September 2019 Newsletter Book Report

Book Title: The Language of Flowers
Author: Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Report by: Shelly Gansevles (read by Shelly’s book club, the Gads Hill Hotties)

What if you could communicate using only flowers? The Language of Flowers is a story that starts with a turbulent upbringing, a chance job at a florist shop, and finding love but unable to express it except through flowers and their meanings.

The main character is Victoria and she endures multiple foster homes. Victoria’s last chance at a foster home is with Elizabeth, who is elderly and who shares her “ ‘Flower Dictionary” from 1885. “It’s from the Victorian era, like your name. If a man gave a young lady a bouquet of flowers, she would race home and try to decode it like a secret message,’ Elizabeth said.”

After Victoria ruins her chance to stay with Elizabeth, she finds herself homeless as she ages out of the foster system. Some of her self-loathing is hard to read, however, you will root for her: Coriander – hidden worth! She begins to arrange flowers to express feelings and finds a job with a florist while she is homeless. She creates bouquets for what customers want to say: Daffodil – new beginnings, Hazel – reconciliation, and Honeysuckle – devotion. She becomes wildly successful as people love her creations that “speak to them”. The relationship she forms with Grant, who runs a flower farm, is complex for her, as she cannot express herself without flowers. They communicate through photographing flowers and creating Victoria’s own dictionary. Their love develops, even though Victoria is certain it is going to end at any minute due to her upbringing: Begonia – caution.

It is beautifully written describing Victoria as an adult still experiencing childhood trauma and how she learns to deal with it: Mistletoe – I surmount all obstacles, and there is an unexpected ending! Everyday-life can be described with flowers and their meanings: Bellflower – gratitude, and this made the book hard to put down!

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