The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Loved it! Love, love, loved it!
This book was new and refreshing much like The Help was when it came out. This book also tackled a subject that is a bit on the taboo side. Totally different topics, but it delved into a topic that is not readily or easily discussed...but should be.
Victoria Jones is about to be emancipated from the state on her 18th birthday. She was given up by her mother at birth. Never knew her mother or her father. She struggled in homes and was moved from foster home to foster home. Of course she acted out, she never felt accepted and she certainly wasn't loved by anyone. That is until she was sent to live with Elizabeth.
The story goes back and forth between the past and present.
Elizabeth had demons from her past but was a good fit for Victoria. Yes Victoria fought Elizabeth, but eventually, she came to love Elizabeth and was happy for the first time in her life. And when Elizabeth wanted to adopt her she finally felt like she belonged somewhere. Elizabeth taught Victoria about flowers and what the mean...the language of flowers. It was a great way for Victoria to be able to communicate without having to say something. But Elizabeth's past came to haunt her the day of adoption and they didn't make it to court. Victoria was heartbroken and reacted the only way she knew how. She hurt Elizabeth by breaking her heart back and destroying part of Elizabeth's lively hood. Victoria was taken from Elizabeth and was sent to a group home for girls until her 18th birthday.
Cut back to the present and Victoria is sleeping in the woods until she comes across a florist shop and manages to get a job there. Her knowledge and understanding of flowers is immediately put to good use. While at the flower market, she comes across a young man, Grant, that she doesn't immediately recognize but soon realizes he's from her past. He too is fluent in the language of flowers and they form a strange but close relationship. As close as Victoria can bear.
When something happens that is too much for Victoria to handle, she once again breaks the heart of the one she loves and runs. She feels she's not fit to make Grant happy, she's not the woman he deserves. She runs and struggles to come to grips with her past and her present.
I have to say why I think this book delves into a tough topic, but it is a spoiler. Don't read past this if you want to avoid the spoilers:
(view spoiler)[The subject of abandoned children who never find a loving home and are forced from foster home to foster home is tragic. A child who never knows the love of a parent. A child who acts out and is considered a loss because the he/she is so full of anger and so empty on love. It's heart breaking. When Victoria has her baby you hope against all hope that she can do it. That she can be the mother she never had. But after a couple of weeks, she can't, she gives up. The love she had for her child but the fear that she isn't a good fit because of what she was growing up is heart breaking. To walk away from your baby like she did is something people don't talk about, but it happens. Some babies are lucky enough to be adopted by loving, devoted parents, some are dealt with like yesterday's leftovers. But the ending of this book is beautiful and I loved it. Very happy, realistic ending. (hide spoiler)]
Another reason I totally loved this book is learning about the language of flowers itself. I've never heard of such a thing. Now I can't look at flowers and not wonder what the meaning is. Absolutely fascinating!
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