2011, Ballantine Books
HC $25.00 TPPL
my rating: 5 (I loved it, didn't want it to end)
Setting: Contemporary San Francisco and a vineyard and flower farm somewhere an hour and a half north of the Golden Gate Bridge.
1st sentence/s: "For eight years I dreamed of fire. Trees ignited as I passed the; oceans burned. The sugary smoke settled in my hair as I slept, the scent like a cloud left on my pillow as I rose. Even so, the moment my mattress started to burn, I bolted awake."
I read this book for a book group and became immediately enthralled. It was a delicious read. It was about a flawed foster child trying to figure out who and what and why she was, learning to trust...and love....and be part of a family. It takes place in contemporary San Francisco when Victoria turns 18, but occasionally goes back 8-10 years to the time she lived with Elizabeth, a single, vineyard owner, who planned to adopt Victoria. You know right from the start that something went terribly wrong during that time, but we don't discover exactly what it was until nearer the end of the book. There was a lot of information about flowers and the Victorian meanings of flowers, but it was all presented in a fascinating, interesting way so that even without a particular enjoyment of flowers it held my total attention. Victoria's plight includes self-chosen homelessness, growing plants in public parks in San Francisco, stealing (food and flowers and anything she needed), discovering her business savvy, and learning to trust herself and not always running away.
One word for Victoria: Bravo! Thanks goodness I have never had to feel any of the abandonement or anguish that she did.