Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Poplar, black...courage. Poplar, white...time. Mistletoe...I surmount all obstacles. Hazel...reconciliation. These are the flowers that define Vanessa Diffenbaugh's The Language of Flowers.

Throughout her life Victoria has been in and out of foster and group homes. At the age of nine she finally finds herself in a home she can handle. It is the home of Elizabeth, a single woman who owns a successful vineyard. Because Elizabeth grew up in a troubled home, she understands Victoria in a way no one else ever has. Victoria, reluctant at first, finds herself softening up to Elizabeth, life on the vineyard, and the beautiful language of flowers Elizabeth has taught her. Each flower, each plant, has a single meaning.

Elizabeth's past haunts her and her decision to reconcile with her sister has Victoria in a tift. In an attempt to keep Elizabeth to herself, Victoria commits an act that causes her to lose everything.

Back in the state's custody, Victoria is deemed unadoptable and stays in group homes until her emancipation at age eighteen. After a brief stay in a halfway home and the failure of finding (or rather looking) for a job, she is evicted. Homeless and surprisingly content, she is able to impress a local florist enough to get weekend work. On her first day of work the shopkeepr, Renata, takes her to the Floral Market to purchase the flowers needed for the day. At a booth Victoria meets an unshakeable character who, over time, she realizes knows the same language she knows.

Now Victoria finds herself communicating with this strange person by flowers and plants. Soon she finds their pasts intertwine in an unexpected way. And now all the things of her past with Elizabeth will return, along with a new big "bump", and all the Hazel (reconciliation) in the world is needed.

The Language of Flowers can be found in all major bookstores and online as an ebook. It comes with Victoria's Floral Dictionary.

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