Book Review | Mexican Gothic

Posted October 19, 2020 by TheNonbinaryLibrarian in book reviews / 2 Comments

Title: Mexican Gothic

Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Publisher: Del Rey

Published: 30 June 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5.

After receiving a frantic letter from her cousin, Noemi Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. Noemi doesn’t know what to expect, as her cousin suddenly married a handsome Englishman, who is a practical stranger to the rest of the family. Once there, Noemi starts noticing strange happenings at the house, and her only ally in the inhospitable house is the family’s youngest son. Yet, the secrets kept in the walls of High Place may never allow Noemi to leave.

I was super excited to read this book, and it did not disappoint! I am a huge fan of gothic literature, and from the first page, I was hooked. This book was so terrifying and spine-tingling. I was a bit afraid to go to sleep after reading this because I was afraid of what I would dream about.

This was the first book by Silvia Moreno-Garcia that I’ve read and now I need to read all of her books. Her writing is incredible and the way she weaved the story together, the creepy gothic tale, a haunted house, characters you can’t trust, but able to wrap it all up by the end, is such a great talent.

All the characters were so believable as well. Noemi is such a badass! I was a bit apprehensive of her sense she’s a glamorous debutante, who cares more about what’s in season than sleuthing through a haunted house. Yet, she is an independent woman with a mind of her own and willing to go against the gran, which I absolutely love! She’s also someone who is planning on going to graduate school….in 1950s Mexico (I’m not sure about the culture of 1950s Mexico, but I don’t expect it to be welcoming to women going to college let alone graduate school but please let me know if I’m wrong). I’m just so impressed by Noemi and the lengths she went to for the people she loved.

The other characters in the novel were so well-written as well. Francis is the youngest member of the family who is an adorable little puppy who I want to scoop up and protect for the rest of life. Catalina, Noemi’s cousin, is someone who has gone through so much horror through her life and all I want is for her to be happy and safe. And gosh, the rest of the Doyles are just such amazing villains! I was totally pulled in by Virgil (Catalina’s husband) when he talked but then would have to remind myself that there’s something wrong. I kept forgetting Virgil was the bad guy, and I don’t know how Moreno-Garcia managed that one.

The ending was such a shock for me, and I was a bit sick (metaphorically). Very Game of Thrones like ideas that go in with the Doyle family. The reason High Place is so creepy and life-draining all comes clear. I would’ve liked a bit more of an after scene for Francis and Noemi, but beggars can’t be choosers.

If you cannot tell, I could gush about this for book for ages!

Update: 6/30/2021

I read this book a second time for a book club I’m in, and while I still stand behind most of what I said, I want to update this by saying that I do think there could’ve been another round (or two) of revisions. Moreno-Garcia has a wonderful story here and most of the elements are wonderfully executed (I particularly love the scenes with the descriptions of the house). Yet, there could definitely be a bit more added to the ending to explain or elaborate on what’s going on or how this family came to be rather than flashbacks. When they tell Noemi what’s going on, the scene could’ve been better served by actually showing us in a flashback rather than telling us.

I definitely do think this was a fun and interesting read, but there were definite parts that needed to be elaborated or changed.

New Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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