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Book Reviews of The Language of Flowers

The Language of Flowers
The Language of Flowers
Author: Vanessa Diffenbaugh
ISBN-13: 9780345525543
ISBN-10: 034552554X
Publication Date: 8/23/2011
Pages: 336
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.

4.1 stars, based on 98 ratings
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

35 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

Ashley1010 avatar reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 67 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
Victoria has had such a tough childhood that she doesn't know how to deal with emotion. She makes wrong decisions, hurts those around her, and has trouble loving anyone - even herself. At times, I didn't even like Victoria very much! This dislike didn't stop me from reading; in fact, I couldn't stop reading. I was so curious how her story would turn out. The dual timeline seemed to just intrigue me more. Beautiful story.
reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 30 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
The author makes you feel the characters in this book - thier actions, their emotions and their issues. The subject of flowers and their meaning tends to be a lost art to several people but the author brings the art back to the surface. The book is a quick read and may entice you to learn more about the language of flowers.
reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 54 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
This book was intriguing in the beginning. I couldn't wait to find out how the Victorian language of flowers played into the plot. I had a little trouble following the dual timeline, but the complexity of the main character pulled me in and kept me going. Then *bam* 3/4 of the way through it fell apart..... The kind of ending that makes you think, "Really? REALLY!?! Aw, c'mon". I thought it was unbelievable and felt "hurried." Too bad, because it had great potential.
reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 43 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
For a first novel, this book is surprising in its rich layers and character studies. It's amazing and heartbreaking. Anyone who is a mother will be absolutely wrecked by parts of this story. While not a manipulative tear jerker (the author is very straightforward in her descriptions and characterizations), I found it difficult to remain dry-eyed while reading this. Ultimately, the message is that the hardest person to forgive is yourself, and it's difficult to love anyone else until you have accomplished that. Towards the end, the author starts trusting that the reader has paid attention to the meanings of flowers and starts using them in the story without giving the definitions. (If you want to "cheat", there's a dictionary in the back of the book.)
njmom3 avatar reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 1304 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
The Language of Flowers tells the Victoria's story. Victoria is abandoned as an infant and passed from foster home to foster home until the age of ten. A possibility of adoption arises but does not work out. She then lives in a group home until she is "emancipated" at age 18. Essentially, she lives the first 18 years of her life feeling like she is unloved and unlovable. As such, she engages in a lot of self-destructive behavior to not allow herself to love or engage so that she cannot be rejected.

The book begins as Victoria is emancipated. It does weave back and forth to let the story of her childhood emerge. Flowers are central to this story as Victoria uses the language of flowers (each flower having a specific meaning) to express herself and to help others find happiness.

What makes this book work is the character of Victoria and the urge to reach out and protect her and to convince her that love is possible. Finding such emotion in a book makes it a great read.
moondance120 avatar reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 422 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
For eight years I dreamed of fire.

Victoria Jones has spent her entire childhood in foster care. The book opens on her 18th birthday which is her emancipation from the foster care system. She has been a difficult child and her case worker is very tired of her. The only thing that Victoria cares about is flowers. She knows their proper names and more importantly the meaning of each one. She does not last in the halfway house intended to help her adapt to society. Instead she ends up sleeping in a park. A chance meeting with a florist opens the door for her to shine.

The story is told in alternating chapters of the present and when Victoria was 10 years old. At that time she was placed with the one woman who cared for her and wanted her to thrive. Elizabeth teaches Victoria the Victorian language of flowers. Victoria absorbs all the information and uses it to create a customer base in the floral shop.

This book was so incredibly good that I read it in one sitting. The agony of Victoria's life sucked me in and wouldn't let me go. She has been independent so long that she can't let go and trust others. Her relationship with Elizabeth is so complex. Then we meet Grant. What a tortured couple!

I have always been fascinated with the Victorian flower language. To know that you can tell a whole story or relay a secret message with just flowers is amazing!

