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Hothouse Flower: and the Nine Plants of Desire

3.41  ·  Rating Details ·  1,564 Ratings  ·  385 Reviews
Lila Nova is a thirty-two year-old advertising copyrighter who lives alone in a plain, white box of an apartment. Recovering from a heartbreaking divorce, Lila’s mantra is simple: no pets, no plants, no people, no problems. But when Lila meets David Exley, a ruggedly handsome plant-seller, her lonely life blossoms into something far more colorful.
From the cold, harsh str
Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 1st 2010 by Vintage (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Oct 05, 2015 Tejchy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jennifer Defoy
I picked up this book only because the title sounded interesting. I didn't read any reviews on it, nor did I read through the description. They say not to judge a book by it's cover, but I did, and I'm happy.

This was a very good book. It has love, romance, lust, greed, passion, death, spirituality, and just about everything else. For a debut novel, I'd say that Margot Berwin did a great job. She's left me with high expectations for her next novel.

The story takes place in New York and Mexico, t
Aug 17, 2009 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Um - the author was obviously smoking her favorite sensimilla bud when writing this. As far as I know, rattlesnakes don't live in wet damp jungles. They don't dance 6 feet tall in the air like cobras. They don't get as big as pythons. Scorpions don't feast on human blood or lurk in grass in numbers that make you have to "tiptoe". I could go on. I still rated this a three because she gets credit for lots of imagination and a fun plot. I have a better appreciation for orchids (I a...more Um - the ...more
Jul 30, 2010 Eva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When you pick up this book, turn off your reality meter. Nothing in here is anything like real-life, except maybe the introductions to the plants at the beginning of each chapter. Ready?

Lila Grace Nova is a 30 something, newly divorced, advertising exec in New York City. Her very empty new apartment needs a little decorating, so she goes to the open air market in search of a plant. She meets the decidedly sexy and mysterious David, the Plant Man, who sells her a Bird of Paradise. He keeps her co
Nina Draganova
Sep 24, 2016 Nina Draganova rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Меко казано странна е историята.
Пълна с магия,шамани.
Едновременно с това и много интересна и любопитна информация.
На места ми беше и скучна.На други имаше прояви на хумор.
Приключенска бих я нарекла.И шантава :)

"Повярвай ми, когато опознаеш себе си, никога няма да поискаш да се преструваш, че си някой друг. Защото да си себе си е по-прекрасно от всичко, на което можеш да се престориш, за което си мечтал, което можеш да си представиш или в което можеш да се превърнеш."
"Хората не вярват на истината
Oct 31, 2010 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
My friend Staci asked if I wanted to read this book and I said I would. She has to sent it to someone, so I had to get reading it. I thought I would like it from her review, but I wasn't sure.

From the cover it looks kind of like a Better Homes and Gardens kind of book or something. I knew it was about plants, and I was unsure about how plants could be sensual.

Lila finds Exley in a plant stand in town. She ends up buying a bird of paradise plant from him. After that, she sees a plant that really
Shellie (Layers of Thought)
Sep 12, 2009 Shellie (Layers of Thought) rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: mystcial and magical realism lovers - mexico setting lovers
The original review for this book is posted at Layers of Thought. There is also a giveaway for it there that ends October 3rd - 2010 for the US and Canada.

A “trip” into the realistic yet magical where an urbanite discovers herself in the rain forest of Mexico. It’s city girl goes jungle Jane with consciousness altering plants.

About: Lila is from NYC. She is in her thirties and cynical as well as wounded from her recent divorce. She has sworn off men and most attachments - “no pets, no plants, no
Feb 21, 2017 Heidi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an odd story. I really enjoyed how different this was. I listened to it on audio. Magical realism, botany, adventure, romance. I REALLY appreciated a male/female FRIENDSHIP with no romantic weirdness! That never seems to happen.
Sep 01, 2012 Linda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well, this book took me by surprise. I was expecting a chick-lit light-weight break from my heavier reading. Instead, this book seems to be an attempt at doing Carlos Castaneda's Don Juan material, or James Redmond's Celestine Prophecies, except with a young NY career woman protagonist and ethnobotany.

