Review: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

He is trying to poison me. You must come for me, Noemi. You have to save me.

When glamorous socialite Noemi Taboada receives a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging to be rescued from a mysterious doom, it’s clear something is desperately amiss. Catalina has always had a flair for the dramatic, but her claims that her husband is poisoning her and her visions of restless ghosts seem remarkable, even for her.

Noemi’s chic gowns and perfect lipstick are more suited to cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing, but she immediately heads to High Place, a remote mansion in the Mexican countryside, determined to discover what is so affecting her cousin.

Tough and smart, she possesses 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 Noemi; and not 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, 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 Noemi digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness. 

And Noemi, mesmerised by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to leave this enigmatic house behind . . .

Noemí Taboada is sent by her father to check up on her cousin Catalina after receiving a worrisome letter from Catalina that says her new husband is trying to harm her. As soon as Noemí arrives in the enigmatic and mysterious High Place – the house of Catalina’s new husband’s family, the Doyles – Noemí knows something isn’t quite right. Determined to help her cousin and get to the bottom of what’s happening, Noemí finds herself increasingly unnerved by the strange behaviour of the Doyles and High Place’s history, all the while being drawn to a quiet and gentle boy who seems scared for her.
Mexican Gothic is a slow burn horror with elements of fantasy that’ll make anyone think twice about sudden love and what it means to be a family.

Mexican Gothic is my favourite read of 2020 so far. The story completely ensnared me – it consumed my waking thoughts and I found myself come morning having dreamt of High Place and what was happening. I wanted to talk about it to everybody and anybody to share my theories about what was going on. Now I just want to run up to everybody and shout “you have to read Mexican Gothic!! It’s BRILLIANT!”

Noemí is the heroine of horror that women deserve to read. I admired her as a protagonist because she truly had depth – whilst she’s raised and acts like a materialistic socialite on the surface, there’s so much more to her. She’s astute and clever, with aspirations in life beyond what the male gaze pushes on to her and utilises what’s available to her to better help herself in a world that second guesses her, all the while being full of life and compassion. I desperately wanted her to succeed in her plans and survive whatever was happening in High Place.

Moreno-Garcia’s writing is exquisite and captivating. The only way I can describe how effective her writing is, is that satisfying and really glorious feeling of a cool beverage going down your throat on a hot summers day. I didn’t just see the mist rolling across the grounds, I could feel it. I could feel it’s cold caress – that’s how powerful this book’s imagery and immersion was for me. Not to mention how tantalisingly good the writing made the desire to uncover the mystery was.

”And Noemí couldn’t help but think that even though nothing was exactly wrong, something was definitely not right.”

The atmospheric nature was truly divine – one of the best I’ve read. It was gothic through the decrepit and aged yet mysterious High Place manor, it was eerie through the Doyle family’s behaviour and the atmosphere was enriched further with the possibility of deadly romance. From the get go, there’s a strange energy hanging over High Place manor – like an unspoken threat. This is only worsened by the strict rules and hostile attitudes of the inhabitants, which builds to a crescendo of pure suffocation. I was so invested in how it would all end, I couldn’t put the book down, and if I had to, I was beyond eager to get back to it.

Please know that Mexican Gothic is a slow burn. It’s rewarding because Moreno-Garcia uses it to build and build the atmosphere and the suspense so well, for it to be truly haunting. But I want readers to know it’s a slow burn so they don’t pick the book up when they’re not in the mood for slower building stories.

Mexican Gothic is a well developed horror, that at the height of the story feels disturbing, stomach churning and otherworldly. I loved every moment. I loved how the ending was a combination of a light at the end of the tunnel for the reader… yet there’s lingering questions that may make chills go down your spine. Honestly, Mexican Gothic possessed me, consumed my heart and is my favourite read of 2020 so far. It was the easiest 5 star rating I’ve gave, and I can’t wait to reread the story in the future. It’s perfect for fans of the movie Crimson Peak and fans of Laura Purcell’s work and Erin A. Craig’s House of Salt and Sorrows.

Buy It Now

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Published: June 2020
Genre: Adult Fantasy/Horror, Gothic Fiction.

Thank you Moreno-Garcia for writing this masterpiece, and thank you to Quercus Books for allowing me to read an ARC of it and for producing the most beautiful special edition of the book with Goldsboro Books. It’s stunning!

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