Vanessa Diffenbaugh has written a first novel in a most elegant and mesmerizing style. Diffenbaugh has found that story line that has escaped other authors, the story of foster parents and the children they take in, and intertwined it with the Victorian language of flowers.
The latter was something I had little knowledge of — the words assigned to certain flowers to express emotion or feeling to another. Truly the Victorian period was one of art, music and expressiveness, and the dictionary of terms related to flowers is enchanting.
Diffenbaugh, herself a foster parent, brings honesty and truth to a difficult subject in our society today. And yet, through the language of the flowers, she bares to us a painful yet beautiful love experienced on two levels — parental and romantic loves.
First-time novelists are one of my favorite sources of good reads, and I can truthfully say that this is my favorite first-time writer since The Help came out. There is little to compare between the two, other than the fact that each author has stepped out, taken the risk of telling uncomfortable stories about our society, both past and present.