Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia // Review

December 19, 2020

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

One could construct a hundred different narratives, it didn’t make them true.


Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia


Standalone
Release - June 30, 2020
Genre - Historical/Gothic Thriller
POV - female protagonist 1st person
Format/Source - ebook purchase
Length - 304 pages

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed 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.

After seeing the hype surrounding Mexican Gothic, I knew I had to read it. The cover alone would have made me take a second look. And I'm glad I did.

It was a slow-moving read. Not much in the way of furthering the story really happens until towards the end. I was on edge while waiting for the other shoe to drop and enjoyed the journey. The depictions of the town, the townsfolk, the fog, the house, the mytery of the house and the people who lived in it, all made a strong impact with me. I didn't know who was truly sincere and who was hiding behind false sincerity.

I found it was more the characters themselves rather than the atmosphere illustrated by the author that gave this story its gothic feel. Noemi was hilarious and kept me engaged in this story right to the end. And what an ending! Honestly, this story should come with trigger warnings, but then again, if you were told what the triggers were, the story would be spoiled for you.

Enter at your own risk!

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The letter that started it all...

… he is trying to poison me. This house is sick with rot, stinks of decay, brims with every single evil and cruel sentiment. I have tried to hold on to my wits, to keep this foulness away but I cannot and I find myself losing track of time and thoughts. Please. Please. They are cruel and unkind and they will not let me go. I bar my door but still they come, they whisper at nights and I am so afraid of these restless dead, these ghosts, fleshless things. The snake eating its tail, the foul ground beneath our feet, the false faces and false tongues, the web upon which the spider walks making the strings vibrate. I am Catalina Catalina Taboada. CATALINA. Cata, Cata come out to play. I miss Noemí. I pray I’ll see you again. You must come for me, Noemí. You have to save me. I cannot save myself as much as I wish to, I am bound, threads like iron through my mind and my skin and it’s there. In the walls. It does not release its hold on me so I must ask you to spring me free, cut it from me, stop them now. For God’s sake…

Hurry,

Catalina



Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the author of several novels, including Mexican Gothic, Gods of Jade and Shadow and Untamed Shore. She has also edited a number of anthologies, including the World Fantasy Award-winning She Walks in Shadows (a.k.a. Cthulhu's Daughters). Mexican by birth, Canadian by inclination.

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4 comments

  1. You're saying the same thing I've read about the slow pace. I have a hard time with slow pacing, but I am still so curious about this book! I'm thinking I'm going to have to request the audio version from my library. Great review!

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    1. I was seeing the same thing. But it didn't stop me. I had to read it for myself. And I didn't have a bad experience. I really enjoyed it for the most part and I hope you do too! I'm pretty sure the audiobook would be quite the experience. It's a very atmospheric story :)

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