Author: Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Publisher: Ballantine Books (August 23, 2011)
My Rating: ★★★★★
Victoria Jones, abandoned by her birth mother at only 3 weeks old, has been tossed around from foster home to foster home. She wasn't born an angry child, but she could not catch a break so she began to act out. Then, at the age of nine, she is placed with Elizabeth, a vineyard owner who desperately wants a child. It is with her that Victoria learns the almost extinct language of flowers, in which every flower has a distinct meaning. In the Victorian era, people would use the language of flowers to send secret messages to one another. Unfortunately, things don't turn out the way Victoria wanted them to with Elizabeth and now she has burned all her bridges. She is sent back to finish her childhood in a group home until she is tossed out at 18 to live on the streets in San Francisco. The only thing she has is her language of flowers, but is that enough to survive?
There is so much that happens in this book. It is all so beautifully written that I didn't want to put it down. This will easily be in my top ten of 2011 list. I loved learning the meanings of flowers (and the inclusion of Victoria's Dictionary in the back of the book) and I can really understand the joy that Victoria got from the work she does with flowers. All of the characters were extremely well-developed and likable. The romance is believable instead of feeling forced. I can't stress that point enough. An actual realistic type of relationship is a breath of fresh air. Victoria Jones is a character that stole my heart from page one and would not let go until I finished her story.