Thursday, October 15, 2020

Book Review: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Pages: 301
Genre: Adult Fiction/Gothic
Pub. Date: June 3, 2020
Publisher: Del Ray
Source: Library
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic aristocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets. . . . From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes a novel set in glamorous 1950s Mexico.  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 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."


Noemi lives a charmed life in 1950s Mexico. She is a bit of a socialite and has many admirers.  All of this changes for Noemi once her father asks her to visit her cousin who has been recently married and moved away. Her father wants her to check on her since they have received some upsetting letters from Catalina, her cousin, begging Noemi to come visit her and help her---all written with a desperate tone.  A bit ominous, eh? So, Noemi leaves the bustling life of Mexico City and heads to an old mining village and to Catalina's new home, High Place.  Catalina married Virgil Doyle who is a member of a wealthy British family. He seemed benign enough when Noemi met him, so what could have gone wrong? Well, for starters, Noemi arrives at High Place and it's not a glamorous mansion as she imagined, but rather a crumbling and dismal estate. They don't even have electricity much to Noemi's dismay.  When she asks to see Catalina, they are often cagey and elusive about her health and half the time Catalina seems drugged up and asleep.  To make matters worse, Virgil's family isn't exactly happy Noemi is there. They are rude at times, make strange comments, impose ridiculous rules, and Catalina's father-in-law is a nightmare.  The only person in the house that seems to like her is Virgil's younger brother, but at times, even he seems to be one of his father's foot soldiers constantly doing his bidding.  Noemi tries to figure out what is wrong with Catalina and the more she does, the weirder things get.  It's almost as if the house has a mind of its own.  Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is an edge of your seat Gothic thriller filled with a lot of atmosphere and creepy moments.

I really liked Noemi from the beginning in  Mexican Gothic. She is strong, capable, smart, determined, and caring despite her outward appearance. At first glance, one might thinks he is merely a debutante concerned with the latest lipstick shade and while Noemi likes to look good, she is so much more than a pretty face. I appreciated her determination to help her cousin even as things got weird in  Mexican Gothic.  She stuck around and tried to put the pieces of the puzzle together surrounding Catalina's strange behavior. The more she learns, the worse it gets and suddenly things at High Place are starting to impact her. Noemi starts to have strange dreams and visions that are extremely haunting. Once she finds out the history behind the Doyles and High Place, things begin to get even stranger. Buckle in!

I am not a big fan of the horror genre, so I was pleasantly surprised that  Mexican Gothic was mostly a Gothic thriller with some horror thrown it. The horror elements that do exist weren't too upsetting, so I think it's safe to say that this book is perfect for people, like me, who enjoy a spooky fall tale, but don't necessarily want Stephen King. The events that occurred were creepy and definitely had me on the edge of my seat as Noemi tries to fight for not only Catalina's life, but her own too.

My only issue with  Mexican Gothic is the last fifty pages or so. Things got weird. Even weirder than before and a little too unbelievable and strange for me.  I don't want to give too much away, but it got just a little too bizarre and didn't really work for me.  So, that is why I didn't give this book a higher rating despite 75% of the novel being a truly great read.

However, if you are looking for a spooky read this Halloween, I urge you to check out  Mexican Gothic It's perfect for this time of the year, especially if you like a fall read with elements from many of the Gothic classics.

Have you read Mexican Gothic? Do you like to read spooky reads in the fall? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.




  1. I definitely am looking forward to this one - sounds perfect for this time of year!

    1. It really is! I look forward to your thoughts after you read it! Thanks for visiting, Michele.

  2. I’m on a waitlist for this book. I’m a little nervous because I don’t like stuff that’s weird for no reason, but this book gets so many awesome reviews that I can’t pass it up.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  3. I finally read this one and I'm happy to say I loved it! I was a little worried about the hype. I agree that it would be good for someone who wants to read horror but not crazy, gory horror.


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