I had a sudden urge to tell him about the flowers, to explain the hidden meanings.
Honeysuckle for devotion.
Azaleas for passion.
Red roses for love.
I placed a rhododendron on the plywood counter before him. The cluster of purple blossoms was not yet open and the buds pointed in his direction, tightly coiled and toxic.
In The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s powerful first novel, a damaged young woman, Victoria Jones, who can only communicate through the Victorian language of flowers, goes from being homeless to a sought after wedding floral designer.
The Victorian language of flowers was used to express emotions: honeysuckle for devotion, azaleas for passion, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it has been more useful in conveying feelings like 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 eighteen, Victoria has nowhere to go, and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. When her talent is discovered by a local florist, she discovers her gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But it takes meeting a mysterious vendor at the flower market for her to realise what’s been missing in her own life, and as she starts to fall for him, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.
The Language of Flowers is a heartbreaking and redemptive novel about the meaning of flowers, the meaning of family, and the meaning of love. Beautiful, original and utterly unforgettable, it is set to be the fiction sensation of 2011.