Book Reviews

Book Review: Mexican Gothic

Title: Mexican Gothic

Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Publisher: Del Rey

Publication Date: June 30 2020

Genres: Gothic Fiction, Horror, Historical Fantasy

CW: Mentions of ‘Suicide’ ‘Murder-Suicide’ ‘Incest’ ‘Sexual Assault’ ‘Racism’ ‘Violence’ ‘Body Horror’

Synopsis:

An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic artistocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets…

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.

Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I was never one to feel the full effects (or any in some cases) from Horror Media (Movies, Books Etc) but Mexican Gothic has a subtle horror element the slowly creeps up on you as the story goes along. You don’t even what’s happening until you’re feeling the full effects of unease.

With the writing style that is very reminiscent of older gothic fiction books, a setting that added to tension in ways I didn’t imagine, and the fact that even though Noemí is a like-able character and we want to trust her, we’re not sure if we can rely on what she knows and sees, it all comes together to form a really eery atmosphere in the book and adds to the tension. The delivery of the clues really added to the mysterious element of the story, mainly because clues are usually given in the midst of scenes where readers aren’t quite sure if they can trust anything that’s going on.

Even though I didn’t get to know Catalina and Francis first-hand, as-in we mostly got to know them through Noemí’s opinions of them, I still cared for them, they didn’t fall flat. Even though it was Catalina’s letter and her questionable mental state that really got the plot moving, she never felt like a plot device.

I loved Noemí as a character way more than I thought I would. She felt very realistic, her personality was very refreshing as it eased some of the tension in the book. I also loved the fact that bits of information that she knew because of past aspirations she had, helped her figure things out.

The formatting of the book was another positive when I think about this book, mainly how backstory was fragmented and sprinkled throughout the story in a way that never felt like the main story wasn’t being put on hold to add information. The supernatural aspect, while a bit unexpected at first, fit perfectly into the story.

Another thing that really stood out to me in this book, is the way that racism was included in this book. It was a major element in this book but not in the way that you would expect. I think I should also mention that the antagonists were far from cartoonish or two dimensional, they brought out real feelings (negative feelings, but very real).

I think the book wrapped up really well, I got to see bits of Mexican culture that I assume was accurate. Don’t take my word on that as I am not Mexican, but the author is so I’m sure those little details were accurate. I highly recommend this book.

Thank you to Netgalley for giving me and e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

That’s All I Got, Danielle.

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