The Language of Flowers

This book would make great holiday reading, especially for a lady who enjoys an unexpected romance. It’s an unusual story, a well-developed character, some drama and sadness . . . and a happy ending. If you happen to be a flower gardener, so much the better, you will learn the meaning of the names given to the flowers that bloom in your garden.

The Language of Flowers

by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Ballentine Books

This book would make great holiday reading, especially for a lady who enjoys an unexpected romance. It’s an unusual story, a well-developed character, some drama and sadness . . . and a happy ending. If you happen to be a flower gardener, so much the better, you will learn the meaning of the names given to the flowers that bloom in your garden.

Victoria Jones is a foster child, who never knew her mother and who never found a warm foster home. No wonder, Victoria is unruly, unloving and destructive. A lonely and hurting child who hits out at others, before they can give her the blow she suspects is coming.

The only constant in her life is Meredith, her social worker. When Victoria sees Meredith arrive, she knows that her present placement is over, and she begins to pack her bag for a new location.

All of that changes when Elizabeth takes her in. Elizabeth has a vineyard and a garden and she keeps Victoria home from school, a hateful place where success is impossible.

Her placement with Elizabeth comes when Victoria is 10 years old and her anger at the world and everyone in it is deeply entrenched. She moves in and sets about with vigour to prove that, no matter how hard Elizabeth tries, she will never come to love Victoria.

Elizabeth is a bit different from the rest, and she knows about destructive kids, having been one herself.

She is gentle and persistent with Victoria, but it is the plant language that Elizabeth teaches her that begins to make a difference. Of course Elizabeth had her own ghosts to settle and that leads back to the cycle of loss for Victoria.

Circumstances conspire to separate this reasonably successful pair, and Victoria is obliged to return to foster-care. Because she was 10 years old when she came to Elizabeth, it was a “last chance” accommodation.

Now its back to a group type home until she’s 18, when the “system” is finished with her.

Life in the “Gathering Place” with many troubled girls just like Victoria, is about as awful as you can imagine. She finally turns eighteen and Meredith sends her on her way.

She has nothing and no one and no where to go, but in her head is the language that she was taught by Elizabeth and that is the key to her future. This new phase of Victoria’s life leads her to generous and non judgmental people, who see the desperation and nurture the little flame of hope she tries to hide.

This is a first novel for Vanessa Diffenbaugh, and it’s a promising beginning. The “language” of the flowers is charming and old fashioned. When The Victorians received a bouquet, they knew just what subtle message was intended, because they knew the language of the flowers.

In the back of this book is a Dictionary..Acacia…secret love; Bachelor’s button…single blessedness; Canterbury Bells…constancy… A sweet book of survival and love and healing.

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