As in the Celestine Prophecies and similar books, the characters here are shadowy two-dimensional creatures for whom I could find not interest. They are prone to quoting what seem to be encyclopedi
Mar 06, 2010 jacqs rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
There were a few good insightful paragraphs toward the end about the main character being desperate for any man who comes along. I also enjoyed some of the ethnobotanical information about the nature of the 9 plants, particularly how cannabis is tortured to make it produce resin. However... most of the first section, in NY, is filled with bad dialogue and nothing happening. Much of the second section, in Mexico, is as randomly surreal as Kafka. It was an attempt at magical realism, trying to ble ...more
Aug 15, 2009 Rachel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure why I'm giving this 2 stars instead of one - but it probably wasn't the story that was so bad as much as the characters. I HATED the girl in the book. So much of what she did or said was just idiotic. I didn't connect with any of the characters even a little bit, which was disappointing.

The plant thing might have been cool but it seemed like it was trying too hard to be mystical and, again, I just didn't connect. But I confess I did google a plant or two to learn about their mystic
Aug 01, 2009 Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Thought it was brilliant. I have absolutely no interest in plants and gardening and yet this books so effectively integrated them into a story about life and love and the quest for self. If you have any interest in life, love, mysticism, or gardening you must read this book.
Jun 13, 2010 Staci rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Staci by: Diane-Bibliophile by the Sea/TLC
Shelves: 2010-reads
Descriptive Words: steamy, informative, magical, quirky, sexual, thought-provoking,

Why I wanted to read this book:

* I wanted to be on this tour because Diane @ Bibliophile by the Sea read this book earlier this year and loved it to pieces. After finishing I was absolutely in her camp!!

What worked for me:

* I loved all of the mythical folklore surrounding plants. I have never looked at any flower and thought any deeper about it than the color of the petals and the sweet smell it evokes. This bo
Andrea Dowd
Oct 01, 2009 Andrea Dowd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beware when you read this book, it will suck you in and make you do things that are unstoppable.

"Hothouse Flower" is a story of Lila, an ad girl, newly single in NYC. On a whim, she buys a tropical plant from a man and unwittingly begins the journey that will change her life. Lila starts to connect herself to people and living things in ways that she has never done. Upon meeting Armand, a laundromat owner who also grows exotic plants, matter-of-factly dives into her soul.

Feeling greed and a rele
Jun 15, 2009 Bailey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book had me genuinely excited. From first scanning the summaries, I could see it would have a fresh and unique plot and that showed itself throughout the whole book. However, about half-way through the book, the unique morphed into bizarre.
Lila, a depressed divorcee, living in New York, stumbles upon rare and exotic plants and finds a love in nurturing for them. (since she has no people in her life to love now) These plants bring her into the company of David, Armand and the nine plants of
Apr 09, 2012 Margaret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not what I expected. In looking for an audio book for my daily commute I found this little gem which was categorized as a romance. I think the publisher had to squeeze it in somewhere, although it does contain some, not romance really; at least not at first.

At first you have a main character who is so desperate to be in a relationship she doesn't look beyond the superficial masks that are people's public faces. This book is as full of cautionary tales as any volume of "Grimm's Fair
Jul 27, 2009 Kori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lila Nova finds herself fascinated with plants after buying a Bird of Paradise from a handsome plant man at NYC's Green Market. Walking home one evening, she spies a very rare fern hanging in a window and stumbles upon a strange laundromat housing a tropical paradise. Armand, the owner of the wacky laundry, gives Lila a cutting from the Fire Fern and tells her that, if she can coax it to grow roots, he will show her the 9 mythical plants of desire he has locked in the back room. Unfortunately, L ...more
An uneasy mix of magical realism and older chick lit, I think. Starts off intriguingly when Lila Nova, an ad writer and new divorcee in New York, meets David Exley, a handsome plant salesman in the green market. She becomes enchanted with the world of tropical plants, and when she walks past a steamy, magical looking, plant-filled laundromat with a rare fern in the window, she is drawn inside. The sage-like proprietor, Armand, tells her he has the mythical "nine plants of desire" locked away in ...more
Chris Kaake
I wasn't expecting chic lit when I bought this based on an Entertainment Weekly review. Even as chick lit, it's weak. I have enjoyed shopaholic novels and Bridget Jones, but this heroine is weak the people around her are insulting and degrading, and then she continually proves them right! I'm not a stickler for likeable characters, but this is just going too far. I almost want her to fail just because she isn't learning anything and doesn't seem to deserve everything that is promised to the pers ...more
Jul 20, 2009 GoldenjoyBazyll rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: new-age, fiction
Plant magic... mystery... adventure...spirituality.... all can be found in Hothouse Flowers and the Nine Plants of Desire. Yes, it is fiction but what a tale! When I got divorced I should have bought a bird of paradise and taken flight! ;) Ha, just laugh.

