This novel follows an 18 year old girl, fresh out of the foster care system, on her experiences in the lonely city of San Francisco. Victoria Jones has just turned 18, which means she is no longer tied down to the state's foster care system. Although this step in one's life is terrifying, and life changing, Victoria greets the information of her release with apathy. Running away from the home she was put in after her first 3 months of free living were up, Victoria find herself homeless and living in a park in San Francisco.
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Although she is miserable most of the time, Victoria finds solace in the tiny, secret garden she has set up in the park that she sleeps in. After about a week of roaming the hilly streets of the city, she finds a quaint flower shop nearby her park. After impressing the florist, Renata with her knowledge of flowers and their Victorian meanings, she is given a job.
One day, as Victoria and her employer are at the flower farmer's market, Victoria meets a flower seller that catches her eye. After communicating through various flowers' Victorian messages, the two agree to meet at a donut shop. Victoria is curt and rude when they first meet, but somehow Grant sees through her ravenous appetite, and inappropriate comments, and the two fall in love after a few meetings.
Soon Victoria is able to maintain a strong relationship with Renata, and the sweet woman is able to find a small place for Victoria to live, close to the shop. Renata also begins to put Victoria in charge of advising people about which flowers to buy for particular occasions, and as the flowers work their magic, Victoria's skills become known among Renata's frequent buyers.
After visiting Grant's flower farm several times, they finally discuss the elephant in the room: their history together. Through flashbacks in every other chapter, readers become privy to Victoria's experience with a foster mother, Elizabeth, and Elizabeth's sick sister, Catherine. Both Elizabeth and her sister are in the business of flower farming, and although they live extremely close to one another, they never talk. Catherine's young teenage son, Grant is also forbidden to talk to Elizabeth, or even see Victoria.
As a young, confused, and rebellious child, Victoria severely hurts Elizabeth when she ignites her flower farm, and burns away her hard earned plants. In the court discussion that assesses whether or not Victoria is a good fit to stay with her new foster mother forever, Elizabeth hurts Victoria back, and botches the case. Victoria is sent back to the orphanage, where she stays for the rest of her childhood years.
As readers begin to grow attached to Grant and Victoria's relationship, Victoria finds out that she is pregnant, and withholds the information from Grant. She loses contact with the love of her life, and completely shuts out Renata, the only other person who is able to help her, and care for her. When her daughter is born, Victoria is helpless. She has no idea how to take care of a baby, and she is eventually forced to allow Renata to help her.
Eventually, Victoria learns that Elizabeth is still living at the flower farm near Grant's. After two heartfelt apologies, and short-lived stubbornness, the two are able to get along once again, and Elizabeth is more than joyful to meet Victoria's daughter.
Victoria also makes amends to Grant, and as the novel closes, we see Victoria putting on a pretty dress and pearls, as she watches Elizabeth play with her daughter like a true grandmother, and smells the meal Grant is preparing for them. It is the quintessential happily ever after.
Best part of story, including ending:
For the first few dozen pages or so, I enjoyed the novel, and the stories progression, but not long after that, the story became too far fetched, predictable, and cliche for my taste. I didn't enjoy the ending at all because it felt very unrealistic. The last few chapters seemed rushed, and the loose ends were tied up a little too neatly.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene was when Victoria and her boss, Renata go to lunch together at a casual Mexican restaurant, and Victoria eats for herself and four other people. I feel like we've all been there, where we are beyond starving, and we don't care what people think of us -- we're gonna eat the rest of that; and are you gonna eat that?
Opinion about the main character:
I absolutely despised Victoria Jones' ingratitude throughout the entire novel. It is easy to see why someone who has lived in foster homes for most of their life would not readily pick up the skill of gratitude, yet after so many things swing in her favor in such a short period of time, you'd think she'd start focusing more on the positives in her life.