The Language of Flowers. Isn’t that an intriguing name for a book? Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s first novel is superb. She tells the story of a young women coming out into the world from foster care with no family, no home, no education, no job… She has a love and knowledge of flowers, which finds her a job and connects her to people. The story swings between her current life and a past life with a foster mother who wanted to adopt her.
The novel is probably classified as literary or women’s fiction. Not my first choice for reading, but this book is exceptional. Diffenbaugh grabs your attention (and your heart) and holds it from beginning to end.
Ingrid Thoft’s first novel, Loyalty, features Fina Ludlow, a gritty Private Investigator in Boston who is the black sheep in a family of ambulance chasing lawyers. The plot twists and turns starting with Fina looking for her missing sister-in-law. The streets of Boston felt very familiar to me having spent much of my life there. Good story, good plot, good settings, good characters, and the book kept my interest from beginning to end.
I discovered another witty writer, Martha Grimes. Even though she’s written over thirty books, she’s new to me. In The Way of All Fish she satirizes the publishing world. Her characters are distinct and exaggerated; ridiculing authors, agents, publishers, lawyers, “hit men,” and fish. The “hit men” are part of the good guy crowd and the agents, publishers, and lawyers are characters on both sides. At times it’s difficult to keep track of all the characters going in all directions, but the majority are headed for the same goal – a convoluted plot to make an unscrupulous agent back off from suing an innocent author. Lots of fun.