Some books pull you in from the beginning and you love every minute of them; some are slow going and you are waiting for them to get better; and some, you don't love but can't stop reading and realise afterwards they have left the deepest impression on you.
The Language of Flowers by debut author Vanessa Diffenbaugh is one of those books.
Set in current day San Francisco, The Language of Flowers follows both the childhood and adult life of Victoria; a young woman rejected at birth and sent from foster home to foster home, never settling and never finding herself.
The Victorian language of flowers used to convey emotions and love is the only way she has ever found to safely communicate how she feels throughout her life. Honeysuckle means devotion, red roses mean love, asters mean patience.
After a local florist discovers her talent for selecting the right flowers for the right occasion, Victoria feels as though her life is slowly coming together.
Her life is thrown into turmoil once more and old emotions are stirred up, intermingled with new ones, complicating the simple life she is making for herself upon the appearance of a person from her past.
This book alternates from telling the story of Victoria's difficult childhood to her equally difficult adult life and back again - which I find a little frustrating in most books; the author does well in using this method to explore Victoria's life on a deeper level.
This story is ultimately heart warming and not too heavy. It tells the story of Victoria's life that left me unsure whether I sympathised with her of not and a little frustrated at her actions, yet made an impact on me I didn't expect.
I don't think I will be in a hurry to read this book again, but it did leave me with a sense of understanding of the difficult lives some people have to live and I am glad I took the time to read it.
The Language of Flowers is great to read on a cold stormy day tucked up by the fire, or lying on a tropical beach listening to the waves; the story is one of sadness and redemption, but it is easy to read and not top heavy with information.
If you, like me, are always looking for something good to read, this debut novel is certainly worth a read.