The Language of Flowers – Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Title – The Language of Flowers

Author – Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Published – 2011

Genre – Contemporary fiction

After almost three weeks of upheaval in our house (due to some kitchen improvements) and a “To be reviewed” pile that’s growing like Topsy, I’ve decided to post a few shorter reviews.

First up – The Language of Flowers. Not my normal genre, but I was lucky to get a copy of this book at an event held by Pan Macmillan. It’s one of those titles that seemed to receive a lot of mentions on Twitter, but I didn’t really know what it was about.

The book is Victoria’s story. She’s spent her life in the foster-care system and the book opens on her 18th birthday when she is emancipated and has to begin life on her own. And she’s very much on her own. It becomes clear that she’s had a difficult time in the care system and this is either the result of, or the cause of, difficulties she has in maintaining relationships.

Victoria has an affinity for plants and this stems (excuse the pun!) back to some time she spent with Elizabeth, who fostered her when she was 9. Elizabeth had her own a vineyard and a sister with a flower farm. Although Victoria only seemed to live with her for a short time, it was there that she learnt about the language of flowers. This knowledge is something Victoria uses to her advantage when she has the chance to help out a florist and from this she starts to put down roots (sorry!).

There were some aspects of the story and how Victoria dealt with the relationships she formed which were pretty strange, but her background makes this seem more believable.

I found this very slow to start, but once the characters became clearer to me I got caught up in their story, and wanted very much to find out the secret which lies at the heart of the book. It was an enjoyable read, although I suspect it may be aimed at a younger audience. The publishers have done themselves proud with the printed books – one of those cases where the printed version is so much more than the e-version.

You can see another review of this over at Leeswamme’s blog.

Score – 4/5



  1. My copy was a Dutch translation so I wonder what was so nice about yours. I do think sometimes a print version can really increase your enjoyment of the book. I had this with The Night Circus, which was such a beautiful book to have (and to hold!).

    I think The Language of Flowers wasn’t aimed at YA but definitely could be read and enjoyed by them.

    1. I’ve got a hardback & it has illustrated endpapers & title page. It just feels like the publisher has gone to a bit of effort, which is nice to see.

      1. Yes, it IS nice! I am starting to appreciate hardbacks more and more. I used to be a paperback person as they are nice, light and cheap. But hardbacks are that bit more special. Especially when some extra effort has been put into them.

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