Monday, 24 February 2014

Sister Sundays | Review: The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Book: The Language of Flowers

Author: Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Pages: 322

Time It Took Me To Read: 3 hours 

Plot Summary: 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.

Thoughts and Review: The Language of Flowers at its very core is a book about giving yourself a second chance at building your life into something beautiful and happy. 18 year old Victoria has not had a happy life. She has been in the foster system since her birth and has hopped from one foster family to another till she got emancipated at 18. Victoria has no money and nowhere to go. She is passionate about one and only one thing- flowers and their secret language, which was taught to her by the only foster parent she ever loved and felt close to- Elizabeth. Victoria starts working with a florist and slowly starts helping people by giving them the most meaningful bouquets. 
The story is really about Victoria building her life from scratch and slowly taking steps to lower her defences and find love and happiness. 
I really loved how beautifully written this book is and how Victoria's character is so real and nuanced. Victoria is someone who has a massive distrust of people and she is afraid of happiness and so, her reactions to things, events and people is driven by this innate distrust. As we follow her journey in the book, we see how tentative Victoria is when it comes to opening up her heart to happiness and family but also how she is determined to make something of herself slowly but surely. 
A very heart-warming book with some amazing supporting cast of characters as well. There is Elizabeth, whose story we learn about in Victoria's flashback to a year and a half that she spent at Victoria's vineyard. Elizabeth was also struggling with distant, cold relationships and a lifetime of loneliness and her interactions with an angry and, sometimes, violent Victoria are very heart-warming. Then there is Grant- equally damaged in some sense and just like Victoria is taking one step at a time to find happiness and love. Renata- Victoria's boss- and her lovely family show Victoria how there is niceness to be found even with strangers. 
Overall, a fabulous book with lovely characters. 

Would You Like It?: Yes! If you like well-written books about interesting characters and which warm the depths of your heart, you will love this book. Also, if like me, you like learning new things from books- like the language of flowers- you will love this book as well.

Rating: 5/5

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