Vanessa Diffenbaugh has written a beautiful coming of age debut novel weaving together the past and present life of Victoria Jones. The story opens as Victoria is emancipated from the California foster care system at age 18. Her story unfolds through alternating chapters of Victoria’s past and present life. Victoria survives abuse, neglect, and a life where she is shuffled between foster families and group homes. After her emancipation, Victoria must learn to survive on her own.
When Victoria was 10 she lived with Elizabeth, who planned to adopt her. Through a series of unfortunate events, Victoria leaves Elizabeth’s world and comes to think of herself as forever flawed. But, during her time with Elizabeth, Victoria learned Victorian-era language of flowers. It is through this language that Victoria begins to connect with the world and then to people who believe in her and are willing to give her a chance. From there, Victoria must decide if she is willing to trust and willing to change
I listened to the book and Tara Sand’s narration is excellent. This is a beautiful coming of age book that is sometimes hard to read, but beautiful nonetheless.