LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS, Vanessa Diffenbaugh

The Language of Flowers
Vanessa Diffenbaugh

A mesmerizing, moving, and elegantly written debut novel, The Language of Flowers beautifully weaves past and present, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own troubled past.

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.

Richard comments
Fans of classic romances, those of Mediterranean seaside scenes or those of old English countryside, with the flowery language of soft words and flowing verbs, this book is a notch away.

The story is easy to follow, engaging and captivating. Cheer for underdogs, for the downtrodden, for the beaten in life, Victoria is your lodestone. Abandoned by her birth mother, given up for adoption but she is the runt of every adoption home litter, endlessly rejected by ever new prospective set of parents.

Legally removed from the foster care system because of her age, she takes to the streets of San Francisco with one little wrinkle, she has a hidden passion, the world of flowers. Her passionate engagement with flowers trips a fateful door where her life takes potentially positive turns.

Victoria, our protagonist, is unsurprising and almost predictable. However. discover the unexpected deviations, even shocking surprises.

There is love, joy, happiness, all essentials of a true romance novel. Diffenbaugh delivers.

Some Criticisms
The mystery behind the story threads its way like wisteria weaves the bases of many arrangements.

The introduction of the lead characters can be confusing if one lets up concentration.

Questionably some of Victoria’s successes are a stretch but after all, it is a novel.

This book is not among Richard’s favourite genre, a romance with tidbits of social suspense, a romance set among flowers. I hate cutting the grass. However, the writing style is attention-grabbing. The language of flowers is educational but in a very engaging way. One learns flowers were used as tools of communication in times past and still are today for the cognoscenti. They are symbolic, emotion-laden and the spirit that lifts humanity to new heights of beauty and wonder.

This book if a book club assignment, will be a pleasure to read. However, to pull it off the shelf for a personal read…only if you are a flower child.

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