The Language of Flowers

The Language of Flowers

A Novel

Book - 2011
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A mesmerizing, moving, and elegantly written debut novel, The Language of Flowers beautifully weaves past and present, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own troubled past.

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 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 and emancipated from the system, Victoria has nowhere to go and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. Soon a local florist discovers her talents, and Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But a mysterious vendor at the flower market 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.

Praise for The Language of Flowers

"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
ISBN: 9780345525543
9780345525550
Characteristics: 322 pages ;,25 cm.

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l
LenoraDeslandes
Oct 18, 2018

Beautifully written with characters that were clearly informed by life experience.

w
WoodneathShirlee
Aug 03, 2018

Victoria Jones struggles to overcome her troubled past as she works as a florist. She finds the meaning of flowers adds to the connection she can make with people and their arrangements. This unique gift helps her related to people and her own past.

p
pansey
Jun 11, 2018

loved this book,hard to put down.

kkoenigc Aug 19, 2017

My emotions were all over the place reading this book. A bit of hope. A bit of light. A lot of wondering. Love the way flowers were a way of communicating throughout. Glad I finally was able to read the book. I have wanted to do so for a long time.

c
Chapel_Hill_KatieJ
Jul 12, 2017

After spending her entire life in foster care, Victoria is left at age 18 in San Francisco with nothing. It’s difficult to read about the self-destructive mistakes Victoria continues to make, but her childhood makes it understandable. Victoria does have a gift for flower arrangements and divining the perfect flower for each customer. I won't give it away, but the ending made me livid. It seemed like the author wanted me to feel one way about the ending, but I am not buying it.

LoganLib_JennyI Mar 29, 2017

I loved the highlighting of the importance of mother-daughter or mentor as mother relationships in this book. The dictionary of flowers and their meanings was also very enlightening.

q
Quietday
Mar 03, 2017

I enjoyed this book. The story kept me guessing and though Victoria's self sabotaging was difficult, it was also understandable and relatable. It is a good reminder that even one positive influence in a child's life, no matter how brief, can bring about resilience and change, giving them something to cling to. The ending was ultimately more loving and forgiving than I think most people would be but was a nice resolution.

s
schodakewitz_0
May 25, 2015

Beautiful.

PimaLib_StephanieM May 18, 2015

Wowza. I have never read a more accurate or visceral account of the hormone horror show that is the postpartum period. And this is just one part of a very well crafted story. Even the experiences of the main character that I haven't (thankfully) had felt very real and familiar.

e
EricaReynolds
Mar 25, 2015

Well-written, compelling characters. Beautiful descriptions of plants and their qualities. A book full of frustrations, guilt and a foster system that seems to fail everyone, but also full of hope and the healing power of nature and self-acceptance. I really enjoyed this book. A very satisfying book that I was sorry to see end. I will miss these characters.

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