I wanted to like this book so badly. I love Claire LeGrand, and I'm dying to read Winterspell and Flights & Chimes... but Mrs. Cavendish just didn't do it for me like I'd hoped. It was very very dark, which I don't usually mind, if there's a point to it. And there didn't seem to be. I absolutely hated Victoria, the main character, at first. But it's a testament to Ms. LeGrand's writing that she could make what is essentially a less-flamboyant Veruca Salt likable in the end. I struggled to get behind Victoria from the beginning, and I finally gave up and got comfortable with what I saw has her flaws. In that aspect, the book was a nice ride & I appreciate the author for making me see so much more to her character than I initially found.
There's a lot of creep in Mrs. Cavendish, and a lot of adults doing very bad things. Much what goes on in the Home is vague & LeGrand's descriptive passages aren't strong enough for the reader to visualize things in their head, nor are they strong enough to further the mystery. They just left me confused. There are enough hints to make you wonder what is really going on - I had a whole litany of questions in my head as I read - but there's never much resolution or explanation. It felt like the entire run of the LOST tv series, mashed up with some asylum horror films, under the guise of a Roald Dahl-esque children's book. A lot of confusion & really dark stuff, but not enough magic & wonder to pull it off.