The Language of Fans and Flowers ~ Sandra Owens

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Fan 3



She touched her fan to her heart and rested it there. Her message was as clear as day—My love for you is breaking my heart—and he let the regret show in his eyes before he turned back to his betrothed.




Consider that akin to texting in the Victorian era. When doing research for my historicals, I came across articles on the language of fans and was fascinated by the different messages that could be sent between lovers simply by the use of a fan. All I could think was, how cool was that?!! Of course, as the hero was fanless, he could only respond by body language or a certain look in his eyes. But rest assured, he understood what his love interest was signaling and knew exactly how to respond. Maybe he wanted her interest in him, or maybe he didn’t. That’s what stories are made of.

Fan Image

Here’s some fan placements and their meanings:

When may I see you? A closed fan touched to the right eye.

Do not betray our secret. Covering the left ear with an open fan. (Bet that one was used a lot.)

Fan 1

We are being watched. Half-opening the fan over the face.

I love another. Twirling the fan in the right hand. (Now there’s a sad one.)

I see that you are looking at another woman. Passing the fan from hand to hand. (Uh oh)

You may kiss me. Half-opened fan pressed to the lips. (I would have this one memorized, for sure.)

I belong to you. Dropping the fan. (I love this one so much.)

There are more fan messages if you’re interested. All you have to do is Goggle fan language. Although I didn’t end up using any of my fan research in either THE TRAINING OF A MARQUESS or THE LETTER, I would love to write a book where the hero and heroine use her fan to flirt their forbidden love. Maybe some day….

Fan 2




Then there is the language of flowers. Interestingly enough, I did use what I learned from my historical research in my contemporary novel, CRAZY FOR HER, the first in a five book series of the men of K2 Special Services. My heroine, a Regency romance author, gave flowers to her husband and their friend, Logan Kincaid, as they readied to board a plane for Afghanistan.



Because she knew the meaning of flower colors from her research, on the day he left on deployment, Dani Prescott gave her husband, Evan, a red rose, signifying that she loved him. It was the last time she would ever see him.


To Logan Kincaid she gave a yellow rose, telling him he was a cherished friend by both her and Evan.Rose 1 Little did she know then that she and Logan would have to deal with their grief of her losing a husband and him a best friend, and that only love would heal them.



White roses can signify both new beginnings and are also a gesture of remembrance. They say “I’m thinking of you,” whether as a hello or a goodbye. Pink roses are for when you have something important to say. They are a token of your admiration and appreciation.

Rose Kitten


Although this picture has little relation to anything above, there are roses, and I’m a sucker for anything with a kitten in it.



A (very) short excerpt from CRAZY FOR HER.

Crazy For Her Cover“Your bathroom is fantastic. Two of mine would fit in here,” Dani said, looking around. “What’s that?” She walked to the decorative shelves filled with mementos of his travels.

Logan watched her pick up the frame. Crushed between two pieces of glass was the rose she’d given him before his last deployment. Would she remember? She had met them at the base with two roses, a red one for Evan and a yellow one for him.

“In the time period I write about, the colors had meaning. Yellow is for friendship,” she’d said, and handed it to him, following the gesture up with a sisterly hug and a kiss on the cheek. “Keep Evan safe for me,” she’d whispered.

He had held his yellow rose of friendship, standing awkwardly by when she told Evan that red signified love before throwing herself in his arms. That night Logan had pressed the flower between the pages of a book and carried it to Afghanistan and back.

Maybe if she’d given her husband the yellow one and whispered in his ear, it would have been Evan who returned to her. Logan wished to God it had been so because he loved both of them with every fiber of his being and every beat of his sorry heart.

What would Evan say about her standing naked in Logan’s bathroom after being thoroughly loved by his best friend? Because she was magnificent, every single part of her, and she’d never been meant for the likes of him.

The guilt he thought he’d banished returned with the force of a desert storm. What right did he have to love Evan’s wife? He turned off the shower and walked out of the room, through his bedroom, and onto the deck.

A hard rain battered him and he welcomed the beating. It was no less than he deserved.

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Question – I find fan language to be incredibly sexy, and any one of the above meanings would inspire me to write a book. Which of the examples would you use to base a story around?

Trivia Question: What color rose did Dani give to Logan? Enter your answer here

Follow Victoria Vane:

Romance Novelist

VICTORIA VANE is an award-winning author of smart and sexy romance with works ranging from wild comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance. Her books have received more than twenty awards and nominations to include the 2014 RONE Award for Treacherous Temptations and Library Journal Best E-Book romance of 2012 for The Devil DeVere series. She lives the beautiful upstate of South Carolina with her husband, two sons, a little black dog, and an Arabian horse.

16 Responses

  1. Hanny

    Jeez, Sandra! You did it again. After reading the letter in The Letter, it took me a time to read farther. Now you start with the ‘breaking-my-heart’-part, and I’m lost! Please write a story with that part in it. Please!

    I kind of fell in love with Logan, but he’s Dani’s now (beautiful, lovely, loving couple!), so I need a new man in my life!

  2. Sandra Owens

    LOL, Hanny. You’re right, Logan is Dani’s — heart, body, and soul. So you liked that first paragraph? I do too, and who knows, I just might write another historical with that part in it. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, my friend.

    • Sandra Owens

      Oh, I completely agree with you, Violetta. Not a fan of texting, and it’s not nearly as beautiful as a pretty fan positioned just so to send a message.

  3. ginaconkle2013

    Hi Sandy,
    Thanks for the romantic post. I remember my mom telling me about the color of roses having different meanings. But, the fan messages!! A fan going from hand to hand is like a rolling pin in another era.

    Great excerpt too! 🙂

  4. JoannaM

    Gina, I’m at work and I couldn’t stop from laughing at your rolling pin comment LOL.
    My mom is a super fan of … well, fans, especially during the Summer and I find that extremely feminine but I’ve always been too lazy to carry one around with me. However, after reading this post I’m determined to bring fans back to fashion, at least in my family, and will start learning the secret language. How fun!

    • Sandra Owens

      Carol, it would be so much fun to have a historical begin with nothing but fan language between the H/h. I wonder how long you could go with that before you had to throw some conversation in?

  5. debloumac

    I always knew there was “fan” talk, but didn’t know there was so much. This has got my interest. I’ll have to google it.