Thursday, August 9, 2012

Review: The Language of Flowers

The Language of Flowers
by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Why did you choose this book? the book was getting a lot of buzz
When did you read this book? May 2012
Who should read this book? readers that like stories with well developed characters
Source: library ebook
Here is a synopsis of The Language of Flowers  from Goodreads, where it rates 4.04 stars.

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 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 with nowhere to go, Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger 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.

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My Review 

I had heard really good things about this book, and knew a very little bit about the meanings of flowers, so this was an easy book to pick up. But sadly, for me, this story got off to a slow start and it took a long time for it to click with me. Also, for much of the story, the main character, Victoria, is not very likeable at all.

Victoria is an orphan, abandoned at birth, who bounced in and out of foster homes throughout her young life. She has a case worker who really seems to want to help her. Victoria had one last chance at adoption into a permanent home, with a mother she seems to remember with fondness, but for some reason, it did not work out. Much of the book is spent telling this story in bits and pieces. The book alternated between current day events and flashbacks of Victoria’s earlier life.  

Victoria does not seem to be able to relate to other people at all in a normal way, and is not trusting when others attempt to be kind to her. She finds work with a flower shop owned for a Russian woman who attempts to befriend her. On one of their trips to the flower market, Victoria runs into a young man, Grant,  who she remembers as the nephew of the woman who almost adopted her. She has difficulty relating to both of these people.

One thing I really enjoyed about the book was how meaning was conveyed with flowers. Victoria learned the meanings from her almost-mother, so when Grant presents her with a flower, she immediately realizes he is using it to deliver a message. However, it turns out that the meaning Victoria learned are not exactly the ‘conventional’ meanings associated with the flowers. So she and Grant work together to come up with a meaning for each flower that they mutually agree upon. It took determination and intelligence to develop that system, showing us that Victoria is capable of complex thought and study if she wants to be.

Even though the story got off to a slow start, once I got into it, I found it to be a good story that ended with hope. I’m glad I stuck it out.

My Rating:  ★★★1/2  3-1/2 Stars

Here is a book trailer.


  1. This is one of my favorite books from 2011. I loved learning about what all of the flowers mean. Very cool!

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