Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Book review of Lost in Lavender by Lise McClendon

Lost in Lavender
Lost in Lavender by Lise McClendon


Lise McClendon

is back! on Tour October 20-November 2 with      

Lost In Lavender

(mystery/women’s fiction) Release date: October 15, 2020 at Thalia Press 254 pages


Facing a crossroads– both career and personal– the youngest of the five Bennett Sisters, Elise, does what she does best: she runs away to think. This time she runs to a farm in Provence that produces heaven-scented lavender for oils. The area is famous for the beautiful purple flower, the symbol of this southern region of France. Her sisters are stumped. Elise never seemed like the farming type, or even gardening, for that matter. But she’s signed up for a farm stay vacation, an idea she got from an unlikely source, the trophy wife of one of her law partners. When she arrives, courtesy her older sister Merle who drives her to the Luberon from the Dordogne, she discovers she is the only guest at the picturesque family farm who is not a college student. The rest are all doing a French language exchange program and are 20 years younger than Elise, leaving her feeling like an outsider and wondering about her life choices. Not only is her judgment in men and careers awful, but she can’t even plan a decent vacation. Meanwhile in the Dordogne, Merle’s niece, Willow, arrives for some R&R before she starts law school. But she brings a few surprises with her, a boyfriend plus Elise’s fiancé. Or is it ex-fiancé? It will take several sisters– and of course Pascal– to unravel the facts as all descend on southern France for July in the heat and lavender. Suspense, romance, intrigue, and humor as the summer heats up for the Bennett Sisters again. Another delicious adventure in international travel and cozy mystery as the Bennett Sisters fight their way to truth, justice, and a perhaps a summer fling, deep in Provence. A summer fling in France never hurt anyone, now did it?
Works fine as a stand-alone


I’ve been a fan of Lise’s writing since I first read Blackbird Fly over six years ago and it’s always exciting to get back between the pages of a Bennett Sisters mystery. This book was no exception. It didn’t take long for the memories of the previous adventures of Merle Bennett, Pascal (her French detective boyfriend) and her four sisters to flood back into my head, leaving me feeling like it had been no time at all since I read the last book.

Merle’s cottage, in a bastide town in the Dordogne, may be tiny, but there never seems to a shortage of visitors and surprises through the door. This summer, her son Triston is due home, her niece Willow is popping in after a visit to Paris and her younger sister Elise is taking time out in France too, meaning a lot of running around for Merle. With Pascal now working in Bordeaux, she is also charged with the task of finding a base there for them to be together.

Elise, a lawyer, like all the Bennett sisters, seems preoccupied and distant when she arrives to spend a working holiday on a lavender farm in Provence. Despite Merle’s attempts to discover what is bothering her, Elise just bids her farewell when they arrive at the farm. Two weeks later when Merle returns to the Luberon to collect her, there is no sign of Elise. When she does make contact, she has found herself in the middle of a dark and mysterious situation and needs help. Merle and Pascal, no strangers to danger and adventure in France, waste no time in arriving in Provence where Pascal sets to work (unofficially) to piece together the truth.

I really enjoyed this book, the characters are now like old friends, the emotions Elise was feeling were relatable and the chemistry between Merle and Pascal is as strong as ever. It was an easy book to get immersed in, with an intriguing mystery to be solved, a bit of romance and some family drama, as well as fantastic locations to visit. Lise brings France to life once more, from the city of Bordeaux, to the lavender hills in the Luberon, and not forgetting life in a market town in the Dordogne.

If you have read and enjoyed any of the previous books in the series, you’ll love this one. If you haven’t yet discovered Merle, Pascal and the exciting situations they seem to find themselves in, don’t delay, start today.

Lost in Lavender LiseMcClendon
Lise McClendon


Lise McClendon is the author of thirteen books in the Bennett Sisters mystery series including A Bolt from the Blue, Blame it on Paris, and DEAD FLAT. She wrote two mystery series, the Alix Thorssen and Dorie Lennox mysteries set in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and World War II-era Kansas City (The Bluejay Shaman; One O’clock Jump). She also writes stand-alones as Rory Tate, including PLAN X, a thriller featuring a Bozeman, Montana policewoman. She edited the 2020 anthology, STOP THE WORLD: Snapshots from the Pandemic, bringing together 40 writers around the globe to discuss their experiences and emotions during this year, plus poetry and short fiction. Her short story, Forked Tongue, was included in the Anthony Award-winning anthology, The Obama Inheritance. As Thalia Filbert she wrote with four other well-seasoned crime writers the darkly comic culinary thriller, Beat Slay Love: One Chef’s Hunger for Delicious Revenge. Lise has served Mystery Writers of America in the past as a national board member and Montana representative. She lives in wilds of Montana near Yellowstone National Park.
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  1. So glad you met your friends again, in this neat series. Thanks so much for your enthusiastic review


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