Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publishing Date: April 3, 2012
Format: paperback, purchased
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
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.
My friends and I picked this book for our book club read for May. It had been on my TBR list for a while, but I never got around to buying or reading it. So this was the perfect reason to do so. Plus, it was on my other friend's list to read as well, so we both wanted this one.
I have to say that this was unlike any other book I've read. I've never loved reading about flowers and their meanings so much. It was really interesting to read about Victoria's life. I loved how the book flipped back and forth between the past and the present. I felt like we really got to know Victoria so much more than if it had been in chronological order.
Victoria was an interesting character. She was pretty harsh in some ways, a sometimes unfortunate consequence of growing up in the foster system. She was sent from one house to the next to the next, never having a true place to call home. And then she meets Elizabeth, who loves her without reservation, despite all Victoria does to try ruin it. Elizabeth is the first person to teach Victoria about the language of flowers, how each flower has a different meaning and the messages you can convey with flowers. We watch as Victoria sabotages her relationship with Elizabeth, grows into a young, lost woman, and eventually starts to learn who she really is through her flowers, Grant, Elizabeth, and Hazel.
I've never wanted to learn about flowers as much as I did while reading this story. Right when I got done, I wanted to run out a buy a book on different flowers. I've always liked them, but never really learned the different names, other than the few popular ones. But after reading this, the flower beds at my house will certainly have some new plants and flowers in them! This book was really well written and I enjoyed Victoria's character. She was real and original, and I can't wait to see what else Diffenbaugh has in store for us.