My Quick Review: I had a somewhat love hate relationship with this book, and found it very frustrating! I adored the main character and the love interest, but severely hated almost every other character in this book. It was wonderfully atmospheric and eerie, but I felt like the ending went off in a tangent that didn’t fit the rest of the book.
Age Rating: 17+
Publisher: Del Rey
Literary Awards: Goodreads Choice Award for Horror (2020)
Tropes: Absent parent, Dark secret, Haunted house, Pandemic
Trigger Warnings: attempted rape, cannibalism, child birth, drugging, eugenics, fire, forced marriage, gore, hallucinations, incest, mind control, miscarriage (mentioned), murder (including babies), racism, sexism, suicide, vivisepulture
After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed 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.
My review (may contain slight spoilers):
Mexican Gothic follows the story of Noemí Taboada, a glamorous debutante from Mexico City who is contacted by her cousin, Catalina. In the letter, Catalina states that she thinks her husband is trying to poison her, and needs help to escape the country house of High Place, in the outskirts of a small town called El Triunfo. Noemí travels to this Gothic mansion, and is sucked into the terrifying, yet seductive world of High Place. There is something wrong with the family who lives there, and Noemí will do anything in her power to discover what it is.
I have mixed feelings about this book, and keep going back and forth on it. On a positive side, I absolutely adored the main character, Noemí. She was strong willed, witty, and doesn’t take no for an answer. Silvia Moreno-Garcia really developed a wonderful depth to her character, and I felt like I completely knew her, inside and out. I also enjoyed the contrast between Noemí and Francis (the only other character I liked in this book). Francis was sweet and endearing, and genuinely wanted to help Noemí. The descriptions of the mansion were eerie and unsettling, and the book was extremely atmospheric at times, which I absolutely loved.
With that being said however, I just hated every other character so much in this book. Honestly, I hated them with a passion. Noemí endured sexism, misogyny and sexual assault throughout this book, and I found myself getting just fed up to be honest. I also found that the ending kind of went off on a tangent, and seemed extremely unbelievable (it’s fiction I know, but I still struggled with it).
Conclusion: Overall, the good aspects totally outweighed the bad. I would recommend this book for those of strong character, as it was difficult to read at times, simply due to the abuse Noemí received throughout. It was atmospheric and spooky, and the strength and character of the main protagonist was fantastic.
Interested in this book?