Title: The Language of Flowers
Author: Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Reading level: Adult
Size: Hard Cover, 336 pages
Release Date: August 2011
Publisher: Ballentine Books
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
First Line: "For eight years I dreamed of fire. Trees ignited as I passed them; oceans burned.”
Summary (from GoodReads):
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.
Favorite Quotes from the Book:
“It was as if the childhood I had lived belonged to someone else, a girl who no longer existed, a girl who had been replaced by the one in the mirror.”
“If I had known how, I would have joined Grant in prayer. I would have prayed for him, for his goodness, his loyalty, and his improbable love. I would have prayed for him to give up, to let go, to start over. I might have even prayed for forgiveness. But I didn’t know how to pray.”
“This time, there was no escape. I could not turn away, could not leave without accepting what I had done. there was only one way to the other side, and that was through the pain.”
This was a beautifully heartbreaking yet uplifting novel whose elegant prose will grab you from page one. After being abandoned as a baby, Victoria Jones is bounced from foster home to foster home to group home until she is finally emancipated as an adult and must find her place in the world.
Her traumatic “childhood” experiences have left her emotionally withdrawn and unable to attach...even after she is placed with Elizabeth who genuinely cares for her and wants to adopt her. After a tumultuous year with Elizabeth, she ends up in a group home but Elizabeth, through her love of flowers, has given Victoria the only tool that she has for the genuine expression of her feelings---the old Victorian Language of Flowers.
As an adult Victoria must now not only figure out a way to survive in the world, but how to break down her walls of anger, fear, and self hatred so that she can finally let love in.
While this book is a frightening commentary on the foster system in this country, it is also an inspiring tale of those who can love truly and completely and the capacity that we all have within us for change, growth, forgiveness and love.
This book is a must read.
Was it worth my Time?