The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
From the 2011 Ballantine Books Trade Paperback:
"Acacia for secret love, daffodil for new beginnings, wisteria for welcome and camellia for my destiny is in your hands. In Victorian times, the language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions. But for Victoria Jones, it's been more useful in communicating 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 and nowhere to go, Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger 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."
This started out as a Christmas gift from one of my best friends, which I began reading the evening of our annual Christmas visit on December 29th. I was immediately surprised at how I was swept up by the writing, the story. I'm not usually one for first person point of view or alternating time frames, but neither distracted me as often happens. What an incredible journey! I didn't want to stop reading and only did so to prolong the experience of reading it. I 'had to' see how it unfolded, how it would end. Gripping. Emotional. Vivid. And if you have any connection with flowers/gardening/growing? Fascinating. That's why my best friend thought I would enjoy it and while piqued my interest in the novel to begin with, the entire story was intriguing to me.
Favorite passage: "The sight of the flowers eclipsed my contemplation. I jumped out of the car and dropped to my knees at the side of the road... I held fistfuls of the small yellow flowers to my face as if discovering water after many days in the desert. Pollen clung to my cheeks, and petals rained down on my chest and stomach and thighs."
Favorite quote: "Do you really think you're the only human being alive who is unforgivably flawed? Who's been hurt almost to the point of breaking?"
Great book to begin a new year of reading with!
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