Review: The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

FINALBlue foil & Clear Foil LOF.inddSummary (from

A mesmerizing, moving, and elegantly written debut novel, The Language of Flowers beautifully weaves past and present, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own troubled past.

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 grief, 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, Victoria has nowhere to go and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. Soon a local florist discovers her talents, and Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But a mysterious vendor at the flower market 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.


This was one of those books that I picked up and could not put down. It’s a compulsive read from the first page! The protagonist, Victoria, is incredibly flawed, which made me both dislike her and cheer for her simultaneously (I love it when that happens!). Her horrible experiences in the foster care system, her happy time with Elizabeth, and her return to the group homes are conveyed in a voice that is both matter-of-fact and passionate, which creates a complex, well constructed character. The aspect of the novel that I enjoyed more than anything were the flowers and their meanings – I’ve bought my own language of flowers dictionary! I enjoyed this novel immensely and if you like a good coming of age/mystery/love story with a difference, then give this one a try. I promise … you will not be disappointed.




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