The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
The Language of Flowers: A Novel
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 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 with 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.
The Language of Flowers was a very interesting read. Victoria is unlike any character I have read before. Sure she has similar background and issues, but the way she comes across and is is just...there is something sweet and beautiful and touching about it. She has issues, but she doesn't normally seem broken or hardened like a lot of people in her situation.
The story opens when Victoria ages out of the system. She is so unique and was so much fun to read, at least for a while. She just wants to be alone with her flowers. When she moves out of the group home she doesn't really do anything except start a garden. Gradually she transfers that garden to a park and when she gets kicked out for not paying rent she just lives amongst her flowers. Whenever things get really rough she can always go to her garden in the park. It was such an interesting read, her bond with the flowers and how she knows the meanings of them. She uses flowers to communicate with other people, even though most other people don't know what she is saying. It is a way for her to communicate, but also keep herself separated from everyone else. It was so different and the way it was described was kind of beautiful. It made me want to learn all the meanings of flowers and communicate more with them. It is so simple and beautiful and even if people didn't know what I was saying, they would still get flowers. I loved it.
Gradually throughout the story you get Victoria's backstory for her time with Elizabeth. You know something had to have happened with Elizabeth, but you are just waiting for what. At the same time you get the story of her current life, how she slowly start to make friends even if she doesn't recognize that. She does have people who care about her even if she tries to keep herself cut off from everyone. I loved how she gets her job and works with flowers and Grant and their back and forth with the flowers and everything. It was just really amazing.
Then about 60% of the way through I started to get annoyed with Victoria. She started making excuses and returning to her old self destructive way. That and not telling Grant important information. That made me really angry, and the fact that no one else did either. It is one of the few things that just angers me to no end, and one of those things that I have a hard time forgiving. So the last part of the book I found myself learning to not like Victoria very much. I found I just wanted her to stop with her stupid lies to herself. Stop with her pushing everyone away. Stop with her not thinking she deserves anything or anyone. Stop making decisions for other people. I just...not sure why but she really started to bug me. Where in the beginning I loved her and how unique and interesting she was, how she just carried on even though she had a lot of issues, by the second half I was just like come on! Do something! The end almost saved it, but I needed a little more (especially from Grant). I wanted it to be a little bit harder, wanted to see her work for something for once in her life. Wanted to see her just change a little bit. She does talk about how they will change and grow and live happily ever after eventually, but I wanted to see just a little bit more of that before we said goodbye. Still overall I did enjoy the story and it made me really interested to read more about plants and their meanings.
Rating: ★ ★ ★1/2