Audiobook Review: Lavender House by Lev AC Rosen
Lev is an autobuy author and we were thrilled that he moved into the adult mystery space (seriously, is there a genre Lev can’t write?!). I was engaged through the story and, when the audio ended, I wanted more. Luckily, Lev is writing a sequel so we don’t have to wonder what is next for the Lavender House family. Check out my 4 star review below and pick up this queer historical mystery, out now!
A big TY to MacMillan Audio for sharing this audiobook!
Lavender Houseby Lev A.C. Rosen
Published by: Forge Books
on October 18, 2022
Genres: Adult, Historical Fiction, LGBTQIA+, Mystery
An Amazon Best Book of the Year!A "Best Mystery & Suspense of 2022" pick from BookPage!A delicious story from a new voice in suspense, Lev AC Rosen's Lavender House is Knives Out with a queer historical twist.
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.
One part Knives Out, one part queer history, tied up in a messy found family bow – That’s what you have in Lavender House.
The titular Lavender House is both freeing and stifling. With these people, you can be yourself. How liberating. How claustrophobic. The outside world is unsafe for queer people, displayed by the MC’s brutal removal from the police force. The inside is unsafe because….someone is a murderer.
I love that we spend significant time with each character, even though the cast is large. Everyone is distinct and memorable, with their own traumas and quirks. While reading, you’ll suspect everyone is the guilty party. Everyone is unlikeable at some point, but you also don’t want it to be anyone because they’re uniquely endearing.
Most audiobook readers are familiar with Vikas Adam’s work. He’s a prolific narrator in the YA and romance space and the perfect choice for Lavender House. There is a large cast for this story and he brings a unique tone and inflection for each of them. You never wonder who is speaking. The narration kept my attention all the way through!
If you enjoy historical settings, and unique look into queer history, wrapped in a locked manor murder mystery, highly recommend Lavender House!