Throughout the Victorian Era, flowers were used to express romantic sentiments, including honeysuckle for devotion, aster for patience and red roses for love, according to Random House.
But in Vanessa Diffenbaughâ€™s debut novel â€œThe Language of Flowers,â€ the main character Victoria Jones uses this flowery symbolism to express feelings of sadness, mistrust and loneliness.
Diffenbaugh is speaking at the Hilton on Prospect Road tonight at 7 p.m. The event is free and will conclude with a book-signing and sales.
â€œ(The novel) is about someone who has really never been loved and who learns to love and trust again,â€ Diffenbaugh said of her New York Times Bestseller. â€œItâ€™s a really good balance between intense, dark, difficult topics (and a) really beautiful soft side.â€
â€œThe reader can enter a really dark world without feeling overwhelmed,â€ she added.
The story follows Victoria, an 18-year-old who was just emancipated from the foster care system. She finds herself with nowhere to go and ends up sleeping in a public park and planting her own flower garden there.
Jamie Ford, the author of â€œHotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweetâ€ said the novel is â€œa deftly powerful story of finding your way home, even after youâ€™ve burned every bridge behind you. â€˜The Language of Flowersâ€™ took my heart apart, chapter by chapter, then reassembled the broken pieces in better working condition.â€
Victoriaâ€™s skills with flowers are recognized by a local florist, and she learns that she can powerfully communicate with and help people through the flowers she gives to them.
â€œThe flower element came naturally with the story, so I just went with it,â€ Diffenbaugh said.
According to a book review by Janet Maslin in The New York Times titled â€œA bouquet of petals and thorns, all defined with meticulous precision,â€ â€œThe overriding emotional message of â€˜The Language of Flowersâ€™ has to do with family. Victoria desperately wants one. But she thinks that she is too damaged to learn how to love.â€
In addition to her love of writing, Diffenbaughâ€™s inspiration for the story came from being a foster parent for more than five years.
Her foster children are older now; one currently lives in Colorado Springs and another attends New York University. But she said theyâ€™re still very much part of her family.
The novel, which came out in 2011 and includes an appendix consisting of a flower dictionary, is currently printed in 40 translations.
â€œI was shocked (about the selling success of the novel),â€ Diffenbaugh said. â€œIt was quite a thrill that it sold so well.â€
She also said she is excited to come to Fort Collins tonight because she grew up in Chico, a college town in northern California.
â€œIt think Fort Collins will have a very similar feel,â€ she said. â€œItâ€™ll feel a lot like going home.â€
Entertainment Editor Courtney Riley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What: An evening with author Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Where: Hilton Fort Collins, 425 W. Prospect Road
When: Tonight at 7 p.m., doors will open at 6:30 p.m.
More information: www.events.colostate.edu