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The Language of Flowers (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews


Vanessa Diffenbaugh's debut novel is canvass of humor, heartache and redemption. After spending her childhood being shuffled from one orphanage to another,18 year old Victoria Jones has finally aged out of the foster care system. A troubled youth with a deep-seeded cynicism about the world, Victoria has only her wits and her mastery of the Victorian-Age "language of flowers" to guide her into adulthood. She catches the eye of a local florist and soon comes into her own as a flower girl, helping people better their lives with her unique gift. Just as she begins to become comfortable with herself and her world, a mysterious stranger from Victoria's past comes back into her life and brings with him a dark secret which she must confront in order to unlock the true potential inside of her. As we follow Victoria on her journey, we flash back to her childhood and the foster mother who gave Victoria her special gift. Hard truths are faced and deep memories are resurrected as Victoria struggles to face the girl she once was in order to become the woman she so desperately wishes to be.

— Robert

September 2011 Indie Next List


“During the Victorian era, flowers conveyed expressions of love and were often used as a form of communication. Victoria Jones, an abandoned child who has been evicted from many group homes, learns this language, and upon her emancipation at age 18, eventually finds a job with a caring florist. A chance meeting at a flower market forces her to confront her past and learn to love and trust someone again. Diffenbaugh's extraordinary debut brings forth in elegant prose the emotions of anger and mistrust, love and loss, and the possibilities for a second chance at happiness.”
— Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

Summer 2012 Reading Group


“During the Victorian era, flowers conveyed expressions of love and were often used as a form of communication. Victoria Jones, an abandoned child who has been evicted from many group homes, learns this language, and upon her emancipation at age 18, eventually finds a job with a caring florist. A chance meeting at a flower market forces her to confront her past and learn to love and trust someone again. Diffenbaugh's extraordinary debut brings forth in elegant prose the emotions of anger and mistrust, love and loss, and the possibilities for a second chance at happiness.”
— Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

Description


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

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.

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About the Author


To write The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh found inspiration in her own experience as a foster mother. After studying creative writing and education at Stanford University, Vanessa taught art and writing to youth in low-income communities. She and her husband, PK, have three children and live in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This is her first novel. From the Hardcover edition.

Praise For…


“Instantly entrancing.”—Elle
 
“[An] original and brilliant first novel . . . a mesmerizing storyteller . . . I would like to hand Vanessa Diffenbaugh a bouquet of bouvardia (enthusiasm), gladiolus (you pierce my heart) and lisianthus (appreciation). . . . And there is one more sprig I should add to her bouquet: a single pink carnation (I will never forget you).”—Brigitte Weeks, The Washington Post
 
“A captivating novel in which a single sprig of rosemary speaks louder than words . . . The Language of Flowers deftly weaves the sweetness of newfound love with the heartache of past mistakes. . . . [It] will certainly change how you choose your next bouquet.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
 
“Fascinating . . . Diffenbaugh clearly knows both the human heart and her plants, and she keeps us rooting for the damaged Victoria.”—O: The Oprah Magazine (book of the week)
 
“Diffenbaugh effortlessly spins this enchanting tale, making even her prickly protagonist impossible not to love.”—Entertainment Weekly
 
“Compelling . . . immensely engaging . . . unabashedly romantic . . . an emotional arc of almost unbearable poignance.”—The Boston Globe

Product Details
ISBN: 9780345525550
ISBN-10: 0345525558
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: April 3rd, 2012
Pages: 368
Language: English