Title: The Language of Flowers
Author: Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Publication Year: 2011
Publisher: Random House
Edition: eBook and Audio Book
Source: Net Galley and Library Audio
Reader: Tara Sands (very good)
Date Completed: 11/7/2011
Rating: 4/5Recommend: yes
The Language of Flowers tells the story of Victoria Jones, who by the age of nine had lived in over thirty different foster homes. She's described as "detached and quick-tempered", but because of her experiences within the foster care system, she is just mistrustful of everyone she meets and thus prefers to be alone. At the age of eighteen she is "emancipated", (pushed out) of the foster care system to fend for herself. With no place to go, she sleeps in parks at night and even plants a small garden for herself there. By day she lives, lives on the streets and finishes the leftover food left by people in restaurants.
She manages to find a job in a local flower shop where her talent quickly really shines through. She is perfect selected just the right flower for the customers depending on various situations, and her ability has the capacity of changing lives for some. One vendor of the flower shop, gets Victoria to confront the painful experiences of her past. The Victorian language of flowers is used to convey meaning of various flowers, and through flowers Victoria is able to communicate her feelings and what others are feeling as well.
The Language of Flowers was a very good debut novel. Victoria was one of those characters that you couldn't help rooting for. I found myself hoping her adult life would make up for her lousy childhood. I liked the short chapters which alternated from the past to the present. It was easy to get wrapped up in her story, and it was easy to see why she was so afraid to trust and experience love for the fear of being abandoned or hurt once again. I did find parts of the story to be a bit contrived and after a while all on the constant references to flowers and their meanings became a bit much for me.
Readers who enjoy stories with the power to transform lives and stories of second chances will most likely enjoy this novel. I read both the eBook and the audio version, which was read by Tara Sands who did a great job.