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A Victorian Flower Dictionary: The Language of Flowers Companion Hardcover – September 20, 2011


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A Victorian Flower Dictionary: The Language of Flowers Companion + The Language of Flowers: A Novel
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 187 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (September 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780345532862
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345532862
  • ASIN: 0345532864
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,975 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mandy Kirkby is an editor and a flower enthusiast. She lives in Cambridge, England.


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Customer Reviews

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It is insightful, useful and beautifully illustrated.
Camille R
I love love loved the book "The Language of Flowers", and had to have this dictionary to continue reading more about the Victorian meanings given to the flowers.
Amazon Customer
I ordered this book after reading "The Language of Flowers".
Jean Turicik

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Mickey on December 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Nineteenth century Victorians had a connection with flowers unlike any period before them. Some referred to this phenomenon as an expression of sentimentalism. American gardeners of that time shared the same passion for flowers.
In this book Mandy Kirkby gives us a list of familiar flowers with a short history of each while noting the characteristic Victorians attributed to a particular flower.
For example, the Dahlia's meaning is that of dignity. It became a coveted flower for Victorians, especially in its now familiar ball shape. Kirby writes that "an upright bloom with a tightly packed sphere of petals, sitting straight and composed on its sturdy stem-the perfect flower representation of dignity."
Each discussion of the book's fifty flowers begins with a drawing of the flower in bright colors and perfect form.
Kirby is careful to present the historical context for each flower, highlighting when it first arrived in England from Asia, Africa, or South America.
The few pages devoted to each flower read in an easy style that captures the importance of a particular flower for the nineteenth century Victorian period. Kirby includes verses of poetry and song of that time that only strengthen the flower's cultural importance.
A bonus to the book is the Foreword by Vanessa Diffenbaugh whose debut novel The Language of Flowers has now appeared in over thirty countries.
We still love flowers today of course for special occasions, holidays, and celebrations. Kirby presents a book that enlightens this ongoing fascination with flowers.
Read this book. You are sure to find your favorite flower.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Diana F. Von Behren TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I recently finished reading Vanessa Diffenbaugh's novel "The Language of Flowers." The plot is both complicated and simplistic: a young girl who has been raised in the foster care system is crippled emotionally by repeated rejections. She pronounces herself an unloveable throw-away that has little hope of sustaining any type of meaningful relationship. Her love of all things floral affords her the ability to use flowers to communicate in an almost metaphysical code that finds root within the hearts and desires of the men and women to whom she sells her blooms. Like Tilo in The Mistress of Spices: A Novel, Victoria understands what her patients need but cannot help herself. Throughout the story, she uses flowers to speak for her and eventually compiles a compendium of flower photographs with their meanings. In "A Victorian Flower Dictionary," Mandy Kirkby presents a book of fifty flowers, complete with colored drawings of each bloom, the emotion it is meant to convey and a blurb that includes information about the plant itself and its citations in literature. In an appendix, she includes Vanessa Diffenbaugh's dictionary as compiled by Victoria, the fictional narrator of "The Language of Flowers." In as much as the book is nicely arranged as a sort of floral Wiki, I wonder how much of the language of flowers is subjective to the author of the dictionary.

In Samantha Gray's volume of the same theme and purpose, "The Secret Language of Flowers, many of the entries have different sentiments.
Read more ›
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Maria V. Tagliarino on October 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Whether you are interested in gardening, flowers in general or a Pastry Chef such as myself, this little book will prove to be most valuable! I came upon it when I was researching the Lambeth method of cake decorating and discovered that Kate Middleton of England went to her cake designer with this book and specifically chose flowers to adorn her and Prince William's wedding cake for a particular reason. The book arrived on time and in excellent condition! I would highly recommend this seller!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Beth Cummings VINE VOICE on December 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful companion to the novel, The Language of Flowers. Quaint illustrations and wonderful descriptions let the reader know what gifts of flowers meant in the 19th century. It's both a novelty and a valuable piece of information.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Barbara A. Kohn on December 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I often use flowers as an element of my oil paintings, and enjoy being able to include a bit of symbolism without being obvious. Very nice book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Virginia G. Crespo on February 24, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a lovely little book. However, I wanted more pictures of more flowers. I also would like a few more definitions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DMB on August 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read and enjoyed the novel "The Language of Flowers," I wanted to know more about the meanings assigned to flowers, so ordered this companion book. The Victorians "communicated" many emotional messages through the flowers they chose to give to others. I think it's a wonderful idea that can be used today. I'll never send anyone a bouquet again without looking up the flowers' meanings so that my "message" will be appropriate.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sarah on June 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this flower dictionary after reading "The Language of Flowers." My interest in floriography had been piqued by the novel and I was eager to memorize the meanings behind as many flowers as I could.
The book took about 12 days to reach me. I was excited to flip through the first 50 illustrated flowers, but parts of their descriptions lacked something. Rather than learning about the poetic meanings behind the flowers, I was informed of rather boring practises that took place hundreds of years ago. My only complaint would be such. Other than that, I adore the flower dictionary and use it regularly.
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