Friday, October 5, 2012

Apocalypsies Love! Book Review: The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand

Apocalypsies Love is all about me telling you what I loved about a 2012 debut book written by one of the amazing Apocalypsies. I also chat with the author to gain insight into their very favorite parts of their creation.

Today I'm featuring THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS, a legit creepy middle grade that gave me nightmares.

Victoria likes order, so she takes on the disorderly Lawrence as more of a project than a true friend. But when Lawrence goes missing and the people in town starting acting really weird, Victoria discovers that there's something sinister about the town's orphanage and she sets out to investigate and hopefully save Lawrence.

So why did this book give me nightmares? How about cockroaches, slimy chunks of mystery meat, dark spaces, and a surreal landscape of horrors inside the house.  Ms. Cavendish reminded me very much of "other mother" in Neil Gaiman's CORALINE with her eerie perfection and this type of villain always freaks me out. 

Fortunately I was so invested in Victoria's journey and her sweet but messy friendship with Lawrence that I was able to soldier on and let this trippy novel take me on its crazy ride.  And OMG - the ending. I may never sleep again.

How about I turn the blog over to Claire now?

What is your favorite scene in the book?
My favorite scene is not really an important scene whatsoever. It's in the second chapter, when Victoria loses her hair ribbon in the blustery wind on her way home from school (significantly, without Lawrence), and encounters Mr. Alice for the first time. This was one of the first scenes that occurred to me when planning Cavendish, and it always fills me with a sense of mystery and strange beauty when I think about it (despite the Mr. Alice creep factor).

What is your favorite line in the book?
Again, this is a relatively insignificant line, but it gave me such joy when I wrote it (and still does, when I think about it). It's from the first chapter, when we meet Victoria's father, Ernest Wright:

"Mr. Wright knew everyone in town, too, and was one of the richest men in Belleville, and some people were even afraid of him because he was so rich and perfectly toothed."

I've always had this image of Mr. Wright camped out in the bathroom, examining his teeth for half an hour. I imagine he would be somewhat of a dental floss aficionado.

What setting was most fun to write?
Maybe this is obvious, but my favorite setting was the Cavendish Home itself. I could pretty much do whatever I wanted with it--make it move and sigh, have rooms pop out of nowhere and look different the very next day, create secret passages. Secret passages! I've always wanted one for myself.

Who is your favorite supporting character - one you could see getting a spin-off book - and why?
My favorite supporting character, oddly, is Mr. Alice. I'm not sure why, as he's pretty disturbing (oh, wait, that's why). Also, he's kind of funny, in this weird, not-quite-right way, like he has glitches that make his speech, and the way he carries himself, just the tiniest bit off. I'm not sure he could necessarily get a spin-off book, but it would be interesting to explore his relationship with Mrs. Cavendish from his point of view. Or maybe it would just be terrifying. Yeah, probably that.

What has been your favorite part of your publishing journey so far?
The writing itself is still, fortunately, the thing that gets me up to work every day. For me, it's all in the language; I love seeing how words fit together, playing with them and twisting them, moving them around like puzzle pieces. But beyond that, it thrills me to see people's response to the book; I love hearing readers tell me how they enjoyed it (or how it gave them nightmares!).

THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS is available now. Find out more about it at the author's website.

FTC disclosure: Review copy from the publisher


Carina Olsen said...

Okay. I love this post. I really do. So glad you loved this book, Lenore! And interview is perfect. <3 Sigh. Now I want to re-read this book. Cavendish was just perfect. It was also so creepy, and when I excepted some things to end happily, they didn't. And that was the most perfect part. (And Lawrence, of course. And the epilogue. Because there must be a sequel. There must be.) Love reading Claire's answers :D And I do agree; Mr. Alice did seem pretty awesome ;p Thank you both for this post. <3
Love, Carina

Cecelia said...

LOVED this book. It was too creepy for me, really, but somehow I also soldiered on. Best Halloween read ever!

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

I LOVED this book. I feel absolutely in love with Victoria! I was creeped the crap out, but I loved every minute of it.

Unknown said...

hmm I love this post very much and i just wanna thank to your work and spending time on this book great work keep it up.
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