I love the use of plants- with the medicinal and magical explainations- which are woven into this tale of discovery.

Fire Fern
Mandrake Root
Lilly of The Valley

Take the adventure to find the final two!
Mary (BookHounds)
Aug 25, 2009 Mary (BookHounds) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book
If you like weird, you won't be able to put this book down. After reading it, I thought this reminds me a lot of the first time I read a Christopher Moore book. It was completely different from anything I have read lately. I don't know whether to classify this as a romance, chick lit, or what. It just such a pleasure to read something unique. Although the story is a pretty basic "finding yourself" book, the different quests Lila undertakes are something wonderful.
Meh. Good enough for the car. Mindless entertainment about a New York divorcee who goes to Mexico in search of the nine plants of desire... because the original one's were stolen from a laundromat. Yes.

Some of the botanical descriptions were mesmerizing, but it's a shaky narrative at best. Uneven plot and flat characters (Lila was obnoxious and insecure throughout) don't make me want to recommend this to many people.
Jun 24, 2013 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Oscillated between enjoying the book and feeling like giving up on it. The constant "question and answer" format of so much of the dialogue started to really annoy me, and I wished that Lila had been able to take a more active role in what happened to her.
Jun 25, 2010 Lori rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book started out so strong, and was very intriguing, for the first 1/3 of the novel. Then it started to degenerate... by the end I was so glad it was over! This author has read waaaay too much Carlos Castenada, but doesn't have the skill to parlay that into a successful and interesting book.
Jul 20, 2009 Jen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Picked this up at the library without knowing anything about it. Kind of an odd book - the plot pulls you along, and it's fun learning about tropical plant lore, but it reads thin, as though the structure was put in place but never really fleshed out. Very quick read.
Nov 20, 2016 Bachyboy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a strangely delightful book! A young divorcee buys a hot house plant and learns from the seller and the local laundrette owner the mysteries and powers of plants. Set in New York and Mexico, the book enters a world of spirit animals and sexy pot plants, ha ha. Intriguing.....
Mar 11, 2011 behmaria rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2010, 1-star
Não gostei do livro em absoluto. Parti de uma sinopse que me cativou e deparei com um livro em que as personagens se perdem, em que a fantasia se mistura com a realidade de uma forma inconsistente e superficial. Não em agradou a previsibilidade do desenrolar dos acontecimentos.
Jul 18, 2009 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chicklit
Made me look at my plants in a whole new light. Cute, somewhat predictable, but a nice, light read. It was the perfect book to take with me to Key West this weekend.
Mar 28, 2013 Sonia189 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much better than what I imagined.
Apr 24, 2010 Lori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was fast-paced, very sexy and highly entertaining. Loved it!
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Margot Berwin earned her MFA from the New School in 2005. Her stories have appeared on, in the New York Press, and in the anthology The Future of Misbehavior. She worked in advertising for many years and lives in New York City.
Her first novel Hothouse Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire was published in 2009 by Pantheon. Her new novel, SCENT OF DARKNESS, also by Pantheon is coming out
More about Margot Berwin...

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“Plants need roots because they can't move on their own. Their roots serve them well, stopping them from getting blown all over the place by the wind. But we humans can move around at will, and our roots hold us in place unnecessarily. Usually in a place we don't want to be. Then, when we try to move, we rip our roots, and it hurts, so we end up staying right where we are.” 14 likes
“What a strange place, I thought. If I look up everything is so clear and beautiful, and if I look down, everything is so dangerous and ugly. I wished I could keep my head in the sky, but the scorpions brought me back to reality. Or was the sky the reality?” 5 likes
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