Vanessa Diffenbaugh has written a stunning debut novel. This is a story of love and hate; anger and forgiveness; abandonment and redemption.
Victoria Jones is a young woman who, at age 18, is aging out of the California state foster care system. She was abandoned by her mother at birth. She has been in too many foster homes to count and, at age 10, was deemed unadoptable and consigned to group homes until the age of 18. On her eighteenth birthday she is brought to The Gathering House, a transitional facility. She is given three months free rent. After that, she must pay rent for her room or be evicted.
With little formal education and no job skills, Victoria leaves The Gathering House after three months and takes up residence in a local park. She plants flowers, steals food, and becomes more desperate. Although she is initially turned down for a job at a local florist, she presents the owner with a stunning arrangement and is hired as a part-time helper.
As Victoria’s life in the present proceeds, the story is interspersed with Victoria’s past. We learn how she obtained her extensive knowledge of flowers, and why she was unadoptable.
Victoria communicates with the language of flowers, the Victorian (get it?) concept that every flower has a meaning. Fortunately, this book has a dictionary of flowers. So we learn that, for instance, a red rose means love while a yellow rose means infidelity.So be careful what you choose to give someone.
I truly enjoyed reading The Language of Flowers. Many thanks to LibraryThing Early Reviewers program for sending this book to me.
To be published in hardcover-August 2011-Random House