Title: Language of Flowers, The
Authors: Diffenbaugh, Vanessa
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 308
Year: 2011
Publisher: Picador
Language: English
Description: Life has not been easy for Victoria Jones. Damaged by the foster care system she has graduated from, she communicates with others and makes sense of her world using the Victorian language of flowers.

With an intriguing juxtaposition of the old fashioned and the contemporary, the author considers the perennial issues of love, belonging and forgiveness in this absorbing and compassionate story.

Comments from Groups:

This was enjoyed by most of the group, with a few reservations.Two people felt that it was dragged out and could have been shortened, while some found Victoria to be rather irritating as a character. Overall though, the book appealed and the flower language theme generated good discussion. We also discussed fostering and adoption and compared what we knew of the US and NZ systems. We were all agreed on the style of writing, which was easy without being shallow. Martinborough 003

All at our meeting really enjoyed this book. We each brought a collection of flowers from our garden and found their meanings from this book. Morrinsville 001

There were polarized views in our group. Some liked the premise of a "language of flowers" and others felt it was "romantic twaddle".We all agreed that it is lightweight, and some characters are fey and unrealistic. However, we had a decent discussion around fostering, families, love and acceptance. Dunedin 090

All members enjoyed this book and were captivated by the meanings of flowers. There was much interesting discussion on 'damaged' people like Victoria in the book. Two members experienced in counselling and early childhood doubted the book's happy ending, noting that such people tend to require on-going professional help as well as ordinary support. Gore 001

This provided a good insight into the thoughts of a foster child; the effects of rejection and the fragility of the soul. Shocking in parts but beautifully written. Recommended. Te Puke 006

If we had read this one earlier, it could well have been our favourite book. We all loved it - an original story served up with a bouquet of flowers. It was all the more poignant when we learned that the author had fostered and adopted herself.We all brought flowers and learnt and discussed their meaning - a great book. Whitby 002

There was a wide variety of comments. Some felt the author tried too hard to make up a story around the theme of 'language of flowers'; and that all the characters were dysfunctional. Others found it an easy read, light but sometimes disturbing. Whakatane 005

In general, people liked the book. It was interesting to read, well structured and full of symbolism. It was beautifully written, and dealt with a unique subject well. The central character had had a tough life, with some hard experiences, but her love of flowers brought out a softness and a sense of hope. The discussion went well; the questions were thought-provoking and relevant Christchurch 403

Overall the group loved the book, and would highly recommend it. It was fascinating to analyse the meaning of different flowers, and how messages could be conveyed... Mangaweka 001

We mostly enjoyed this, and found the characters believable if not especially likeable. The ending was a bit unsatisfactory - ' Downton Abbey-ish' in its tying up of loose ends in a happy ever after way. Insightful re the effects of serial fostering and a poor start to life on the behaviour of a child and young adult. We had mixed feelings about the structure of the book - some liked, but some were annoyed by, the to and fro of it. Auckland 107

We all loved this book. It is a lovely story - very sad in places, but the added element of the flowers and their meanings elevates it to a beautiful novel. We were delighted that the fractured little family came together at the end. Highly recommended. Otorohanga 003

Most members enjoyed this book. There were some reservations about the alternating past and present chapters format. Ashburton 024

Beautifully written. We enjoyed the alternating chapters, which were woven together nicely. It stimulated an interesting discussion about fostering practices in NZ. Paihia 003

Categories: Fiction, Contemporary, Grief/loss, Love story, Relationships, Uplifting, Light style, What's Hot, Popular Book with Groups


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By: CHCH 148 2018-11-26 14:23:02
We all enjoyed it immensely. The layers of meanings of the flowers intrigued us, and we had a robust discussion on what we don't know about foster care in NZ. We enjoyed the style in which it was written as well.

By: PARAPA 001 2018-11-26 14:15:10
We found the book easy to read. The author managed the movement between the past and present seamlessly. The story was an unusual one and quite a compelling one. We would recommend the book.

By: AUCK 293 2018-11-26 14:12:38
This is a beautiful and moving novel which covers many aspects of life as a foster child. Some really interesting characters whose main interest was making life better for Victoria, even though she was resistant to getting close to anyone. To learn the meanings of flowers was a bonus. An excellent read.

By: WAIHI 002 2018-11-26 14:06:34
Everyone really enjoyed this book. The way the story went back in time and then the next chapter back to the present worked well. Not the happiest of stories - although a good ending.

By: STEW 001 2018-11-26 14:00:24
Mixed opinions - some members enjoyed it, particularly the references to flower meanings,; others found it too 'fictional' to be credible and to be very 'light' reading.

By: NELS 023 2018-11-26 13:59:06
The group had mixed views on this book. On the whole they thought it was a challenging story which was redeemed by the theme of flowers. Many said they didn't 'enjoy' the book - but found it compelling.

By: CHCH 294 2018-11-26 13:54:57
A beautiful but disturbing book.

By: AUCK 347 2018-11-26 13:54:26
We all enjoyed 'The Language of Flowers'. It was fascinating to learn the meanings of so many flowers. We found ourselves getting quite invested in the main character. It prompted much discussion about foster systems, adoption, parenting and nurture.

By: WAIUK 003 2018-11-26 13:51:15
A well enjoyed and beautifully written book - the plot, characters and events kept most of us reading, and not wanting to put it down. A few have decided that they should have been florists!

By: CHCH 378 2018-08-23 17:14:57
The group loved this book, especially the references to the flowers and the way they were interwoven with the story.

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