“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.”
-Synopsis from Goodreads
Mexican Gothic was one of my most anticipated reads of 2020. As soon as I heard about it, I knew I had to read it. I devoured Gods of Jade and Shadow last year and knew that I would read any future books by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I ended up preordering it from one of our local independent bookstores, but I waited until Spooky Season to start reading.
I knew up front that this book was classified as horror, but I was definitely not prepared for just how creepy it would be. The first few chapters actually had me wondering if I would even be able to finish it since I’m such a scaredy-cat. My solution was to only read it during the day, which helped a lot quite frankly.
Mexican Gothic is a perfect read for October. It features a haunted house in an isolated part of a small town, creepy family members with a mysterious past, a sick person who can’t say what’s wrong or what has happened, and the spunky Noemi who is sent to the house to find out the truth.
There were so many times while reading that I wanted to scream at Noemi, just like in the movies, to get the heck out of that house! I wanted her to just run home if she had to! Come back to get your cousin with reinforcements later, if you absolutely have to, but get out now! High Place, as the house is known, is very clearly haunted, and the more she learns about its history, well, again, the more I wanted to tell her to run home. But the house had a pull on her, literally, that was preventing her from reading.
It’s been a long time since I have read something in the horror genre so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I did check some spoilers beforehand as far as content or trigger warnings though, because I wanted to know up front what exactly I was dealing with (again, scaredy-cat).
I will be honest: the moment we learn just what is going on inside this house wasn’t very earth-shattering for me. I don’t know why, or what else I was expecting, but I was just like, Oh, well, yeah. I felt like everything leading up to that moment was obvious so it wasn’t a big surprise to me. Did anyone else feel that way? I don’t want to spoil it, so I’m just going to leave it at that. I was more eager to see how Noemi would navigate escaping the house and the pull of that horrible family. I think the beginning of this story was much stronger than the end.
If you like horror, I think you’ll like this one. I would just recommend readers check out the trigger warnings ahead of time so you know exactly what you’re getting into!
Goodreads rating: Four stars