Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s intriguing novel The Language of Flowers vividly uses Victorian floral sentiments as a framework for an unusual story about a foster child who ages out of the system and attempts to make a life for herself. It doesn’t seem like that juxtaposition would work, but it does.
The female characters in the book were compelling and well done (the male character not so much, but I glossed over him). I thought Diffenbaugh did a particularly good job of getting inside the head of a young girl with attachment disorder such that the reader gains understanding of the problems with long-term foster care as its woven into the story.
I also really enjoyed the flower language references. Although I grew up being informed about flower names, the whole meanings thing is not something I was previously familiar with. I do own one of the books Diffenbaugh recommends on the topic, and this book makes me want to actually read it!
If you’re looking for a good novel to get into, The Language of Flowers is not fluffy but not too dense, thought-provoking but not too Dickensian, original but not too experimental–in short, it’s a great book and I would recommend it.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you Amy for the recommendation!