The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbauch
The poet Gertrude Stein wrote that "a rose is a rose is a rose.'' But in Victorian England, a rose, depending on its color, conveyed hidden messages. A red rose meant love, while a yellow rose had several meanings, including infidelity. This symbolic language comes to life in a heart-wrenching story that examines whether love and happiness are possible after years of isolation and despair.
Victoria Jones is a troubled young woman who spent most of her childhood in a series of foster homes. She doesn’t know how to love and hates to be touched. Her last chance to belong to a family comes at the age of 8, when a woman named Elizabeth takes her into her home. Elizabeth slowly gets Victoria to trust her, and teaches the young girl the hidden meaning of flowers. But when a fire breaks out, Victoria is taken away and deemed unadoptable. As she spends the next few years in group homes, her volatility and mistrust guarantee her loneliness.
Victoria becomes emancipated from the foster-care system on her 18th birthday. With no money, no home, no family and no high school diploma, Victoria relies on the one thing she knows: flowers. She ends up sleeping in a park, where she creates a flower garden. She makes a beautiful arrangement for a florist, who hires her to help in the shop. Victoria soon is sought out by clients for her talents at arranging just the right flowers, based on their meanings.
While Victoria finds peace in her work, she is haunted by a past in which she was incapable of receiving and giving love. When a young flower farmer reaches out to her, she must decide if she can risk the pain of rejection yet again. The author, who draws upon her own experience as a foster mother, has created a wonderful, compelling story that I couldn’t put down. Check our catalog.