The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

73%

16 Critic Reviews

...The Language of Flowers is a hopeful book tempered by reality. It leaves the reader with trilliums and saffron: modest beauty and a wariness of excess.
-Globe and Mail

Synopsis

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
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 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 with nowhere to go, Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger 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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About Vanessa Diffenbaugh

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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.
 
Published August 23, 2011 by Ballantine Books. 331 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Romance, Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Language of Flowers
All: 16 | Positive: 12 | Negative: 4

Kirkus

Above average
on Jul 20 2011

While true to the logic of its perverse psychology, the story can be exasperating before finally swerving toward the light. An unusual, overextended romance, fairy tale in parts but with a sprinkling of grit.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on Sep 07 2011

...Ms. Diffenbaugh has a tough time tying together all the tendrils for the book’s finale.

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Publishers Weekly

Good
on May 30 2011

Struggling against all and ultimately reborn, Victoria Jones is hard to love, but very easy to root for.

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Examiner

Good
Reviewed by Jillian Hoyt on Nov 18 2011

The Language of Flowers is enchanting yet true to life. Diffenbaugh gracefully interweaves the harsh realities of Victoria’s life with the beauty of flowers that speak volumes.

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Book Reporter

Above average
Reviewed by Norah Piehl on Jul 05 2011

...it's clear that THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS is written with certain social awareness goals in mind. It's unfortunate that, at times, Victoria's "foster kid" past...is proffered unquestioningly as an excuse for nearly inexcusable behaviors.

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Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by MEGANNE FABREGA on Aug 29 2011

"The Language of Flowers" deftly weaves the sweetness of newfound love with the heartache of past mistakes in a novel that will certainly change how you choose your next bouquet.

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Globe and Mail

Good
Reviewed by Elizabeth Johnston on Sep 05 2011

...The Language of Flowers is a hopeful book tempered by reality. It leaves the reader with trilliums and saffron: modest beauty and a wariness of excess.

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AV Club

Below average
Reviewed by Samantha Nelson on Sep 28 2011

Without strong characters to anchor the story, the weaknesses of the contrived plot and narrative style become even more pronounced.

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Entertainment Weekly

Good
Reviewed by Sara Vilkomerson on Apr 10 2011

Diffenbaugh effortlessly spins this enchanting tale, making even her prickly protagonist impossible not to love.

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Washington Independent Review of Books

Good
Reviewed by Patricia Bochi on Jan 11 2013

Written with great sensitivity, The Language of Flowers is ultimately about hope...which gradually takes hold of its flawed yet hauntingly human protagonist.

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Express

Good
Reviewed by Vanessa Berrridge on Aug 05 2011

The many themes, of disassociation and communication, the nature of motherhood and of family, regret and redemption are interwoven in a rich tapestry.

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About.com Bestsellers

Good
Reviewed by Bess Newman on Jan 20 2016

Victoria's childhood is bleak but the novel never wears down the reader. Instead, Victoria's cold exterior and stubborn refusal to connect with others makes for a surprisingly charming story.

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Huntington News

Above average
Reviewed by David M. Kinchen on Oct 26 2012

...we find ourselves rooting for Victoria, as well as the rest of the flawed but true to life characters in the book: Grant, Elizabeth, Renata, Mother Ruby, Marlena and even tough love social worker Meredith.

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The Roanoke Times

Good
Reviewed by Linda Rimel on Jan 11 2013

Diffenbaugh makes her difficult central character compelling.

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Sunshine Coast Daily

Good
Reviewed by Ally Martell on Sep 18 2011

The Language of Flowers is great springtime reading for the ladies and will surely have you searching your own gardens for magical posies.

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Lazy Day Books Blog

Good
Reviewed by Tammy T. on Jan 20 2016

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh takes us on an incredible journey through the life of a young girl, Victoria, growing up in a foster care system.

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Reader Rating for The Language of Flowers
85%

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Terri McGinty 23 May 2013

Rated the book as 3 out of 5

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Morgan Bliss 8 Oct 2014

Rated the book as 4.5 out of 5

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