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The Language of Flowers: A Novel by Vanessa…
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The Language of Flowers: A Novel (edition 2012)

by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,8143202,069 (3.98)1 / 165
Member:5XGrand
Title:The Language of Flowers: A Novel
Authors:Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Info:Ballantine Books (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
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Work details

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

  1. 50
    The Language of Flowers: a Miscellany by Mandy Kirkby (guurtjesboekenkast)
  2. 20
    Orphan Train: A Novel by Christina Baker Kline (tangledthread)
    tangledthread: Similar story of a young woman aging out of the foster care system.
  3. 10
    The Particular Sadness Of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender (KatyBee)
    KatyBee: Excellent writing, main female character has a very unique 'gift'.
  4. 00
    How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr (treadsowell)
  5. 00
    Like Family: Growing Up in Other People's Houses: A Memoir by Paula McLain (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Like Family is a memoir that traces the difficulties of being a foster child in California. Like The Language of Flowers, it provides readers with a moving account of young girls who triumph over adversity to find happiness as adults.
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English (314)  Dutch (3)  German (3)  Italian (2)  Finnish (1)  All languages (323)
Showing 1-5 of 314 (next | show all)
I received this as a first reads winner. I really liked this book. Victoria has struggled in the foster care system. She didn’t feel loved so when her current situation would be going really well she would do something to screw it up and be thrown back into the system. When she is 10, she is placed with Elizabeth who loves her, starts to crack Victoria’s shell and teaches her the language of flowers. Victoria takes to it like a fish to water. Working with flowers is second nature for her. She gathers clients who think she is a wizard. As you learn about Victoria, your heart goes out to her as she struggles to find her way. She doesn’t like to be touched, doesn’t know what love feels like and just doesn’t know how to be a part of society. She just tries to survive. The book switches between current life and snippets of her life with Elizabeth with a final conclusion at the end of the two stories coming together. This was beautifully written. I know most foster care stories in the news are horror stories. You don’t read stories very often of the ones who try hard for the kids. We have friends who have been foster parents of special needs kids and they adopted four of the kids. It’s foster parents like them who make up for all the ones who are just in it for the extra money. I recommend this book. It’s a beautiful story and characters you will fall in love with. ( )
  MHanover10 | Jul 10, 2016 |
The first half of this book was captivating, but it took me two months to finish the second half. I wanted more flowers and less toils of motherhood - specifically cracked nipples & breastfeeding.

I might try to find a dictionary, though. Or, at the very least, buy a bouquet of periwinkle & daffodils. ( )
  stochi | Jul 3, 2016 |
Read as a book club selection. Love the flower meaning dictionary at the end of the book. I wasn't sure about the story but I ended up liking it very much. Mis-labeled, in my opinion, by my local library as Romance. Since I never read that genre , I would not have picked this book if it had not been for the book club.
Flowers, foster parenting, group homes ; lots to discuss. ( )
  librarian1204 | Jun 6, 2016 |
Enjoyable enough, but not sure it will stick with me. I liked it a little more after discussing it with my book club. 3.5 stars. ( )
1 vote klburnside | Jun 4, 2016 |
I blew through this book in 2 days. Sometimes that is a bad thing, I may not remember this plot for too much longer. It was an easy read, simple plot, and yet, sometimes I would rather prefer to be challenged: Which is why I don't often read books from this genre.
I went into this novel expecting this to be a short fun happy thrill, and a brain palette cleanse from my normal heavy duty reading. It was simply perfect for that.
Flower descriptions are beautiful, which makes this perfect to read in the Spring time, when everything is coming alive around you. I want to surround myself in flowers that have meaning and research the language of flowers!

I see in the comments everyone seems to have a problem with Victoria. They find her cold, distant, nasty, sulky. Yes, she is all those things. But she still deserves a chance at love, she deserves to learn how to love, she has never truly felt it before, so it is all new to her. I was very happy she received a happily ever after in an ugly world where people don't have the patience, and don't normally give broken people chances. ( )
  XoVictoryXo | May 31, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 314 (next | show all)
At first blush it sounds like something Dickens might have come up with, had Dickens been deeply interested in flower arranging.
 
In this absorbing and delicately wrought debut novel, Diffenbaugh heeds the creative-writing maxim: Write what you know. She has been a foster mother and has taught art and writing in low-income communities.This experience is discernible in The Language of Flowers. The idea that an angry young girl such as Victoria would actually be interested in flowers and their meanings seems implausible on one level, and yet Diffenbaugh uses to good effect the belief that evergreen hope lies nascent within most damaged kids.
 
In the end, she offers a cautionary tale about what happens to kids who've grown without families, one that strives to be honest but still hopeful. Children like Victoria may be able to survive on their own, but in order to do better than that - to thrive - they need support. But it's never too late to learn how to love.
added by Nickelini | editSF Gate, Malena Watrous (Aug 21, 2011)
 

» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Vanessa Diffenbaughprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rovira, GemmaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Moss is selected to be the emblem of maternal love, because, like that love, it glads the heart when the winter of adversity overtakes us, and when summer friends have deserted us. 
   — Henrietta Dumont, The Floral Offering
Dedication
For PK
First words
For eight years I dreamed of fire.
Quotations
You can't poison me or give me medicine I don't want. Or hit me — even if I deserve it.
Now, as an adult, my hopes for the future were simple: I wanted to be alone, and to be surrounded by flowers.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
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.
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When Victoria Jones starts working for a florist, she realizes her talent with flowers helps her change the lives of the people who buy her creations. But when she must confront her painful past, she has to decide how much she is willing to change.

(summary from another edition)

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