Mexican Gothic is a world set in 1950s Mexico and is inspired by Mexican Folklore written by Canadian author Silvia Moreno Gracia.
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Publisher: Del Rey
Genre: Gothic Horror, Historical Fiction
Page Count: 320
Audible Listening Hours: 10 hrs and 39 mins
Goodreads Rating: 3.68/5
My Rating: 4/5
After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed 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 Noemí’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.
The plot revolves around Noemi who is going to the home of her newlywed cousin-sister who is suffering from delusions. The sister talks about the estate she is living in and other supernatural forces that are refusing to leave her side in a letter. Noemi goes to visit her sister to uncover the mystery of her ramblings. Will she find out about the illness her sister is suffering from or that her sister is not entirely delusional?
Noemi is a glamorous girl living life on her own terms. She rarely takes anyone's word on something and likes to make up her own mind. She is also the polar opposite of her cousin-sister who dreams of fairytalesque love. Her character is the best female character I have read in a while. Her loyalty to her cousin and Frances really shines through the story. Noemi's character has inspired me to build a strong mind during distress. She's my favourite character.
Catalina is Noemi's newlywed cousin-sister who is suffering from delusions after getting married. She doesn't get much on-the-page action but she is a great supporting character and helps move the plot forward.
Virgil Doyle is Catalina’s husband and Noemi's father is very sceptical about his motive to marry Catalina so soon after only knowing her for months. Virgil's character starts to become really interesting about halfway through the book. He is a great antagonist in Mexican Gothic and his evilness is sick at times.
Frances is Virgil's cousin and a great supporting character to Noemi. He & Noemi develop a good friendship. Frances is the one person who actually helps Noemi and supports her when all the other characters are constantly giving backhanded comments. He is a very intelligent yet cowardly character and goes through the most lasting character growth in Mexican Gothic. He comes out courageous after many sacrifices. I love his character because not all his actions are good. Although he is a good person, he is complacent in terrible acts
What really takes the cake in this story is the amazing world-building Silvia Moreno-Garcia has created. The atmospheric horror is something that terrifies me the most. Noemi’s dreams are disturbingly beautiful. The world will make you feel what Noemi is feeling. I loved how the author has written the ‘High Place’. High Place is the family estate of Howard Doyle, father of Virgil Doyle. The description of the house has some magical realism in it which will make the readers’ skin crawl with uncomfortable visuals. I loved the world of this book.
If you are looking to be horrified by vibes, this book is for you. I absolutely loved Mexican Gothic. It is a 4-star read for me. There are some complaints I have about Mexican Gothic. The setting was Mexico in the title only. If you replace it with any other place the story won’t be impacted much. The character names are also very English-sounding. I am eagerly waiting for the Hulu adaptation of Mexican Gothic. The book is a visual read and will be beautifully horrific on screen. However, I still recommend reading Mexican Gothic to enjoy the reading experience that Silvia Moreno-Garcia created.
“The world might indeed be a cursed circle; the snake swallowed its tail and there could be no end, only an eternal ruination and endless devouring.”
“It was easy to kiss someone when it didn’t matter; it was more difficult when it might be meaningful.”
“...she was trapped between competing desires, a desire for a more meaningful connection and the desire to never change. She wished for eternal youth and endless merriment.”
“Marriage could hardly be like the passionate romances one read about in books. It seemed to her, in fact, a rotten deal. Men would be solicitous and well-behaved when they courted a woman, asking her out to parties and sending her flowers, but once they married, the flowers wilted.”
“Noemí, just because there are no ghosts it doesn’t mean you can’t be haunted. Nor that you shouldn’t fear the haunting.”
“It was not a haunting. It was possession and not even that, but something she couldn’t even begin to describe. The creation of an afterlife, furnished with the marrow and the bones and the neurons of a woman, made of stems and spores.”