Title: Mexican Gothic
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Length: 301 pages
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: June 30, 2020
Source: Book of the Month
Recommended for Fans of: gothic horror
Content Warnings: sexual assault, incest, drugs
An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic aristocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets. . . .
From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes a novel set in glamorous 1950s Mexico.
After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find – her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.
Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.
And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.
This is my kind of horror. I loved the lush, descriptive writing and the gothic mystery. I am a huge fan of gothic literature, and Silvia Moreno-Garcia did a flawless job infusing the genre with Mexican culture in a 1950s setting.
The story definitely had a slow build, but I loved how what started as an unsettling situation in an old, decaying mansion with a family that seems a little too obsessed with their rules and eugenics developed into something downright creepy with Noemi’s disturbing dreams, the incestuous revelations about the Doyle family, and the mushroom-infested haunted house.
I was at times frustrated with Noemi. She was smart and headstrong and knew that something was off with the Doyles and High Place, but sometimes she spent more time worrying about her clothes and missing high society in Mexico City than planning how to help her cousin get out. So many weird things were happening in the house, including some disturbing sexual scenes, that she should’ve been spurred to action sooner.
I predicted how things would inevitably end, but there were so many surprises along the way, like the truth about why the Doyle family can’t leave High Place, that my prediction built suspense throughout the fast-paced ending. I highly recommend reading Mexican Gothic as we move into the fall season. It’s a great choice to get into the mood for Halloween if you don’t mind a slow building story and a lot of weirdness.