Review: Mexican Gothic by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia

Storygraph |

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.

I’ve wanted to read Mexican Gothic for such a long time, but sadly it let me down a bit. I wanted and expected this book to be similar to Rebecca, which I read last year and I really enjoyed. I loved the atmosphere and gothic mystery of `Rebecca, and in a way it was reflected in the story of Mexican Gothic.

The part of this book that didn’t surprise me at all is that it was so slow. I really found it difficult to motivate myself to pick this up, because the plot just didn’t seem to be moving. I broke this down to few pages a day as I was reading this as part of a buddy read, which definitely helped and I think I would have struggled to finish it if it wasn’t for that. Even reading 20-30 pages at a time felt like a slog.

The plot was really interesting but sadly didn’t carry much weight or tension for me. As the book continues, there was more intrigue and I was fascinated by how the house played a role in this story. However, parts of the plot were much darker than expected, and please check trigger warnings if you are going to check this one out.

The atmosphere was definitely my favourite part of the story, and was quite involving. When I found myself reading this one, I could lose myself in the pages only because of the atmosphere. Overall, there were aspects of this book I enjoyed, but there weren’t enough elements to really love the story, sadly.

3 out of 5 stars


May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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