When you open a book by Fiona Zedde, you know it’s going to be sexy. Even more so if one of the main characters is a respected and feared madam. House of Agnes is definitely sexy but it’s so much more than just a sexy book.
Lola Osbourne is an investigative reporter intent on bringing down the infamous Agnes Noble, who she believes to be responsible for her sister’s death. Agnes rules her exclusive escort agency in what she hopes is the opposite of her late father’s way. From the moment she lays eyes on Lola, Agnes knows she’s hiding something but she also knows she won’t be able to resist her.
I loved everything about this book, even its (negligible) flaws. I loved Agnes’s sense of duty, her love for little Gretchen, her relationship with her otherwise scary best friend Whit. I loved Lola’s determination and her ability to change her mind, and she too has an awesome best friend who deserves her own story (with Whit?). I loved the age gap, the ice queen element, the irresistible attraction. I didn’t care that I didn’t believe how Lola wouldn’t recognize Agnes with a mask (I have this thing with smells and tastes), but if glasses worked for Clark and Kara, who am I to say a whole mask wouldn’t work just as well for Agnes?
I’d categorize House of Agnes as a romantic thriller, both the romance and the thriller being worth reading for. While the romance is strong from the start, the thriller arc builds more slowly, with hints and details rather than big declarations, until it gets breathtaking towards the end.
The atmosphere is fantastic. I have so many words, I don’t want to choose: dark, steamy, gritty, lush, sensual, velvety. All at the same time. And isn’t the cover gorgeous too?