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I don´t usually recommend bestsellers and I´m recommending this one because

February 14, 2012 by Reader's Connection

The Language of Flowers1. It´s Valentine´s Day. This book has been assigned to the Love Stories genre in our catalog, so I planted it on our Romance page a few weeks ago, and thought it could be used for a holiday post. The Language of Flowers probably isn’t what people have in mind when they´re looking for love stories, but I´m all for expanding those genre definitions.

2. The New York Times boast that you see on the cover art to the left doesn’t appear on the book I’m holding. By time I realized that this thing was a bestseller, I was hooked. I had a jones for Victoria Jones. She’s eighteen years old and has spent most of those years in foster homes and other facilities. Someone attempted to adopt her when she was ten, but it didn’t work out. Emancipated at the age of eighteen, she starts sleeping in a park.

3. The woman who tried to adopt Victoria gave her, among other things, a knowledge of the language of flowers. A peach blossom means I am your captive and so on. As far as my knowledge of that language goes, author Vanessa Diffenbaugh could just as well be Tolkien talking about Elvish. But I love the way Victoria latches on to common thistle when she learns that it stands for misanthropy.

4. And I love the way flower-language works so much better for her than English, better than the ways people usually reach out to each other, and how it helps her find her way to a career and to . . . well, read the book.

5. So, potato. I mean, benevolence. I mean, Happy Valentine’s Day.



  1. Jim Cannon says:

    Let’s not forget Kate Greenaway’s “Language of Flowers” which many consider to be her finest work. Though not fiction, a bestseller, or romantic, it’s what I think of when I hear the phrase “language of flowers”. Thanks for reminding me.

  2. Glenn Halberstadt says:

    Jim makes an important point. I–the Reader’s Connection person–may not know know anything about flower language, but the library certainly has resources on the subject. You can do a subject search in our catalog for “flower language” and it will take you to the Greenaway book, the Diffenbaugh novel, and a number of others.

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