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Kathleen

Brookline, MA, United States | Member Since 2009

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  • The Language of Flowers: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Vanessa Diffenbaugh
    • Narrated By Tara Sands
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1013)
    Performance
    (875)
    Story
    (875)

    A mesmerizing, moving, and elegantly written debut novel, The Language of Flowers beautifully weaves past and present, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own troubled past. 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 grief, mistrust, and solitude.

    Diana - Audible says: "You don't need a green thumb to enjoy this one"
    "What flower means "disappointment" or "dreadful"?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Even though I ratcheted down the hype I've read elsewhere on this book, I was unprepared for how deeply, truly, dreadful I found it. The narrator, Tara Sands, handled the various character voices well enough, and the audio quality is fine. It's the text I found objectionable.

    Very little in the "The Language of Flowers" rings true. Most of the characters are one-dimensional, and that dimension is preternaturally saintlike. The dialogue bears no resemblance to the way people speak, nor does it have any engaging quirks to compensate for lack of naturalism. While one or two scenes have some grit and are vivid, the rest of it reads like a poor excuse for a fairy tale. Using the language of flowers as an organizing principle of the plot may be good marketing (ooh, pretty, pretty), but it is, I think, the source of what's weakest in the book. I'm not going to give plot spoilers here, but most of what happens is a little too neat and tidy.

    While themes of parenthood and childhood drive some very powerful literature, including fairy tales, don't bother with this one unless you like the taste of those cheap frosting flowers they put on grocery store cakes.

    15 of 22 people found this review helpful

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