ARC REVIEW: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-García

Title: Mexican Gothic
Author: Silvia Moreno-García
Publisher: Quercus Books
Release date: June 30th, 2020
Page count: 352
Genre: Horror, Historical Fiction
Book links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Waterstones

An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic artistocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets…

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 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.

Mexican Gothic is a spooky, eerie book with a sassy and determined female protagonist, and a dark house belonging to an even darker family. It tells the story of young socialite Noemí Taboada, who receives an unsettling letter from her cousin Catalina, begging her to come to the rescue to where she lives, in High Place. Noemí and her Father decide that she’ll go to the manor and find out what is happening. There, she meets the family of her cousin’s husband, the Doyles, who are very dark, strict and… yeah, quite scary.

I loved Noemí from the very beginning. She’s such a badass, won’t take no for an answer, and might as well punch you in the face just to light a cigarette the next second. I loved how determined she was, but also the complexity of her character and how she aims high despite living in 1950, in Mexico, a time and place where women were expected to just obey their husbands. She’s smart, talented and clever, and I kinda want to be like her when I grow up (shut up Cielo you already grew up).

The side characters played their part really well, I believe. The only Doyle I liked was Francis, and with the other ones like Howard, Florence and Virgil, the author succeeded at making them as unlikeable as I think she pretended them to be. The way the author created these characters to make a spooky full picture was perfectly executed; you’re always guessing what secrets they keep or why they act a certain way. I was only expecting to get more scenes with Catalina, Noemí’s cousin who I thought played a big part on the story, but it turned out not being like that.

“We thought monsters and ghosts were found in books, but they’re real, you know?”

The pace of the story is just perfect: not too fast neither slow. The mystery element is always there and most of the time, this book will keep you at the edge of your seat, but it won’t throw plotwist after plotwist your way nor confuse you. Moreno-García does a great job at giving you the information you need to know just at the right time, and I appreciated that because the story behind the Doyle household is complex and needed a good elaboration.

I also want to talk about the Mexican representation. While you don’t see much of it in High Place (being literally a piece of England in the middle of Mexico) you can see it in Noemí and the healer Marta Duval. While I’m not from Mexico, their culture has always been part of my life in certain way because of the things my family likes to see and listen so it was great to understand most of the references and even get to learn more about the country.

A doubt many people have on this book is how scary it can be. I’m not used to reading horror books (I’ve just read two, counting this one), so when I read the trigger warnings and the summary, I was kind of scared. But while it’ll definitely creep you out, it’s not something that I’d consider intolerable.

This is a story about a family that has lost touch with reality. About the ambition to live forever and the horrors that eternal life can carry with it. You have greedy characters, people that won’t wake up of their dream-like state, and people that will do anything to get what they want, at any cost (oh, you have no idea).

I had a good time reading this book and being out of my comfort zone for once. Moreno-García’s writing style is amazing and I look forward to read more books by her, especially Gods of Jade and Shadow because I’ve heard great things about it.

Disclaimer: I received a free eARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

That’s all for this post! I hope you liked it. Have you read this book? What’s your favorite spooky book? Let me know in the comments!

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24 thoughts on “ARC REVIEW: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-García”

  1. Great review Cielo! I’ve seen this book talked about a few times, this review makes it sound really good and I know want to read it!


  2. I enjoy a good spooky book to a limit and I’ve never really ventured to super spooky ones so I was a bit hesitant about Mexican Gothic when I first knew about it. But as I’ve read more and more reviews, it’s good to know that it wasn’t intolerable as you’ve said and I’m really excited to read it. Books with great pacing, a strong plot and badass main character would always be an amazing reading experience. Great review, and I’m so glad you loved this one!


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