Pub Writes

About the publishing Industry, editorials, and reviews

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Posted by Caitie F on March 30, 2013

Title: The Language of Flowers 10032672
Author: Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Hardcover: 322 pages
Pub Date: August 2011
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

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.


This book was our latest book club pick and I am really glad we read it. It is the kind of book i may not have read on my own and I would have missed out on an excellent read.

Victoria is one of my favorite characters in contemporary fiction. She is broken, yet has an inner strength that she doesn’t really seem to see. She is not traditionally educated, but is very bright. Yet again, she doesn’t really see it even though many around her can see it. There are times she is very frustrating, yet you can understand her decisions even if they seem horrible. It is a sign of a very well-developed character.

The book is told is a different style than usual – it alternates from the present to the past. It is a great way to find out what happened to her in the foster care system and specifically in Elizabeth’s house. It also makes it really hard to put the books down because there are two stories that really suck you in. While reading about the present day, the reader really wants to know more about her past, especially since there are hints sprinkled throughout the present, but you can never really connect the dots.

This was a perfect book club pick since there was just so much to discuss: family, the foster care system, mental health, forgiveness, love and so much more. I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much without the discussion. It is the kind of book that only improves when you talk to others about it.


4 Responses to “The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh”

  1. I read this with my book club too and I loved it! My heart broke for Victoria.

  2. Laurie C said

    This was a recent book club choice at my library, too. It does make for a good discussion, but I didn’t love it, personally. Glad you enjoyed it more!

  3. Shonna said

    I enjoyed this book too. Glad to see your review. Interesting that you did it as a book club choice

  4. […] The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh ( […]

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