the language of flowers

Jamie Ford (author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet) writes about Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s novel, The Language of Flowers:

“A deftly powerful story of finding your way home, even after you’ve burned every bridge behind you.  The Language of Flowers took my heart apart, chapter by chapter, then reassembled the broken pieces in better working condition.  I loved this book.”

You know,” Elizabeth said, “when I was six, I learned the only way to get my mother out of bed was to act out.  I behaved atrociously, just so that she would get up and punish me.  When I was ten, she tired of it and sent me to boarding school.  The same won’t happen with you.  Nothing you could do would make me send you away.  Nothing.  So you can go on testing me–hurling my mother’s silver around the kitchen, if that’s what you have to do–but know that my response will always be the same:  I will love you, and I will keep you.  Okay?”

I looked at Elizabeth, my body tight with suspicion, my breath lost in the steamy bathroom.  I didn’t understand her.  Shoulders tense, her sentences sharp and clipped, she spoke with a formality I’d never encountered .  Yet behind her words was an inexplicable softness.  Her touch, too, was different; the thorough way she cleaned my hands, without the heavy, silent burden in the actions of all my other foster mothers.  I didn’t trust it.


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