Lavender House by Lev AC Rosen | Audiobook Review

Surprises are sometimes very good!

Lavender House by Lev AC Rosen

Released October 2022

Source: Borrowed from Library

Goodreads  | Amazon

A "Best Of" Book 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.

My 2 Cents for Free!

For some reason (probably because I've been reading a steady diet of them) I assumed this was a gothic horror novel when I requested a copy from my library. It is absolutely not that but once I started it, it amused me, so I kept going and I'm glad I did.

I didn't read the blurb (obviously) and didn't see the comparison to Knives Out so I went in completely blind. This is a story of found family, safe places and a possible murder that shakes everything up. It's a little bit mystery but mostly it's about queer characters finding love and support in the 50's which were even more dreadful than life in the 2020's, alas.

It's often delightful as well as heart crushing and it's filled with quite a few characters who may or may not be capable of murder and one who goes on a journey and finds purpose and hope. If this becomes a series with Andy as the lead, I'll definitely read the next one.

The narration of the Andy was excellent but some of the women secondary characters were a little off sounding, not nails down a chalkboard cringe but also not the best . . . It didn't mar my enjoyment of the story though which says a lot about the story.


  1. I'm glad this one turned out to be such a good read despite not being what you thought it was going to be.

  2. Replies
    1. I'm glad I kept going even after I discovered it wasn't the book I thought it was going to be.

  3. I tried the audio for this and it wasn't quite grabbing me but the story was interesting. I think I'll come back to it but in e-book format.

    1. You might enjoy it more that way. Some of the narration was a little hard for me.


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