This middle grade, magical realism debut about a young girl who sets out to discover the truth behind her mother’s disappearance is The Secret Garden meets the Book Scavenger series!
Floralie Laurel, freshly expelled from Mrs. Coffrey’s School for Young Girls, works as a flower seller in an English village with her guardian brother, Tom, miles and miles away from their real home in France. Tom and Floralie are drowning in debt, but fortunately, Grandmama arrives to save them. Unfortunately, Grandmama’s idea of “saving” means sending Floralie to the Adelaide Laurel Orphanage for Unfortunate Children and shaping her into a proper lady-i.e., ridding her of imagination, daydreams, paintings, and poetry.
Before Grandmama can take her away, Floralie discovers a hidden box of dried flowers and a letter from her mother, who had mysteriously disappeared years ago. The letter promises that the flowers will lead Floralie to Mama if Floralie decodes them with a floriography—a dictionary of flower meanings—written by Claude Monet’s gardener.
Accompanied by an orphan boy who speaks only on paper, a blind librarian, and a thieving dormouse, Floralie sets off for Monet’s house in France to find Mama. But Mama’s fate may not be quite as Floralie expected, and the gardener may be hiding secrets deeper than Monet’s water lily ponds….