The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

I started reading this book and within the first four pages I knew I would be driven to distraction trying to finish it as quickly as possible. This is the sort of book that eclipses anything else you may be doing or should be doing. Do not be fooled into thinking you will be able to put it down, you won’t. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh is the sort of book that will have a lasting impact on anyone who reads it. This is definitely on my top ten list for 2011.

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The Language of Flowers is Victoria Jones’ story. Orphaned as a small child she has spent the majority of her life being shuffled between institutions and foster homes. This upbringing has born in Victoria many fears, the main being a mistrust of anyone and anything. Unable to get close to anyone she communicates in the language of flowers. Honeysuckle for devotion, azaleas for passion and red roses for love. Using this strange and ancient language she conveys her feelings to those around her never knowing if she is understood or not.

Now eighteen years old Victoria has been kicked out of the system and is finally facing the world on her own. Alone, afraid and with nowhere to go, Victoria takes up residence in a public park. She plants a small garden of her own within the park and begins to attempt to make her way in the world. Looking for work she comes across a local florist and asks for any work the florist may have for her. So begins the next chapter in Victoria’s life.

She thrives on the thrill of matching customers with the perfect flower to match their needs and it is this new beginning that will bring her to meet the person that could change everything. A mysterious flower vendor working at the market place, a man who will make her face the demons of her past and finally get her to ask herself the questions she has run from for so long.

The story switches from stories of Victoria’s past to the present. Back and forth as the mystery of her life unravels and the two parts of the story become one. Take the journey with Victoria, and sit alongside her as she discovers insights about herself and her life she had never considered.

Richly woven, dark, menacing and oftentimes heartbreaking this is a novel of redemption, love, loss and the beautiful language of flowers. A truly beautiful literary novel, this is a book to get lost in. I did not want this book to end and I cannot recommend it enough.  Make sure you add this to your “to be read” pile.

- Courtney for TLC Books

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