Lavender House

- Lev A.C. Rosen

Goodreads Book Blurb:

Lavender House, 1952: the family seat of recently deceased matriarch Irene Lamontaine, head of the famous Lamontaine soap empire. Irene’s recipes for her signature scents are a well guarded secret—but it’s not the only one behind these gates. This estate offers a unique freedom, where none of the residents or staff hide who they are. But to keep their secret, they’ve needed to keep others out. And now they’re worried they’re keeping a murderer in.

Irene’s widow hires Evander Mills to uncover the truth behind her mysterious death. Andy, recently fired from the San Francisco police after being caught in a raid on a gay bar, is happy to accept—his calendar is wide open. And his secret is the kind of secret the Lamontaines understand.

Andy had never imagined a world like Lavender House. He’s seduced by the safety and freedom found behind its gates, where a queer family lives honestly and openly. But that honesty doesn’t extend to everything, and he quickly finds himself a pawn in a family game of old money, subterfuge, and jealousy—and Irene’s death is only the beginning.

When your existence is a crime, everything you do is criminal, and the gates of Lavender House can’t lock out the real world forever. Running a soap empire can be a dirty business.

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My Review:

***Thanks to NetGalley and Forge Books for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided.

almost perfect:
4.5/5
I requested this book because I saw it described somewhere as a queer Knives Out. I stand by not only this decision but this description.

The cast is full of complex, interesting characters who keep the mystery a nail-biter until the end. I loved that while the mystery was never far from the centre of attention, there were a lot of other things going on at the same time. Living a queer life in the 1950s was not easy, even in San Francisco. Lavender House may be a haven for this ‘family’, but this safety does not extend outside its boundaries.

I won’t spoil anything here, but if you’ve ever pictured a queer cozy mystery set in the ’50s, Lavender House is everything you were hoping for. Full of heartbreaking, honest moments, I thoroughly enjoyed this read.

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