to home, residential care to residential care- with “big things” in their lives as well. I must get my hands on this!

  18. April 26, 2012 11:28 am

    Wow! This book sounds like a must read – will definitely be kindling! Great post!

  19. April 26, 2012 12:08 pm

    I’ve had my eye on this one for a good long while now. Sounding better than ever!

  20. April 26, 2012 12:18 pm

    I have already heard and read so much good about this book, and now your review confirms this. I will have to put this on my (already long) wishlist.
    Thanks for your review.

  21. Beth F permalink
    April 26, 2012 12:50 pm

    Argh. So why haven’t I read this one yet?? Must, must, must make time.

  22. April 26, 2012 1:03 pm

    This poor book has been shuffled on and off my to be read stack for awhile. I will get to it!

  23. April 26, 2012 1:11 pm

    I really felt for Victoria, too. There were times when I got totally frustrated with her, but at the same time, I could see why she behaved the way she did. I thought it was beautifully written.

  24. April 26, 2012 1:47 pm

    I can’t wait to read this one! I have it at the top of my list. Great review!

  25. April 26, 2012 2:17 pm

    Wonderful review, Kathy! I was approached about reading this book, because of having too many book commitments, I turned it down. 😦

  26. April 26, 2012 2:19 pm

    Wow this sounds like a fabulous book and I love it when they inspire such amazing book club discussions! What a great recommendation.

  27. April 26, 2012 2:47 pm

    I read this book and loved it. So many good things inside.


    Silver’s Reviews

  28. bookingmama permalink
    April 26, 2012 2:49 pm

    Great review. You definitely did it justice! 🙂 I loved it too and you expressed it beautifully!

  29. April 26, 2012 3:07 pm

    Yes, this was an awesome book and a favorite. I’m anxious to see how well the movie is.

  30. medievalbookworm permalink
    April 26, 2012 3:09 pm

    I don’t love women’s fiction but this has totally caught my eye anyway. I keep seeing it on the shelves with a beautiful cover, so your review has made me think that next time I will pick it up. 🙂

  31. April 26, 2012 3:15 pm

    This book has been on my wish list for some time. Thanks for another glowing review.

  32. cherylmash permalink
    April 26, 2012 3:40 pm

    Because of your enthusiasim and love for this book, it is now on my wishlist. Thank you for letting me know of this book as it is a “new to me” novel.

  33. talesofwhimsy permalink
    April 26, 2012 3:47 pm

    So glad you liked it. Lovely review.

    You know who I was so happy things turned out well for? Elizabeth. Poor Elizabeth. In my mind I hope she finds love of her own again some day. Lord knows she deserves it.

  34. April 26, 2012 4:03 pm

    I tried, but for some reason I gave up at once. But I will try again some other time

  35. Patty permalink
    April 26, 2012 4:09 pm

    You have made it sound like a must read!

  36. April 26, 2012 4:40 pm

    I am so glad you loved this one! I just received it this week and I can’t wait to get into it! Beautiful review today!

  37. April 26, 2012 6:45 pm

    Wow … that is some strong praise!

  38. April 26, 2012 6:52 pm

    I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book. I’m going to have to make time to read this one.

  39. April 26, 2012 8:03 pm

    I’ve had this one on my Overdrive wish list – to listen to on audio – for a while. Sounds like it should be at the top!

  40. April 26, 2012 10:14 pm

    Family stories always interest me. This should be my cup of tea. Thanks for the post.

  41. April 26, 2012 10:56 pm

    i recently read a review about this book that was not a great one and was so disappointed…i’ve been wanting to read this book ever since i first heard of it ~ as i tend to like a lot of what you read and always place a lot of stock in your reviews, i’m happy to know you loved this one! thanks for sharing your thoughts and recommendation!

  42. April 27, 2012 2:03 am

    I’ve seen so many good reviews for this book (and was even offered a review copy but passed). I just had a feeling that it might not be a good fit for me. But then I see reviews like yours and feel like an idiot for passing on it. Yours might just be the review that pushes me to track down a copy.

  43. Angie S. permalink
    April 27, 2012 7:04 am

    I read this book last year and LOVED it! Now that it’s finally out in paperback I can recommend it as a book club read. I’m thrilled you loved it too!

  44. April 27, 2012 7:32 am

    I haven’t read a negative thing about this novel. Glad you can recommend it! It’s on my list.

  45. April 27, 2012 12:01 pm

    You read such interesting books. I’m adding it to my list!

  46. escapingjourney permalink
    April 27, 2012 3:42 pm

    Such high praise! Def. one that I will be putting on my wish list.

  47. April 27, 2012 4:57 pm

    I didn’t read your full review…yet but I did see that you loved this book. I will return to read your review in full after I read the copy I just received for review. I am so looking forward to this book!

  48. April 27, 2012 11:35 pm

    Wow – this sounds like a must read! I will be looking for it for sure – maybe my next audio candidate.

  49. April 27, 2012 11:37 pm

    I’ve read other positive reviews but yours is the first one that actually made me think I’d like it. The foster care aspect intrigues me.

  50. butter17 permalink
    April 28, 2012 7:18 am

    I loved this book too and could not put it down. I cried buckets of tears as well and was left with such a feeling of hope when I finished it.

  51. Staci@LifeintheThumb permalink
    April 28, 2012 5:24 pm

    Beautiful review…this book was an excellent read for me too!!!

  52. April 29, 2012 1:18 pm

    I’m so glad you liked this one Kathy! I haven’t read it yet, but your review is making me want to suggest it to my group. We are going to be picking books this Wednesday.

  53. April 29, 2012 1:46 pm

    I’m so glad to see you loved this book because I’ve been wanting to pick it up but haven’t read any reviews of it so I’ve been waiting. I will for sure get it next time instead of second guessing myself. 🙂

  54. April 29, 2012 9:20 pm

    This was amazing on audio too! Everything about it was just wonderful. I can never look at flowers in the same way again. I would love to bring back that special language.

  55. May 1, 2012 9:57 pm

    I’m glad you loved this! I was surprised at what the secret was too.. I’m glad the author hid it so well!

  56. May 2, 2012 9:51 am

    I too enjoyed The Language of Flowers. Wonderful blog!

  57. May 4, 2012 1:46 pm

    This book sounds fab. I’m definitely going to get myself a copy.

  58. boardinginmyforties permalink
    May 23, 2012 7:19 pm

    This book must be added to my list. I like when I can really root for characters!

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