Ever since Gods of Jade and Shadow I have been such a big fan of Silvia Moreno-Garcia! I am so happy I picked up Mexican Gothic. I’m not a huge Horror reader – because I’m a big scaredy cat- but that was my favorite element in Mexican Gothic! Keep reading this book review to find out all about this fabulous setting in Mexican Gothic!
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
The atmosphere in Mexican Gothic made my skin crawl – in the best way. It was so detailed and downright terrifying. From literal shivers to figurative shivers, I was haunted. From the beginning, Moreno-Garcia is a master at world building. You can feel the decay in the decadence. The barely disguised rotting floors, the musty carpets, but the way the glory is fighting to cling. I loved the pairing of this Gothic atmosphere with the setting, plus Noemí’s glamor, her commitment to fun, and the chills.
If you ever wondered if buildings could talk, what would they say – then you have to read Mexican Gothic. This story perfectly embodies that question – wondering if the walls have ears, if the mirrors have eyes. The concept of living memories, of shadows and hauntings, of phantoms in the corners of dark rooms. Everything had a sinister feeling to it and the family was terrifying. From their discussions of eugenics, to their commitment to silence while eating dinner, we are captivated by their characterization – while also desiring to escape.
Amidst this terrifying setting, we have Noemí who feels like a moth trapped in a jar. She’s stylish and glamorous and we feel the stiffling of her flame. But what I loved was the way Noemí grows. Her natural stubbornness and her clever thinking, may be the only thing that can unravel these dangerous secrets. Most of my notes from Mexican Gothic are just pure shock. Moreno-Garcia is a master of not only winding and terrifying plot twists, but also an almost fever dream induced feeling of horror.
I highly recommend Mexican Gothic for horror fans, but also those who love questions of reliability, of detailed world building, and family secrets. Find Mexican Gothic on Goodreads, Amazon (US), Amazon (UK), Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.
Make sure to check out the other stops in the Mexican Gothic blog tour!