Hothouse Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire is the debut novel by Margot Berwin. It centers on, Lila, a 30-something advertising copywriter who finds herself starting over after a divorce. Like many who find themselves beginning anew she figures that her NYC apartment could use a houseplant, of course. Gardeners, houseplant growers in particular, will appreciate this light and fun read. If you find yourself predicating what will happen next it is not because the plotline is trite. It's because we (houseplant growers) have all been there before. We know that houseplants are gateway plants and they always come with dealers. Unscrupulous plant dealers. They are charming and full of information and they're willing to sell you plants that are more expensive after giving you a taste.
Hothouse Flower packs plenty of giggles and guffaws to entertain the self-aware indoor plant grower. Enough plant lore to keep the serious plantinista's brain involved. In addition, there is just enough steamy action for the non-gardener whose eyes may glaze over at the plant talk. Oh, and plenty of wacky characters.
Margot Berwin has created the literary equivalent of visiting a greenhouse in the middle of winter when you do not have any intention of buying a plant. You're just there because your want a respite from the cold, want to take in the scent of soil, plants and humidity to help you get through the winter. It is all the fun with none of the commitment of taking home a plant.
I have grown seven of the nine plants of desire in my time. Gloxinia, Mexican cycad, Moonflower, Lily of the Valley, Mandrake, Chicory and Datura.
Hothouse Flower is published by Random House and retails for $14.95. I received my copy of the book for free and neither the publisher or author compensated me for my review. If you purchase it through my link I'll get a small commission and you'll probably pay less than the suggested retail value.