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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 (1337 )
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4.2 (1146 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Theresa Flagstaff, AZ, United States 02-19-13
    Theresa Flagstaff, AZ, United States 02-19-13 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    Performance
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    "Interesting, worthwhile read"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Language of Flowers to be better than the print version?

    I actually had both the audio and print version of the book and switched on and off depending on the situation. The audio was great...when I switched to print I would hear the audio voices in my head! My only complaint with the audio is that it was slow. I could read the book much faster.


    What other book might you compare The Language of Flowers to and why?

    I'm not sure. It's quite a unique story. I think if you liked The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley, you'd like this book. They're the same type of read.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No, but learning about the meaning of each flower variety was really interesting. I haven't looked at flowers the same since.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracie Englewood, CO, United States 02-15-13
    Tracie Englewood, CO, United States 02-15-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    28
    8
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    "Enjoyable."
    What made the experience of listening to The Language of Flowers the most enjoyable?

    The author made of a rather common topic a very enjoyable reading experience.


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

    The reunion of Elizabeth and Victoria after many years of absence from each other's life.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Not a particular one.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Cry at times, but for the most part, wonder over the possibilities of events such as those described may occur.


    Any additional comments?

    The book is not a master-piece, but in keeping with today's writing trends, I think this is better than many. I wished the narrator had more dynamic and more interest in better reding, though I could tolerate her, at times< monotone style.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    suzanne 02-08-13
    suzanne 02-08-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    6
    4
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    "A little overkill"
    What did you like best about The Language of Flowers? What did you like least?

    The author's story line of the magic the main charater brings to others through her use of flowers. Very inspiring. Least? The character's painful lives and poor choices dominate the pages. They cannot get past their past, a bit depressing.


    What was most disappointing about Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s story?

    Too much time spent on the total naivete of the characters and their poor decisions.


    What three words best describe Tara Sands’s voice?

    flat, monotone, mumbly Perfect for the for dark characters in the book.


    Do you think The Language of Flowers needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    no. couldn't bear to see how painful the future might be


    Any additional comments?

    Loved the idea of the flower language. Narrator's performance perfectly depicted the characters personalities.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melinda Greenberg Cincinnati, Ohio 02-06-13
    Melinda Greenberg Cincinnati, Ohio 02-06-13 Member Since 2012

    Just your average bookworm.. love reading books physically, but with work and school, audiobooks are a great alternative. I host a book club, and I few of us are avid listeners. I listen while I clean, drive, and workout. Great hobby!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "very good"
    Would you listen to The Language of Flowers again? Why?

    Definitely. Great narrator. Matched the characters well.


    What other book might you compare The Language of Flowers to and why?

    White Oleander... troubled girl in foster-home-hell.


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

    No-


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I really hated the main character a lot of the book, and my heart cried out for the child.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Carlson 01-29-13
    C. Carlson 01-29-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    63
    ratings
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    443
    11
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    "LIngering in my mind"

    I admit there were a few plot points that left me wondering. But the characters were entrancing. They lingered in my mind for days, really got under my skin. The reader was perfect as well. Well worth one's time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W. Guldberg 01-05-13
    W. Guldberg 01-05-13
    ratings
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    24
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    "Fast and excellent listen!"

    I really enjoyed this book and was sad for it to be over. I really loved how the story went between the past and present. It was a really quick listen and I didn't want to put it down. I also loved hearing about how the flowers were used to express emotions so descriptively. Being descriptive with words and emotions is so important and she was able to show that with each flower and what they specifically meant. It was a great listen and I'd recommend it to anyone!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    GrammyKate Morgan Hill, CA, United States 12-20-12
    GrammyKate Morgan Hill, CA, United States 12-20-12 Member Since 2011

    Kate Gorman

    ratings
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    68
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    "Fabulous"

    Love, love, loved this book, story and reader. Did not want it to end!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Denise OVERLAND PARK, KS, United States 12-19-12
    Denise OVERLAND PARK, KS, United States 12-19-12
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    "fantastic! Couldn't wait to finish it!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would! recommend it. I liked how it talked about the different meanings of flowers and how these different characters used them in giving messages to others.. Watching a homeless girl go through so much hurt and pain and then turn her life around.


    What did you like best about this story?

    That everyone needs to be loved and accepted.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When she left the group home but before leaving left each girl a specific flower to send them a message of what she thought of them.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes, had a hard time turning it off.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret Brentwood, TN, United States 12-13-12
    Margaret Brentwood, TN, United States 12-13-12 Member Since 2013
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    2
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    "Beautiful story, well read"
    Where does The Language of Flowers rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This book rates in the top five of all the books I have read or listened to this year. Great way to learn about flowers and be inspired in over coming life's greatest challenges.


    Which character – as performed by Tara Sands – was your favorite?

    The young woman who the story revolves around


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Loved learning, while enjoying a great story


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Holly Kapaa, HI, United States 12-09-12
    Holly Kapaa, HI, United States 12-09-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    2
    1
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    "Loved this story"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Language of Flowers to be better than the print version?

    I read the book first and loved it so much that I wanted to be able to hear it whenever I wanted. The reader's voice is just right for this story.


    What other book might you compare The Language of Flowers to and why?

    The back story is an often told story, hardship, struggle, opportunity and hope. The details of this story are unique and provided my mind with a rich picture of beauty and a message that the flowers we see every day have a deeper meaning. The expression of that meaning is wonderful to play around with in my imagination.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I loved the scene where the first floral arrangement is made. The meaning of each carefully selected flower paints a picture in my mind. I want to be there and be part of the flower shop designers.


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

    I guess I would take the social worker out to dinner. She needs support and place to discuss and vent about the pressures and disappointments of her work. I would want to know what her experiences have taught her and what she would have done differently. This is the person who could make a difference in the treatment of many children through her knowledge and recommendations.


    Any additional comments?

    I have listened to this book many times. Wish I could have a copy of all the flowers and their meanings.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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