The Language of Flowers

The Language of Flowers


By (author) Vanessa Diffenbaugh

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  • Publisher: Random House Inc
  • Format: Hardback | 322 pages
  • Dimensions: 157mm x 231mm x 30mm | 612g
  • Publication date: 23 August 2011
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 034552554X
  • ISBN 13: 9780345525543
  • Sales rank: 116,870

Product description

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.

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Author information

To write "The Language of Flowers, "Vanessa Diffenbaugh found inspiration in her own experience as a foster mother. After studying creative writing and education at Stanford University, Vanessa taught art and writing to youth in low-income communities. She and her husband, PK, have three children and live in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This is her first novel.

Review quote

Advance praise for "The Language of Flowers""Instantly enchanting.... [Diffenbaugh] is the best new writer of the year." -"Elle""I would like to hand Vanessa Diffenbaugh a bouquet of bouvardia ("enthusiasm"), gladiolus ("you pierce my heart") and lisianthus ("appreciation"). In this original and brilliant first novel, Diffenbaugh has united her fascination with the language of flowers--a long-forgotten and mysterious way of communication--with her firsthand knowledge of the travails of the foster-care system. ... This novel is both enchanting and cruel, full of beauty and anger. Diffenbaugh is a talented writer and a mesmerizing storyteller. She includes a flower dictionary in case we want to use the language ourselves. And there is one more sprig I should add to her bouquet: a single pink carnation ("I will never forget you")."--"Washington Post""A fascinating debut.... Diffenbaugh clearly knows both the human heart and her plants, and she keeps us rooting for the damaged Victoria." -"O Magazine""Diffenbaugh effortlessly spins this enchanting tale, making even her prickly protagonist impossible not to love."--"Entertainment Weekly" "An unexpectedly beautiful book about an ugly subject: children who grow up without families, and what becomes of them in the absence of unconditional love..."Jane Eyre" for 2011." -"The San Francisco Chronicle""(T)he first-time novelist and real-life foster mother masterfully mixes sweet and tart to create a story that is devastating, yes, and hopeful, but also surprisingly, satisfyingly real."--"Redbook""A moving and beautifully written portrayal of the frailty - and the hardness - of the human spirit." -"The Daily Telegraph" (UK)"Lucid and lovely" -"The Wall Street Journal" "In a world where talk is cheap, debut author Vanessa Diffenbaugh has written a captivating novel in which a single sprig of rosemary speaks louder than words. ..."The Language of Flowers "deftly weaves the sweetness of newfound lo