The Language of Flowers is such a bittersweet book. I read it in just a few days. Victoria Jones is the main character, and the the chapters go back and forth between her life in the present as an 18 year old recently emancipated foster child and her time with the only foster mother she ever felt accepted by. Victoria was such an authentic, multidimensional character. I loved learning about the Victorian "language" and meanings for flowers. There is even an index of flowers in their meanings in the back of the book. I enjoyed this book so much I sought out further information on the author, which is not something I often do. I loved to find that she is a foster mother herself and has adopted one of her foster children.
This is the first Sri Hustvedt book i have read. It is the story of a poet and professor, Mia. She is goes through a "pause" with her husband of 30 years, who moves in with a French coworker. Mia subsequently has a breakdown and is institutionalized for a bit, and then moves to a house near her mother in MN to recuperate and teach a poetry class to middle school girls. Her relationships with her mother and her mother's friends in her retirement home are explored, as are her relationships with her students and her neighbor. I found her to be a talented writer and I really enjoyed it. Mia, the main character was easy to relate to and very human. It was like no novel I have read before, less than two hundred pages and with no real suspense or climax at the end, though it was tied up neatly enough.
The book had a good premise and started out well. I enjoyed Amanda's relationships with her mother and best friend Stephanie. Things took a really abrupt turn in the last few chapters, and it threw me off. I feel like the ending came a bit out of nowhere. I enjoyed the story overall, but definitely enjoyed the first half of the book more than the last half.
I read Celbutantes, the prequel to Beneath a Starlet Sky, and really enjoyed it. This book did not live up to its predecessor. I had to force myself to read past the first few chapters. It picked up, but not enough. I think the characters lacked development, which made it hard to keep up with who was who. I keep up with celebrity gossip and info, and found those parts both enjoyable and entertaining. This is not a book I would recommend to friends, even for a light beach read.
As a woman who has been in an unconventional marriage for 9 years, I found this book to be very inspiring. I enjoyed reading different people's stories, including their trials and tribulations and how they made it work despite them. I found the message to be that different people have different priorities and when it comes down to it you must make yourself happy, whether or not your marriage is in a good place. I recommend this book.