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October 23, 2022

Lavender House by Lev A. C. Rosen ~ a Review

by MK French

In 1952, matriarch Irene Lamontaine passes away. Her recipes for her soap empire are hidden within the Lavender House, an estate where people are free to be who they truly are and not hide it. In order to do so, they've needed to keep others out; this means they may be harboring a killer. Irene’s widow hires Evander Mills to uncover the truth behind her mysterious death. Andy, recently fired for being gay, jumps at the opportunity and safety of this queer family. He is soon a pawn in a family game of old money, subterfuge, and jealousy—and Irene’s death is only the beginning.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of mystery novel Lavender House by Lev A.C. Rosen
October 2022; Forge Books; 978-1250834225
audio, ebook, print (288 pages); mystery

Though this family is free to be who they truly are within the house, that also makes it a prison. They can't hold hands with their loved ones, see a movie or go out to eat as a couple, or even do ordinary things like grocery shopping. We take that for granted, though this is still a reality for some queer couples now. It was certainly the way of the world in 1952. Andy is hit hard by the reveal of his sexuality, but that doesn't put a damper on his actual investigative skills. This book is described as similar to "Knives Out," which should tell you a lot about how the book progresses once Andy knows it was indeed murder.

This is a noir style murder mystery, one that drew me in. Andy really is good at what he does, and continually keeps an open mind. The real fear of everyone in the house, the reasons why they might have done it and why they wouldn't have, all increases the tension as the novel progresses. It wraps up neatly and with hope for the future, that ultimately people can and will continue taking care of each other. Legal justice could never be served in this situation, but family endures, and we know the truth. 

Buy Lavender House at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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