Renee Conoulty: The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh


Wednesday, 21 January 2015

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

"I used the same flowers again and again: a bouquet of marigold, grief; a bucket of thistle, misanthropy; a pinch of dried basil; hatred. Only occasionally did my communication vary."

The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey what words could not, from declarations of admiration to confessions of betrayal.

For Victoria Jones, alone after a childhood in foster care, it is her way of expressing a legacy of grief and guilt. Believing she is damaged beyond hope, she trusts nobody, connecting with the world only through message-laden bouquets.

But when a mysterious man at the flower market responds in kind, Victoria is caught between fascination and fear, and must decide whether she can open herself to the possibilities of happiness... and forgiveness.

Heartbreaking and uplifting, The Language of Flowers is a redemptive story about the meaning of flowers, the meaning of family, and the meaning of love.

Hey! Here's my review.

It took me about 50 pages or so to start to empathise with Victoria. To begin with I felt "Oh no, another I'm so broken because I grew up in the foster care system". I'd love to read some positive foster care stories. 

Victoria really is broken, she pushes everyone away and believes she is unlovable. I am glad the author didn't miraculously fix her overnight with one kiss from her true love, this story is more realistic. It is told in alternating points of view, from Victoria at age 10 and age 18.

I enjoyed the flower references and I was inspired to look up the meanings of some of my favourite flowers. Most of the characters are quite flawed and struggle to communicate effectively - so I liked that they are able to say it with flowers. I was able to empathise with the characters, but I don't think I would be friends with any of them.
  • Where: Local library
  • Format: paperback
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