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Book Review: The Language of Flowers By Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Updated on January 1, 2013

Synopsis ( A Tease)

The author, Vanessa Diffenbaugh, takes the reader on a magnificent sojourn that underscores the life of her main protagonist, Victoria Jones, a young girl who was a survivor of the state foster care system. Abandoned at birth and bounced around from one foster home to another left Victoria with many scars, among them an attachment disorder that caused her to mistrust everyone in her personal universe.

However, Victoria found her voice and calling through the language of flowers. Her native ability to commune with the lush gifts of nature by creating bouquets that relayed messages to those she met, helped her to find her voice from within and the trust she never knew before.

The author, Vanessa Diffenbaugh was quoted as saying that she chose the language of flowers for Victoria because the mystery around this form of communication was "emotionally safe" and well suited to this young woman, a young woman who had a hardship trusting anyone.

The Language of Flowers

I've often taken for granted the many beautiful bouquets I have received in my lifetime, or the plantings I select year after year to grow in my garden, never really understanding or knowing that each flower carries with it an important message. For instance, the fragrant lavender I cherish dearly and look forward to seeing annually means mistrust.This flower, known for its lovely scent, is seen in so many bath products, and juxtaposed in bathrooms in scores of bed and breakfasts everywhere. Clearly, this is not a message any merchant wants to send to their clientele. Yet, it appears as the scent of choice in so many places.

And, do you know that basil, a flourishing herb that is enjoyed by foodies everywhere and is a staple in the most aromatic and delicious Italian cuisine means hate? This undermined every fiber of my being. How could something that good translate to something so bad? To me, this was a conundrum.

Or, how about the treasured mistletoe where young and old are lured to exchange romantic pleasantries? Well, it means, I surmount all obstacles. Interesting, yes? Indeed! Think about that the next time someone shoves you under that mistletoe.

This language of flowers appears to have been around for many years. It was a Victorian era means of communication, whereby a bouquet of flowers encoded a message to a person that could not be otherwise spoken. And like the main protagonist in this featured book, I too have become enchanted with the study of flowers and their mysterious language, and it is my fervent hope that you too will be captivated by their innate essence and by their divine messages.

About the Author

Vanessa Diffenbaugh studied creative writing and education at Stanford University. She used her craft to teach art and writing to youth in low-income communities.Ms. Diffenbaugh is also a foster mom which lends credibility to her novel and in particular, to her main protagonist, Victoria Jones.

Although this is Vanessa Diffenbaugh's debut novel, she writes with the flair of a seasoned novelist. Her character development is so exacting, that you, the reader, really feel with intensity the emotions of these characters as you enter into their world. And, her knowledge of the language of flowers will tug at your heart as you absorb and prosper from the messages embedded in each creation.

This is a good read and one that you will savor for a long time after closing its pages. Therefore, without hesitation, I recommend, The Language of Flowers to those who endeavor to find the joy in learning about new subject matter within the context of multifaceted characters who teach you that there is beauty in nature far above the aesthetic. And, that we each have the power to be an additive force rather than a subtractiveforce to other human beings while traveling the globe.

Creating a Flower Dictionary of Your Own

Like Victoria Jones, you can use a box to house the illustrations and definitions or you can opt to create an album.

1 Photo Album

Card Stock (to fit album size)

Take Photos of Flowers or Paint/Draw the Flowers or Download from the Internet

Use a Cricut machine to create headings and Definitions or Type them with a Selected Font from your PC

Place the Heading on Top (Name of the Flower)

Put a Picture of the Flower Underneath the Heading (Name/Genus/Species)

Put the Definition Below the Picture

Resources to Follow

Use the Dictionary to Create Cards or Even Make Your Own Personal Bouquets and Potpourri


Submit a Comment
  • RobinGrosswirth23 profile imageAUTHOR

    Robin Grosswirth 

    3 years ago from New York

    rebeccamealey I enjoyed this story tremendously. Flowers are healing.

  • rebeccamealey profile image

    Rebecca Mealey 

    3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

    I've heard of this book. It was good to read your review. Thanks. Love the flower dictionary idea!

  • RobinGrosswirth23 profile imageAUTHOR

    Robin Grosswirth 

    6 years ago from New York

    teaches12345 Thanks for reading this hub. Hope you enjoy it too.

  • teaches12345 profile image

    Dianna Mendez 

    6 years ago

    This books is highly interesting to me. I just finished watching Hugo and the Dickinson era it is pulled from reminds me of the background of this book. I can't think of a better way to express oneself than with flowers.

  • RobinGrosswirth23 profile imageAUTHOR

    Robin Grosswirth 

    6 years ago from New York

    GypsyRoseLee Thanks!

  • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

    Gypsy Rose Lee 

    6 years ago from Riga, Latvia

    Voted up and interesting. A fascinating read. I enjoy books that inform. Passing this on.

  • RobinGrosswirth23 profile imageAUTHOR

    Robin Grosswirth 

    6 years ago from New York

    breakfastpop Read and let's talk about it.

    Deb This is a great fictional novel that has as a theme, the language of flowers. I am going to used the flower dictionary to guide me in writing poetry. It is a lovely way to honor nature, so enjoy. Glad this proved to be a positive review.

  • Deborah Brooks profile image

    Deborah Brooks Langford 

    6 years ago from Brownsville,TX

    robin.. I love these kind of books.. anything to do with crafts.. what a great hub.. I will study this and see if I can make my own flower book.. love it



  • breakfastpop profile image


    6 years ago

    I know I will. Thanks again.

  • RobinGrosswirth23 profile imageAUTHOR

    Robin Grosswirth 

    6 years ago from New York

    breakfastpop It is a really good read. There is also a theme and model for forgiveness too. The author is a wonderful writer. Hope you enjoy it too.

  • breakfastpop profile image


    6 years ago

    Her book sounds like just my cup of tea. Thank you for the review and for your interesting hub. Happy New Year..

  • RobinGrosswirth23 profile imageAUTHOR

    Robin Grosswirth 

    6 years ago from New York

    Mhatter99 Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the read and support.

  • Mhatter99 profile image

    Martin Kloess 

    6 years ago from San Francisco

    Thank you for this interesting review.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    6 years ago from Olympia, WA

    Interesting, but I really just dropped by to wish you a very Happy New Year! I hope this year is filled with happiness for you my friend. Thank you for your friendship this past year.


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