Lavender House by Lev A.C. Rosen
First I want to say I was pleasantly surprised by this book it was a historical fiction book with a mystery inside it. Irene Lamontaine, head of the famous Lamontaine soap empire is found dead. Irene’s recipes for her signature scents are a well guarded secret in this mysterious family that lives behind the gates. It take place in the 1950's in San Fransisco. Pearl who was Irene's wife hires Andy a disgraced detective in the police force when he gets caught a a gay bar raid.
Andy agrees to take on Pearl's case to look into Irene's death. Andy decides to leave no stone unturned. Andy figures out that it is someone in the house so he sets to investigate. The book goes into whodunit mode which played well for me.
What I loved the most about the book its rich history of the life of gay people in the 1950's in how they did all kinds of things to hide their identity. It wasn't just a mystery it had all this rich detail about the time period and how gay people had to live. I remember myself in the early 90's living near San Francisco still dealing with some of the same things. I was a young gay Air Force Veteran that had to go to great lengths to hide my identity in the military and yes the military would send police into gay bars to find soldiers and then discharge them. We use to go all the way down to LA gay bars to get away from the possibility in turn reducing the chances of getting caught to who you are.
I truly connected with this book on so many personal levels which made me become invested in the different characters in the book. I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this book it spoke to me on so many levels. What I fear with the backlash to the LGBTQ community we are experiencing now we may be returning to this same fear and hiding who we are.