AUTHOR: Vanessa Diffenbaugh
GENRE: Women’s Fiction
Available @ AMAZON
REVIEWER: Pistol Annie
RATING: 5 Full Bouquets
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
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.
It wasn’t as if the flowers themselves held within them the ability to bring an abstract definition into physical reality. Instead, it seemed that…expecting change, and the very belief in the possibility instigated a transformation.
― Vanessa Diffenbaugh, The Language of Flowers
The Language of Flowers is an absolutely breathtaking debut novel that I first read in October 2012, after it was recommended by my daughter. It is one of my all-time favorites, and I have read it almost every year since that very first awe-inspiring experience. With its ingenious plot, the story is cleverly written, one with love, kindness and humor, as well as the tragic side. The timeline skillfully shifts back and forth within the span of Victoria Jones’s young life creating a better understanding of her attitude and behavior towards the people she meets. In its originality, in its sensitivity, and in its eloquent writing, its distinction is clear.
Fair warning: Grab the tissues! Victoria Jones is going to break your heart with each petal that falls like teardrops as we delve into the devastating details of her life. Abandoned at birth, she’s spent her entire childhood thrashing her way through numerous foster and group homes, and the experiences have shredded her life. Just know that she’ll also bring out the nurturing side of you even stronger. Victoria is an unforgettable character – sometimes a difficult individual, but a courageous and intriguing young woman, no less – who most likely will change the way you look and react towards flowers forever.
The character development is outstanding. The main characters have real life qualities with voices clamoring to be heard. They’re human in that they all make mistakes, are full of vitality, and have a contrast about them that is truly refreshing. And each have played a part in Victoria’s road to forgiveness and love.
On the day of her eighteenth birthday — it’s emancipation day for Victoria. She’s out of the foster care system and into the world — all on her own with no place to go, no money, no job and nobody she can look to for help. Living by any means of shrewdness and resourcefulness – literally by her wits – she sleeps in a public park tending someone else’s flower garden. When Renata, a local florist takes notice of Victoria’s special talent with flowers, she provides Victoria with a means for survival.
It is Elizabeth who wins the honors for sharing and instilling the love of flowers and their special meanings with Victoria. It is also her burden to carry for being the one who so deeply wounded Victoria, as well. In so many ways, that particular relationship set Victoria’s downward spiral for years.
Grant, a young farmer, gets the Patience of Job award. No matter the treatment he received from Victoria, he suffered and endured those trials with the utmost faith and patience. Helping her in any way he could. And finally, a very personal event that would bind them together for the rest of their lives. The relationship between these two is sometimes mindboggling – but worth the wait.
With that much shared, I won’t add anything more. The rest of Victoria’s story should be discovered on your own. It’s a story you won’t soon forget. One filled with a message of hope for every broken, torn, or poorly mended heart about the risks we must face to heal, to move forward in our individual lives, and to truly connect with others. It is a testament to human compassion in all its forms and the miracle of the healing power of love.
There are so few books that I’ve read where I was left with such an indelible impression — but Victoria’s story is certainly one. Her journey left me with unadulterated wonder for everything I read and felt. She stole my heart from the beginning and I only grew to admire and love her more with each page. Definitely there were times when I wanted to shake her and yell at her to wake up and get a grip. Just when I thought she wouldn’t, she simply bloomed. Hers is an amazing story of survival, love and strength. The artful depiction surrounding the beauty of the flowers and their infusion with symbolism not only held special meaning in Victoria’s life, but touched mine, too. Their effect and value in Victoria’s life added so much depth and feelings to this story that I was enthralled by it all. A wonderfully well written book by this new author filled with heart touching moments to remember and treasure always.
This book delivers a fragrant and colorful bouquet designed to brighten anyone’s day. And it comes to you with my highest recommendation.