Thursday, November 17, 2022

Book Review: "Lavender House" by Lev AC Rosen

Lavender House was a satisfying mystery that delivers so much more. It was fantastic!

California. 1952. Andy was a police detective in San Francisco until he was caught in a raid at a gay bar. Fired, disgraced, and shunned, he is nearing the end of the rope.

Then he is approached by a woman who asks him to investigate the murder of her wife. Her wife was Irene Lamontaine, the head of the famous Lamontaine soap empire, and she was killed at Lavender House, their secluded estate. It turns out that the house is home to a number of gay people, living their lives freely, even if it’s only within the walls of the house.

Andy agrees to investigate the murder and takes residence at Lavender House. He never imagined that he’d see people like him so openly embracing love and having the type of relationships that wouldn’t be possible in the outside world. It forces him to come to terms with his own life and sexuality, as well as reconcile his being a police detective with the way his colleagues treated gay people.

“Just because we know what we are, and we know what the world is, doesn’t mean we can change anything about either of them.”

The mystery in this book is fairly standard but the book worked for me on so many levels. I loved many of the characters and would love to see a sequel someday. (Rosen has certainly set things up for that.) This was a fascinating, emotional look at the struggles queer people faced back then.

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