Forbidden Orchid – book review

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Forbidden Orchid
by Sharon Biggs Waller
Historical Fiction
* * * * Stars (Great!)

Elodie Buchanan is the eldest of 10 daughters in a family that’s being torn apart by her plant collector father’s continued absence. Unspeakable things happened to him on his last trip to China and he remains haunted and broken in his apartment at Kew gardens. When his employer threatens to take everything they own to recoup his financial losses, Elodie must convince her father to return to China to find and collect the promised plants (a rare and intriguing species of orchid). Distressed by his appearance and mental state Elodie feels she must accompany him on his errand – an arduous journey by sea and into the remote Chinese wilderness. She stows away on his ship with the help of a Russian seaman, Alex, but her father is furious when Elodie is discovered. Once in China they are threatened at every turn by competitors who would just as soon see them dead. This well-researched, exciting adventure has a bit of everything – suspense, thrills, romance, history – as well as a smart, determined, female protagonist who is compelling in every way. Pair this with “The Orchid Thief” (Susan Orlean) for more orchid madness. An author’s note following the story provides more historical details.

Reviewed by YA Librarian