books, reviews

Book Review: Mexican Gothic – Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I was gifted a copy of this book by the publisher via Netgalley with no requirement to review.

The acclaimed author of Gods of Jade and Shadow returns with a mesmerising feminist re-imagining of Gothic fantasy, in which a young socialite discovers the haunting secrets of a beautiful old mansion in 1950s Mexico.

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

When glamorous socialite Noemí 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.

Noemí’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 Noemí; 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 Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

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


My thoughts:

What seems like a stereotypical Gothic novel, complete with large remote house and creepy occupants becomes something far more disturbing and sinister, worthy of a horror film or my nightmares.
The house is menacing and malevolent, the servants mute, the family vicious in their manner, with unbreakable rules that fashionable, fun Noemi breaks with no regard, finding them stuffy and backward.
Uncle Howard’s obsession with eugenics is creepy too, and the reason behind it all was honestly so sinister and sent shivers down my spine.
This was a book that made me wonder how the author could dream up such a nightmarish plot. But at the same time it was a brilliant read, expertly plotted and delivered.

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