The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

The Language of Flowers
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I’ve always believed that giving flowers meant something.  However, until I read this book, which explains the meaning of flowers that originated in the Victorian era, I had no idea how they could be used to communicate feelings.  Do flowers speak to us in this way ?  I really don’t know, but it’s nice to think so, and the author has wrapped this language into a wonderful story.

The Language of Flowers tells the story of Victoria, a girl who has never known the security of a real family or home, having been tossed around between foster homes as a child.  Switching between Victoria as a child and then as a young adult, the novel tells the story of her haunted past and how she came to love and understand this language of flowers, which eventually finds her love and happiness.  An easy read that was touching.

The Light of the World, A Memoir by Elizabeth Alexander

 

The Light of the World
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The book jacket states that Alexander writes “a lyrical celebration of a life well-lived.”  This is so true.  She beautifully illustrates the love she and her husband shared and the life they made together.  She also tells stories about her husband Ficre’s life (he was from Eritrea, in the Horn of Africa) as a chef and a painter.  Sadly, her husband died unexpectedly.  The story continues as she and her two sons slowly but surely make their way from grief to light.  The book is beautifully written and a fitting tribute to a wonderful and talented man.

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica

Pretty Baby
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This is a new author to me, and I really enjoyed her writing.  This book is a great psychological thriller.  You don’t have a clue what is going to happen or what happened until the author reveals more details as the story unfolds until the bitter end.  The story is told from the three point of views of the main characters.  Willow, Heidi, and Chris all tell their parts of the story, how they are feeling, what’s happening with them . I enjoy books written in this manner.

Heidi is a kind-hearted woman who is always taking in strays, so when she spots Willow (a homeless teenager with a baby), she takes her into home and offers her aid and kindness.   Heidi’s husband, Chris, and daughter, Zoe, are not too impressed.  Who is Willow?  Has Heidi done the right thing?  You wonder as you learn about the past history of Willow and the baby.   There are many underlying themes to the story as we learn the past of all the main characters.  I didn’t anticipate some of the twists.  If you enjoy thrillers, this is definitely a good choice.

We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

We Never Asked for Wings
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I’m always into trying new authors, and I did enjoy this novel.  The story dealt with problems immigrants in America face daily — their struggles to become a part of the American Dream and their hopes and fears.  The book had very realistic, multi-faceted characters.  The story centered on a woman named Letty who became a mother in her teenage years, but was never really involved in the upbringing of her children because her mother stepped in and took on the responsibility.  When Letty’s parents moved back to Mexico, she was forced to take over her children’s care and try to give them a better life so they wouldn’t make her mistakes.  An enjoyable and educational read.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Still Alice
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What a powerful book on such a tough subject.  You hear about Alzheimer’s Disease and you think older people.  This book, which has also been made into a movie, tells the story of a woman who is at the height of her career as a college professor when she is struck with this disease at the age of 50.  The author provides a really insightful and intuitive account of the world of early onset Alzheimer’s Disease, and how it takes your whole identity away.  It was really sad to read, but I finished it in three short days.  Definitely worth it.