Friday, April 14, 2023

Lavender House (Andy Mills, #1) by Lev A.C. Rosen

Synopsis (via Goodreads): A "Best Of" Book From: Amazon * Buzzfeed * Rainbow Reading * Library Journal * CrimeReads * BookPage * Book Riot * Autostraddle

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.

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes used in this review are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

I really wanted to like this one more than I did. I think Rosen has a good concept, but the storyline was too predictable and not very engaging. I knew whodunit as soon as all of the characters were introduced. 

Evander Mills - Andy - wasn't a remarkable main character. He's questioning whether life is worth living when he's approached to investigate a murder. I did like seeing him go from contemplating suicide to realizing there might be something worth living for, although I do think the author should have made his mental state more of a focal point. 

Whenever a problem arose in the book, it was either solved quickly or ignored completely. Solutions just presented themselves and kept the story from feeling mysterious. I wanted more backstory, more character development, more stick-it-to-the-man moments. Lavender House felt like the bones of a book and it kept me from fully enjoying the story. (★★๐ŸŸ‰☆☆)


  1. It's too bad that this one wasn't as engaging as you had hoped for. That synopsis really drew me right in, but I would get annoyed about the predictability as well. I hope that your next read is more enjoyable! :)

    1. I had such high hopes for this one! The premise really drew me in so I was really disappointed when it flopped.

  2. Aw that's a bummer. Knowing the murderer right from the get-go isn't good.

    1. I want to be shocked and amazed when I read suspense or mystery. This book neither shocked or amazed me, unfortunately.

  3. The cover is so pretty, I was hoping the contents would match!

    1. Same! The cover and the premise really sold this one for me, but the story itself was lacking.


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