Six of us gathered on a hot and muggy afternoon in June to discuss this interesting novel. Among us there was a speech therapist, a social worker, a teacher, a dietician, a stay-at-home mom, and an editor, so we had quite a lot of experience with which to relate (or not) to the characters and story.
WARNING: SPOILERS MIGHT APPEAR HERE!
We all agreed that the main character, Victoria, was difficult to like, but that liking her was not a prerequisite for liking the book. The book’s main themes were forgiveness and second chances.
We all thought the author’s use of alternating chapters to tell the story from both the current time and the past was effective. The story lines supported each other well and we did not feel as if we left hanging at the end of each chapter.
Selena spoke about Victoria’s attachment disorder, which was a fascinating perspective considering how outraged we all were when reading how she left her infant alone. Viewing it from a psychological standpoint was very diverting.
Would we have been as forgiving of Victoria as some of the characters in the novel? We thought not, which brought in some welcome comic relief. As for her action at the vineyard, we concluded that she was still a child and spite is not the same as meanness.
One of our favorite parts of the book was the moment in the library when Victoria realized there was more than a single meaning for each flower. What a revelation, but also somewhat of a betrayal, that must have been for her!
Janelle thought Victoria’s wedding flower business was a neat idea, and also thought it was nice that she employed other foster girls.
One great comment was that Victoria’s character (and I think, the book in general) was more cognitive than emotional. I can’t agree more; although the interaction between the other characters was driven by trust, love, and forgiveness (or lack thereof), Victoria herself displays a distinct lack of emotions. That makes it very difficult to relate to her, which turns us off as readers.
Another thought, this time from China, was that the backstory itself was compelling and that several individual stories would have been interesting on their own. That especially included the early rivalry between Elizabeth and her sister.
Overall, our votes averaged a 3 out of 5 for this novel. Not a favorite but interesting enough to warrant a great discussion.
FTC Disclosure: I have an affiliate relationship with Amazon.com. Some of the links in this post may go to their site. If you purchase something using that link, I may receive a small compensation. I am never paid to review books and am always brazenly honest (ask my husband). Thank you!
I was so glad to be able to attend the first meeting of a new book club a few days ago. On the Same Page: Ladies Book Club was organized by Lisa to be a small and intimate group, much like one she enjoyed where she used to live.
We met at Wine 101 in Helotes, a charming shop with a knowledgeable staff and a nice offering of wines and great hors d’oeuvre platters. Six of us chose a generous glass of wine and relaxed to discuss plans for the new club.
Lisa explained her plan and we were all allowed input; everyone had great ideas and they were all incorporated. We want to read one book a month; choose them from a small batch of possibilities by picking from a hat; and a different member leads the questions each meeting. We talked about limits to membership, too, an unfortunate necessity in order to keep the group manageable.
We chose “The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh as our first month’s book. It’s a good choice according to many others and includes discussion questions. I’ve now received my copy and am looking forward to it!
We had another great group today and some really interesting books were shown. I really like the format of this group. There’s no pressure to read a particular book by a deadline. Everyone simply brings a book or two that they’ve read and introduces it to the gang, tells us if they liked it or not, and most of the time will offer to give it away to the first taker.
The meetup today included a good mix of men and women, several new members, and genres covered fiction and non-fiction, although novels and mysteries were predominant.
Today I attended a great book group with which I hope to continue. San Antonio Book Lovers Meetup* held their monthly Book Swap & Gab Session at La Madeleine, and my friend Margaret Ann went with me to see what it was like.
We were met by the Meetup organizer, newly-appointed Bill, who did a great job as head honcho. Bill showed us the name tags (“Hello, My Name Is…”) and the entries for the door prizes (Yay!), and took the roll as we arrived. When the meeting started, he introduced himself and told us newbies about the group. He introduced Assistant Organizer Jane, who laid down the guidelines of the gatherings, all quite informal but definitely rewarding. This group has experience and it showed.
Each person brought at least one and mostly several books to discuss and share. We all rose and introduced ourselves and the books, gave a synopsis of the volumes and told whether we liked it or not. Some explanations were longer than others, of course, but all were interesting. It was an extremely varied group: from non-fiction to steampunk, each presenter gave a short description and opinion.
Often, by the time a presenter was done discussing the book, another group member would raise a hand and ask to try the book. It was a wonderful way to swap, and although I brought two books with me, I came home with three. What a deal!
I’m looking forward to the next meeting in February. Thank you to the group for making me and Margaret Ann so welcome today, and thanks to Margaret Ann for accompanying me. (She won a door prize!)
*If you’re not familiar with Meetup, it’s a wonderful way to find others near you who are interested in the same things, and to meet them in person at group get-togethers, or “meetups”. There is literally something for everyone at Meetup, from vocations to hobbies to fitness to culture and everything in between. You search by interest to find Meetups nearby. You’re then able to see a list of other members and connect online. If you don’t find one — create one yourself!