Monday 23 April 2012

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Published by Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House Publishing Group

Victoria Jones is an enigma to everyone she meets. A turbulent life in foster care has taught her only that she can't trust or depend on anyone but herself and it would seem she cares little for anything or anyone. With the exception of flowers, that is. When she leaves foster care and struggles to make it on her own, she decides she is going to work with flowers and soon realizes she has a gift for being able to change peoples' lives with her floral arrangements. While working, she reconnects with a mysterious stranger and the pain from her past is brought back to the surface. What follows is a deeply emotional, heart-stirring whirlwind of a ride as Victoria tries to deal with her past, her present, and a future that terrifies her.

I could express myself all day in this post and I don't think I could ever quite capture just how much I adored this book. It landed in my mailbox on Monday around lunchtime and on opening it, checking out the cover and the synopsis, I knew I had to read this immediately. In truth I had just meant to read perhaps the first chapter at that time as I had other things scheduled in my day but this book doesn't allow for that. Once you pick it up, you'll find yourself so hooked in the story and so deeply invested in the characters (almost instantaneous for me) and you won't be able to put this title down. I read it non-stop, including while I ate with my fork in one hand and the book in the other. It was only put down when I needed to sleep that night. Yes, it's that good! 

Each of the characters in this book are brilliantly written and it's hard to not love all of them. They will certainly linger with me for many years to come. The range of emotions in the storytelling is also incredible and unlike some books that attempt such a range and leave the reader feeling a little discombobulated and weary, Vanessa Diffenbaugh orchestrates it flawlessly. I also love that while this title contains a great deal of knowledge about the meanings of flowers and was obviously well researched, it doesn't distract from the story but rather just adds a whole new level of depth. What blew me away about this too, is that this is a debut novel and in all my years of reading, I have never read a debut novel that packs a powerful punch like The Language of Flowers. I certainly hope that this is just the beginning of a brilliant and shining career for Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I know I will be watching this author closely in the future. I can't wait to see what she brings us next!

Included in the book are A Reader's Guide to bring a little more insight from the author, and also a list of topics for discussion for those who are reading this as part of a book club.

If this book isn't sitting on your bookshelf or e-reader.. it ought to be. For me, even though it's only April, I feel safe in saying, if you only read one book this year, this is the one.

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