The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
It isn't often that I get to review a novel for the website, so I was curious when the publisher sent me, The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I hadn't heard anything about it, but was curious after I read the blurb which promised, "A mesmerizing, moving and elegantly written debut novel".
Fortunately, the blurb did a pretty good job of describing the book's atrributes. The story is riveting-throughout most of it, I had a hard time putting it down. The main character, Victoria Jones, is an oddly unforgettable. A product of the horrors of the foster care system, Victoria uses the Victorian language of flowers to communicate, with a world that has left her bereft, mistrustful and afraid.
Her multi-layered, and difficult story is well told by segueing between the past and the present. Secrets are kept and hidden and tragedy is at the heart of the narrative. The characters are all interesting and are all seriously damaged-=though some cope better than others.
The only misgiving I have about the book is that it sometimes dips into melodrama, but fortunately, it doesn't do it often and when it is about to become too irritating, it pulls itself and it's main character back to the center.
An unlikely tale that mixes the horrors of foster care with the language of flowers, and an unforgettable lead character, makes the book well worth reading.For a dictionary of Victoria Jones', "Language of Flowers"