Monday, May 16, 2016

The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller

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Publication date: 2016
Publisher: Viking
Pages: 378
My rating: 4 stars
Ages: 14+

Elodie's father spends his time traveling the world to find new and interesting plants, coming home just once a year. But when more than a year goes by without hearing from him and Elodie's family is threatened with the workhouse, Elodie is determined to help them; even if it means that traveling across the world and ruining her reputation.

Waller does it again. This novel explores the world of the 1860s, including the Opium Wars, plant hunting, and the introduction of Darwin's theory of evolution. Waller obviously does her research, but her novels don't feel like a regurgitation of facts disguised as a novel.

Elodie's journey is full and interesting. The characters are complicated and have depth, even the ones we only meet once. The story drew me in so much that I finished the book in two days. I think that I like about Waller's books is that they are set in a part of history that I know about, but introduce things within it that I didn't know. I didn't know anything about plant hunting or how dangerous it was, or the positive reaction from religious men to Darwin's book. Then there are the main characters, who want a different world than the one they are used to and do something about it. Maybe they aren't the action heroes we've come to expect strong female characters to be, but they are the women who stood up for what they wanted.

No language, but some sexual instances.

*I do not receive compensation from Amazon.

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