Friday, October 21, 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.

My View: 3 looks (WARNING: Spoilers!!)
I really struggled with this review because I liked the book quite a lot; however, there were a few things that kept me from giving it four looks. First of all, I felt that the story of the fostering system was (unfortunately) on track. I grew up in a stable, loving home and cannot fathom the displacement, solitude and loneliness that must come from being a ward of the state. Couple that with people who should never be foster parents and you have a hard story to tell. the story of Victoria's childhood was handled with compassion and I understood why she escalated in bad behavior. that was excellent character development.

However, Elizabeth's breakdown was completely out of the blue and I didn't buy it at all. Her apparent love for Victoria and her desire to become a family, which falls apart the day of the adoption? Contrived, forced and theatrical. This alone cost a look from my review.

The relationship with Grant and Victoria was completely lovely, as well as her trepidation over Hazel. It was handled truthfully with raw emotion and was a very probable scenario.

I will read more by this author because I enjoyed the book. There was much, much more good than bad. Much more to relish than to forget. I wonder what kind of flower that would be...

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