Monday, November 7, 2011

The Language of Flowers: A Miscellany by Mandy Kirkby and Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Genre: Companions & Novelties
Release Date: 03/12/2011
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Recieved from publisher
Price: RRP $24.99

A beautiful gift book celebrating the forgotten language of flowers.
"A flower is not a flower alone; A thousand thoughts invest it"
All over the world, flowers are an integral part of human culture whether it is the perfect table centre for a wedding, a beautiful bouquet for a birthday, a message of thanks, or to pay one's respect at a funeral. But, while everyone knows that red roses signify love, few may realise that an entire language of flowers exists with every bloom, folliage and plant having a particular emotion attached, be it hazel for reconcilliation, wisteria for welcome or ivy for fidelity.
This unique language was created by the romantic early Victorians who carefully planned every bouquet and posy so as to deliver a desired message. Bringing the language to a new generation, this beautifully illustrated miscellany contains fifty profiled flowers, a dictionary searchable by emotion, and ideas for creating bouquets and arrangements for specific occasions. This gift book is a novel present that any flower lover will want to own

The language of flowers is a beautifully illustrated guide to the language of flowers. It is the perfect gift for those who are interested in the language of flowers as well as fans of the novel 'The Language of Flowers' by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.

Firstly, may I note the beauty of the actual book itself. It is a hardback book with a faux cloth bound colver effect. It has a maroon coloured ribbon for the reader to keep their place. It also has nice thick smooth glossy pages and beautiful illustrations.

The book contains a foreword by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, detailed information on fifty featured flowers, emotional dictionary and flowers for special occasions. The detailed information on the fifty flowers includes a short history about the flower and it's meaning as well as a poem. A very victorian way to write a book about a victorian language. Sadly this only includes 50 flowers. So if you want a full dictionary of flowers listed as flowers (not as emotions) you will need your own copy of 'The Language of Flowers: the novel' by Vanessa Diffenbaugh so you can reference the glossary in the back of the novel. I think the most important flowers were mentioned in the 50 featured flowers.

This book however does list flowers by emotion. Having both books is like having both sets of cards mentioned in the novel. The emotion should be more important I think because it is what matters more than the look of the flower itself. I definitely think this book would be a handy way to bring back this ancient victorian art.

The 'Flowers for special occasions' section I found to be particularly useful. It shows flowers which can be suited to different purposes such as: weddings, births, illness, death etc. Some of these flowers could even be combined in a bouquet like in the novel. These all have nice headings and sub categories such as 'A posy for an older bride' and 'Flowers for a new mother'.

Overall I think this book was so cute and interesting. I think it will definitely have me trying to incorporate some of this new knowledge into my  life. I would definitely be interested in reading another volume about this subject now and think it's a great idea that there has been a miscellany created for a novel I loved. More authors should do this. I gave this book 4.5 stars. It would be nicer if it featured more flowers or showed me some interesting flower projects or something I could do. It was still pretty cool though.

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Morgan said...


Eesti said...

There's a certain flavour of magical realism in how Diffenbaugh uses the language of flowers. I've noticed some people dislike that, personally I love a little magic sprinkled into my fiction so I loved it.

Victoria's story is one of redemption, of learning to live and to love, of failure and forgiveness. It reads, to me, as a deeply personal work for the author, which is not surprising given her history of fostering and her involvement with The Camellia Network. This is not a light read - certainly not chick lit or a beach read. It is, however, a deeply involving novel which touched me deeply. Definitely one to at least give a chance to: and to return to my original point, one of which it is well worth downloading the sample.