{Review} Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Posted July 20, 2020 by Leah in Reviews / 4 Comments

{Review} Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Mexican Gothic

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Pages: 320
Published on June 30, 2020
by Del Rey
Genres: Adult, Historical Fiction, Horror
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

Also by this author: Certain Dark Things, Gods of Jade and Shadow

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • 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 terrifying twist on classic gothic horror” (Kirkus Reviews) set in glamorous 1950s Mexico—“fans of classic novels like Jane Eyre and Rebecca are in for a suspenseful treat” (PopSugar).

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.

2 Stars

You might have seen my excitement for Mexican Gothic–it was one of my most anticipated books of the year; Silvia Moreno-Garcia has quickly risen the ranks of one of my most-read authors. Friends, writing this review gives me no pleasure.

I will give Mexican Gothic a lot of credit: I went in to it with thoughts of what I thought was going to happen and it smashed all of them to pieces. Noemi is our protagonist, a young woman in her 20s who’s main concerns are parties and drifting through her life. Noemi is a standout character. When we first meet her, she’s headstrong yet flits between majors for college. She likes parties and cute men. I think a lot of people won’t connect with Noemi right off, but I appreciated that she doesn’t have all the answers right away. She’s living her life and doing her thing in 1950s Mexico.

Moreno-Garcia knew what she set out to do and accomplished it with aplomb. The book explores colonialism in Mexico in a quiet yet powerful way. The remnants of the past are scattered everywhere. It is also is an incredibly atmospheric novel complete with a creepy house and an even creepier family. High Place is described in ways that makes it easy to imagine, a house wreathed by a cemetery and the crumbling remains of the fortune that the Doyles wanted. This house is haunted. That’s all I can say without getting in to spoilers.

As for the Doyle family, they’re…interesting. They have all the traits you find in a strange family from Gothic literature: there’s a sickly (yet creepy) patriarch; there’s a mysterious, alluring male head of the house; the cold female head of the house; a meek character who becomes Noemi’s ally.

Since the book that thrives on atmosphere, it’s in no rush to have things happen. We are subjected to descriptions of what Noemi wears, her bizarre encounters with the Doyles, and her not-quite-urgent-enough attempt to find out what’s happening to her cousin. I had no problem putting the book down and picking it up again days later.

And then the book goes to full on weird. As I mentioned, the conclusions, theories, and ideas I had about Mexican Gothic were proven wrong. However, never in my wildest imaginings did I think it would go where it did. I admire the creativity. The execution though left me reeling. It seems to happen out of nowhere (although there are hints as to what is happening throughout). I was in disbelief for most of it, but when I slowly started accepting it, another bizarre thing happened that made me go, “Okay, what the hell is going on?”

From reviews I’ve seen, this is a polarizing book. I thought I would like it but in the end, my disbelief won out. I am thrilled that Moreno-Garcia is now a New York Times bestseller though! It’s long overdue. 🙂 And I will continue to read her work.



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4 responses to “{Review} Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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