Such an wonderful book!
dasnana avatar reviewed The Language of Flowers on
Helpful Score: 4
I had a very difficult time in the beginning with the dual timeline back and forth, but it made for a very strong and heartfelt ending. It just goes to show how "that which doesn't kill you, makes you stronger!"
Missy1019 avatar reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 103 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This story grabbed my attention from the beginning; had it not been for the flowers and the meanings behind it, the story would have lost my interest since it weaves from present day to past throughout each chapter. I really like the symbolism the flowers give to the story and found the mystery storyline intriguing. I highly recommend this if you love flowers, and love to study origins/meanings.
reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 1406 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
When I picked up this novel I was delighted to see that it was about flowers and their meanings. It seems that there are a number of meanings for each flower, depending upon the source. Yes, this tale is about flowers but it's also about the abandoned who have no families but move from one setting to another until they finally grow up. The author created a story about one such young woman which emphasizes how emotionally damaging this shuttling is to individuals. This is very well done and I loved it. Take time to read it. It's is enlightening to those of us who have never encountered such experiences.
reviewed The Language of Flowers on
Helpful Score: 1
Thoroughly enjoyed the language and the story. The characters were well developed. It is a book I would read again and savor.
bookgoddessme avatar reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 106 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Breathtaking, Heartbreaking, Riveting. Has become a favorite book. The journey that you take with main character Victoria is absolutely life changing. The empathy and perfect flaws that the author creates in her main characters is like listening to the most beautiful symphony ever written. Your heart will feel like it is on a roller coaster. The book has my favorite type of ending, a neat & hopeful one. Enjoy it!
TarynC avatar reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 213 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I kept going back and forth in my opinion of this book, somewhat like the chapters were arranged, past and present alternating. I found myself getting exasperated with Victoria and then understanding her and although there is eventual redemption I couldnt help feeling that the author was negligent in one big way. She should have ended the book with a mention of her getting professional therapy to help her deal with her issues. I enjoyed the Victorian language of flowers and it was a fresh approach to deal with a difficult subject matter.
reviewed The Language of Flowers on
Helpful Score: 1
I read this book for my book club and loved it. It provided a great discussion. The main character was emotionally damaged as a foster child. We meet her at 18 when she is thrown out of the foster care system. There are many flashbacks detailing how she came to be so wary of attachments. Despite her problems it is not a depressing book but one filed with hope.
reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 227 more book reviews
Although the ending and the plot are predictable and don't really hold you in any particular level of suspense, this is an excellent book. I loved learning about the different meanings of flowers; it made me look at them in a whole new way. It was extremely well written and the words and descriptions flowed.
paisleywings avatar reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 232 more book reviews
Absolutely wonderful! I loved this story of a hard to place orphan girl and her journey. She learns the language of flowers and communicates it by becoming a florist. Her life is in shambles, and yet it becomes beautiful.
reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 130 more book reviews
Well written. A book that will stay with me for years to come. Sad, happy and thought provoking
crafty1 avatar reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 13 more book reviews
This book is about a young woman who grew up in the foster-care system. She is untrusting of all people and therefore has very limited social skills. She finds a way to communicate using the language of flowers.The main character was so emotionally challenged.It was difficult to feel empathy for her. It was an emotionally frustrating novel to read.
reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 11 more book reviews
I haven't read something this good in a while! Especially meaningful to anyone who has adopted or fostered children.
reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 135 more book reviews
Was expecting something light and fluffy from the title but it's not. Deals with what happens to a child in foster care when they age out and how their experiences in foster care forms them. Was very good and am going to suggest it to my book club for next year.
CelesteBroughton avatar reviewed The Language of Flowers on
I couldn't put this one down...
junie avatar reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 630 more book reviews
I loved this story of Victoria, an angry young lady who was in the foster system until at age 18, was emancipated with nowhere to go. She ended up sleeping in a park among the flowers, which was the only thing she loved. I fell in love with Victoria, rooting and cheering for her all the way. The book was amazing and I highly recommend it.
LeahG avatar reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 320 more book reviews
At first I didnt know whether I was going to like this story, but as I read more and more I found it harder and harder to put down. The characters are wonderful and very real. I found myself sometimes getting really mad at the main character, while feeling empathy for her at the same time. This story is very well written and I became completely engrossed in the story, as though I were living it.
readingmemere avatar reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 26 more book reviews
I was captured in the first chapter and held hostage to the end. The twists and turns and deep emotions that surfaced made me feel like I was sharing each experience. I will read this book again and recommend it for anyone.
reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 257 more book reviews
Beautiful story of a young woman's passion for flowers turned into a highly successful career, and in the end how she finally learns to love and let love in. Loved it! D.
reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 2 more book reviews
Gives one a perspective of the foster care system, and I loved learning about the meaning of flowers.
justreadingabook avatar reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 1669 more book reviews
Beautiful, haunting, engaging, memorable.
What an amazing story that is built around the need for love in all of us and how something as simple as a flower can convey so much. This is one of those books that you will think about long after you finish it.
paisleywings avatar reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 232 more book reviews
I really enjoyed this book. The meaning of flowers - how the main character uses them in arrangements. A lovely story with ups and downs of life.
reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 215 more book reviews
A heart breaking yet up lifting story about what it means to grow up without love, struggle to find love and give love. Basically what it means to be a parent, have that unconditional love and give it in return. Victoria grew up in foster care, had one successful foster home where she learned the language of flowers. She uses that skill to change her life for the better once she becomes an adult.
reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 560 more book reviews
Spell-binding from beginning to end. Amazing how well this author described physical sensations and emotional complications so that the reader empathizes with situations she probably never herself experienced. Largely believable characters, especially the central ones. A great choice for a women's book club! Lots to discuss in addition to the story itself.
BigGreenChair avatar reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 440 more book reviews
reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 8 more book reviews
One of the best books ever!
reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 3 more book reviews
Wonderful story! I couldn't put it down!
reviewed The Language of Flowers on
Nicely written, engaging, but ultimately forgettable story.
jasoncavallaro avatar reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 84 more book reviews
Leigh avatar reviewed The Language of Flowers on + 378 more book reviews
I learned a lot about flowers from this. I had no idea they were so laden with meaning. I imagine the peony industry is going to take a hit. (This could also explain why I disliked the titular character in "Peony in Love" so much). I thought the author did an excellent job fleshing out the character of Victoria and put a lot of time and effort into her back story. The problem? None of it was realistic. She didn't act like anyone I've ever known or even me, in my craziest periods. Her actions (especially toward the end) didn't ring true. Despite that, I did kind of like her and felt compelled to keep reading. But at all times I felt like I was reading a made-up story, like none of it could really happen. Ever.
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