Friday, September 30, 2011
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
The Victorian language of flowers was used to express emotions: honeysuckle for devotion, azaleas for passion, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it has been more useful in communicating feelings like 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, Victoria has nowhere to go, and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. When her talent is discovered by a local florist, she discovers her gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But it takes meeting a mysterious vendor at the flower market for her to realise what's been missing in her own life, and as she starts to fall for him, she's forced to confront a painful secret from her past, and decide whether it's worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness. "The Language of Flowers" is a heartbreaking and redemptive novel about the meaning of flowers, the meaning of family, and the meaning of love.
Victoria Jones’s life is not easy. The story begins with her emancipation and shifts back several times to moments of when she was nine and living with Elizabeth. It is this particular time in her life that will shed some light on why she is the way she is: emotionally distant and maker of one crappy decision after another… and yet, I wanted to see her through. Why? Because despite all her imperfections, I sympathized with her; everything she’d gone through and was going through was a struggle.
One aspect of this story is the deeper meaning of things- flowers, specifically. What she had learned there was a key part of how she saw herself and how she interacted with others. It is this aspect that was new to me but was surprisingly addictive. I loved the novelty of getting your meaning across by other means.
The writing is simple but addictive… it isn’t high octane/action packed as what I’d normally read instead leaning more to the emotional. Should I add that the change in her fortunes read impossibly convenient? I should, but honestly nothing felt forced to me. In fact the ‘fairy godmother’ figures (‘figures’ as there were several,) in here felt plausible to me. If there’s anything I’d complain about it was that Grant’s role was not done justice. I wanted a little bit more. That they shared a common history, and that they shared a passion for flowers, were things I knew; I knew little beyond those. Yet I must not complain, because like Victoria, Grant too was as shaped by their history.
The Language of Flowers is full of emotion~ soft ones, sad ones, depressing ones, at times joyful ones... but in the end it’s mainly about redemption.
Thanks Net Galley!