Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Forbidden Orchid

The Forbidden Orchid
By Sharon Biggs Waller
Viking Books for Young Readers, 2016. 416 pgs. Young Adult

Elodie Buchanon lives in a small English village, where she cares for her frail mother and nine younger sisters. Her father, a famous naturalist, spends most of the year exploring the globe in search of rare flowers. Elodie shares his passion for botany and adventure, but Victorian society demands that she remain at home and give up her interest in orchids. When her father refuses to return to his family after a mysterious tragedy, Elodie embarks on a journey that takes her around the world to save him.

Maybe I’ve just been in a good reading mood lately, but I really enjoyed The Forbidden Orchid. I had a little trouble getting into it at first, but once I switched from the print version to the audiobook, it was smooth sailing. Elodie is a likeable character who is an interesting mix of traditional and adventurous, and I felt like reader Katherine McEwan was a great choice for her voice. I enjoyed watching Elodie grow throughout the story, and I was fascinated by the thorough historical detail about nineteenth century China and England. A leisurely-paced but interesting YA historical novel from the author of A Mad, Wicked Folly.

SR

1 comment:

AJ said...

Elodie Buchanon lives in a small English village, where she cares for her frail mother and nine younger sisters. Her father, a famous naturalist, spends most of the year exploring the globe in search of rare flowers. Elodie shares his passion for botany and adventure, but Victorian society demands that she remain at home and give up her interest in orchids especially because they are considered too stimulating for an innocent young woman. When her father refuses to return to his family after a mysterious tragedy in China, Elodie embarks on a journey that takes her around the world to save him. Along the way, she meets Alexander Balashov, a young Russian man who has seen the harsh realities of life up close and Ching Lan, a young Chinese woman facing similar restrictions in her own culture.

While I enjoyed watching Elodie grow throughout the story, I was extremely fascinated by the descriptions of China and England in the 19th century. Especially England’s obsession to find new plant species, the harsh realities of the opium trade, and early forms of environmental activism.