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The Language of Flowers: A Novel | [Vanessa Diffenbaugh]

The Language of Flowers: A Novel

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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. 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 18 and emancipated from the system, Victoria has nowhere to go and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. Soon a local florist discovers her talents, and Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But a mysterious vendor at the flower market 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.

©2011 Vanessa Diffenbaugh (P)2011 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

“As a foster care survivor, I feel a kinship with Victoria Jones as she battles loss and risk and her own thorny demons to find redemption. Vanessa Diffenbaugh has given us a deeply human character to root for, and a heart-wrenching story with insight and compassion to spare.” (Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife)

"The Language of Flowers is a primer for the language of love. Vanessa Diffenbaugh deftly gathers themes of maternal love, forgiveness and redemption in an unforgettable literary bouquet. Book clubs will swoon!" (Adriana Trigiani, author of Very Valentine and Don’t Sing at the Table)

“A deftly powerful story of finding your way home, even after you’ve burned every bridge behind you. The Language of Flowers took my heart apart, chapter by chapter, then reassembled the broken pieces in better working condition - I loved this book.” (Jamie Ford, author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet )

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (1082 )
5 star
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4.2 (931 )
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Cyndee Augusta, GA 11-12-12
    Cyndee Augusta, GA 11-12-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyable Frustration at Story and Characters"
    Where does The Language of Flowers rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This was only my third audiobook so I am by no means a critic but this was extremely enjoyable. Narrator was good and even her other voices (for different characters) were done well.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Language of Flowers?

    The moment when Elizabeth and Victoria were reunited. I felt like I was on the sidelines watching and rooting for this moment.


    What does Tara Sands bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Her accents and other voices for the other characters in story.


    If you could take any character from The Language of Flowers out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Victoria. I would tell her that even though she is young and was never shown love by those that matter most that there are good people to be trusted and that she deserves to let them in. She needs to get past her past.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jamie Chicago, IL, United States 10-20-12
    Jamie Chicago, IL, United States 10-20-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    18
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very Mediocre"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    The story is ok. It's a fantasized version of the trials and tribulations of the foster care system. I personally prefer a more realistic view. The story is lightened even more so by Victoria's interest in flowers and their meanings. The narrator's voice is very childlike and can become irritating (in my opinion). Fine entertainment, wouldn't recommend for a reader who prefers more realistic fiction.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Tara Sands’s performances?

    No.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Plantation, FL, United States 09-22-12
    Laura Plantation, FL, United States 09-22-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "There is a story line somewhere hidden in the dirt"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No! I know that this was the "go to" book of the Summer....listening was boring enough...if I had bought it, I would have put it down and hand it to someone I know who is a gardener.Sometimes authors like to "show off" on how much they know about a subject....this was the case with this book......the story was written around way too much floral information. I didn't purchase a flower book....I bought what I thought would be a good story.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Vanessa Diffenbaugh? Why or why not?

    No.


    What three words best describe Tara Sands’s voice?

    Her voice was one of the only thing that kept the book moving. She has a nice voice for narration.


    Was The Language of Flowers worth the listening time?

    NO.....normally I would not have listened so long to a book I clearly did not care for....but it was the "IT" summer book and I thought it would get better or have everthing come together in the end that brought it all together in an amazing way...it didn't.


    Any additional comments?

    This is only my humble opinion...if you enjoyed it great. If you have not...having a love of flowers and such and their meanings when you give them to someone you may enjoy it. There is a story around all the floral stuff.....you just have to go thru a lot to get it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elisabeth Durham, NC, United States 09-17-12
    Elisabeth Durham, NC, United States 09-17-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    225
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    417
    83
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    21
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Learning to Trust and Love"

    Not often does an author present you with a protagonist that is so hard to like as Victoria. But, Diffenbaugh does a masterful job building your empathy for Victoria even as you struggle to understand her behavior. The author also did a great job painting a picture in my mind of every setting in the story. I loved learning about the secret meaning behind each type of flower and felt that added to the story in such a rich, wonderful way. I do applaud Diffenbaugh for not wrapping the story up in a neat little bow, but leaving us with a sense of hope for Victoria as she grapples to trust, love and be reliable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gloria Lincoln, NE, United States 09-06-12
    Gloria Lincoln, NE, United States 09-06-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story, Great listen."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is a great story. You will learn what different flowers could mean. It is a multi-layered story about love, commitment, survival, and consequences. It passes chapter to chapter from Victoria's childhood in the foster system to Victoria as a young adult just out of the foster system. The things that happen to her and what she does all seem realistic. The book in some ways reminded me of Chocolat. I loved learning about the meaning (language) of flowers.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I loved Victoria. I thought the author really developed this character. Also, I loved Elizabeth. These two characters were so real that by the end of the book, I felt that I knew them.


    Have you listened to any of Tara Sands’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no


    If you could take any character from The Language of Flowers out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Elizabeth. I thought she was so interesting. She lived alone, but had so much love to give and so much knowledge to share.


    Any additional comments?

    I highly recommend this listen. The narrator was perfect for the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann boulder, CO, United States 09-05-12
    Ann boulder, CO, United States 09-05-12 Member Since 2005
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "should have been titled "The language of Anger""
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    the title so that it would be most descriptive of the content


    Would you ever listen to anything by Vanessa Diffenbaugh again?

    yes


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    She fit the subject matter so I believe she was appropriate


    Could you see The Language of Flowers being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    no


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Denton, TX, United States 08-27-12
    Amazon Customer Denton, TX, United States 08-27-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Minor key doesn't hide soap opera"
    What would have made The Language of Flowers better?

    Almost all abandoned and/or severely neglected children achieve some happiness and stability in their adult lives only when they accept that they will have to lovingly and competently parent themselves to heal and prevail. In this novel, the author dredges up the prince of fairy tales to save the damsel in distress, giving us yet another man who loves purely, unconditionally and with blazing abandon.

    If readers could have shared instead the heroine's years of hard work with a good therapist, this book could have been a strong testament to the resilience of the human heart and healing power of the truth-seeking mind.


    What was most disappointing about Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s story?

    It's heroine's dependence on a shining-armor clad knight for her story's resolution.


    What three words best describe Tara Sands’s voice?

    Competent, evocative, respectful of author's intent.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment and frustration.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Timothy 07-30-12
    Timothy 07-30-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wilted"
    Would you try another book from Vanessa Diffenbaugh and/or Tara Sands?

    I don't believe she is accomplished enough an author to warrant a second try. Tara Sands did as well as anyone could.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Vanessa Diffenbaugh again?

    No, I found her characters wooden and story pitted with ridicules flaws.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    I like the distinct voices she provided for each character.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Language of Flowers?

    I would cut the part after, "This is Audible...."


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charlotte 07-13-12
    Charlotte 07-13-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Poorly written and narrated"
    What disappointed you about The Language of Flowers?

    The story was too exaggerated; the feeding of the baby was ridiculous as was the supposed impact of her choice of flowers.


    Any additional comments?

    Not my kind of book, just a download and learn situation

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hope ADRIAN, PA, United States 05-23-12
    Hope ADRIAN, PA, United States 05-23-12 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    8
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "This book was unique and interesting!"

    We picked this book for book club and was unsure how much I'd like it. I did enjoy it much more than expected. The narration was good and the story was good, so together I was able to breeze through this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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