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Extended Audio Sample The Language of Flowers: A Novel, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.00002391086031 out of 54.00002391086031 out of 54.00002391086031 out of 54.00002391086031 out of 54.00002391086031 out of 5 4.00 (41,822 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Vanessa Diffenbaugh Narrator: Tara Sands Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The Victorian language of flowers was used to express emotions: honeysuckle for devotion, azaleas for passion, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it has been more useful in communicating feelings like grief, mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen, Victoria has nowhere to go, and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. When her talent is discovered by a local florist, she discovers her gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But it takes meeting a mysterious vendor at the flower market for her to realise what's been missing in her own life, and as she starts to fall for him, she's forced to confront a painful secret from her past, and decide whether it's worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness. The Language of Flowers is a heartbreaking and redemptive novel about the meaning of flowers, the meaning of family, and the meaning of love.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s instantly entrancing The Language of Flowers is a modern-day fairy tale.”


  • “Catnip for book clubs.”


  • “Powerful and evocative…The Language of Flowers uses green, growing things to say something fresh and special about human life.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “An absorbing story that is as complicated and exhilarating as any human relationship…The Language of Flowers is full of startling and masterful dialogue, intense, emotional scenes that crackle and come alive as they unspool, and flawed yet sympathetic characters.”


  • “Diffenbaugh effortlessly spins this enchanting tale, making even her prickly protagonist impossible not to love.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Fascinating…Diffenbaugh, herself a foster mother, clearly knows both the human heart and her plants, and she keeps us rooting for the damaged Victoria, who comes, finally, to understand that ‘the unattached, the unwanted, the unloved [can] grow to give love as lushly as anyone else.’”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “The first-time novelist—and real-life foster mother—masterfully mixes sweet and tart to create a story that is devastating, yes, and hopeful, but also surprisingly, satisfyingly real.”


  • “Captivating…The Language of Flowers deftly weaves the sweetness of newfound love with the heartache of past mistakes into a novel that will certainly change how you choose your next bouquet.”

    Minneapolis Star-Tribune

  • “This is the story of an orphan rising above her circumstances—Jane Eyre for 2011.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Lucid and lovely…Diffenbaugh has found a vibrant way to tell a familiar story of rift (Carolina jasmine) and reconciliation (hazel).”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Immensely engaging…Diffenbaugh’s most compelling love stories are those between women—mothers and daughters, sisters, friends. As Victoria’s two stories hurtle toward their conclusions, Diffenbaugh ably paces both the plot developments and an emotional arc of almost unbearable poignance.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Enchanting, ennobling, and powerfully engaging, Diffenbaugh’s artfully accomplished debut novel lends poignant testimony to the multitude of mysteries held in the human heart.”

    Booklist (starred)

  • “Fans of Janet Fitch’s White Oleander will enjoy this solid and well-written debut, which is also certain to be a hit with book clubs.”

    Library Journal (starred)

  • “Diffenbaugh’s affecting debut chronicles the first harrowing steps into adulthood taken by a deeply wounded soul who finds her only solace in an all-but-forgotten language…Struggling against all and ultimately reborn, Victoria Jones is hard to love, but very easy to root for.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Selected for the September 2011 Indie Next List
  • Selected for the 2012 RUSA Reading List for Women's Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Lora | 2/17/2014

    " This was a pretty fast read. It was an interesting novel about an 18 year old girl emancipated from the foster care system (though it goes back and forth between the present and past, her struggles and triumphs over the next approximately 2 years, her passion for flowers and their meaning/definition, and overcoming her inability to love and trust others. There are some very good reviews already written that provide more detail. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Natalie Barnes | 2/10/2014

    " I found this book on a clean book review blog. I thought it was ok. At one point where I stopped reading for the night I went to bed with a sick feeling for some of the characters decisions. Looking back it was the worst stopping point in the book but... hindsight's 20/20. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Maria | 2/3/2014

    " This book dealt with so much despair at the beginning but don't give up on it. A wonderful tale of learning about the human spirit, thinking that I need to buy a book about flowers and their meaning. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Sarah | 1/19/2014

    " I liked this book. It was different than what I thought it would be. I liked the ending. I hated how she felt so trapped when she had Hazel as a baby, and she couldn't leave the house or anything like that. I felt like that was wrong of her, but I know I would feel that way. She doesn't have someone to watch Hazel, a way to get money, etc. I would've driven myself insane. I would've had to give her away, too. I would've needed help. I wish she would've just told Grant, but she didn't. I was afraid she would give Hazel up for adoption, and i'm glad she didn't.. This is a coming of age book. Growing up and maturing. She became a mother very young, but a lot of people do. I liked Elizabeth a lot, and the life she had with her. I hated Elizabeth for not wanting to adopt her at that one point. That was just an excuse. She was scared. Anyways. Read it. "

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