Monday, October 3, 2022

Review: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

PublisherDel Rey
Release Date: June 30th 2020 
Pages: 301
Source: Audiobook 


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. 
BUY LINKS: Goodreads




The parties at the Tuñóns' house always ended unquestionably late, and since the hosts enjoyed costume parties in particular, it was not unusual to see Chinas Poblanas with their folkloric skirts and ribbons in their hair arrive in the company of a harlequin or a cowboy.


Warning: This is more of a rant than a review . . .

MEXICAN GOTHICwas one of my most anticipated reads of 2020 but didn't get around to it in January 2021. And I have to say, I was greatly disappointed. Especially since this book won a literary award and was so hyped up by other readers.

Where do I even start?

First off, I love Gothic literature. New Gothic literature has a dark sensual romantic theme going on which is among the top three favorite types of books. MEXICAN GOTHIC does 1950 Spanish affluent debutante really well as well as having that dark foreboding Gothic vibe. So all that to say the author did really well with illustrating vibes that make you feel like you’re in the world living out the story.

“...𝓈𝒽𝑒 𝓌𝒶𝓈 𝓉𝓇𝒶𝓅𝓅𝑒𝒹 𝒷𝑒𝓉𝓌𝑒𝑒𝓃 𝒸𝑜𝓂𝓅𝑒𝓉𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝒹𝑒𝓈𝒾𝓇𝑒𝓈, 𝒶 𝒹𝑒𝓈𝒾𝓇𝑒 𝒻𝑜𝓇 𝒶 𝓂𝑜𝓇𝑒 𝓂𝑒𝒶𝓃𝒾𝓃𝑔𝒻𝓊𝓁 𝒸𝑜𝓃𝓃𝑒𝒸𝓉𝒾𝑜𝓃 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝒹𝑒𝓈𝒾𝓇𝑒 𝓉𝑜 𝓃𝑒𝓋𝑒𝓇 𝒸𝒽𝒶𝓃𝑔𝑒. 𝒮𝒽𝑒 𝓌𝒾𝓈𝒽𝑒𝒹 𝒻𝑜𝓇 𝑒𝓉𝑒𝓇𝓃𝒶𝓁 𝓎𝑜𝓊𝓉𝒽 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝑒𝓃𝒹𝓁𝑒𝓈𝓈 𝓂𝑒𝓇𝓇𝒾𝓂𝑒𝓃𝓉.”

The beginning of the novel was centered on a 1950s Retro gothic socialite just living her life. Noemí Taboada was a young single woman, carefree and flirtatious, with rich parents who just wanted her to find a husband even though she was not so convinced that was what she needed in her life. Her only desire was to be young and have fun forever. Until her father offered her a proposition. The Noemí was offered to chance to attend a university that was not exactly proper for young affluent women if she traveled two the home of her newly married cousin who sent a frantic, ominous letter to check on her.

“𝒩𝑜𝑒𝓂í’𝓈 𝒻𝒶𝓉𝒽𝑒𝓇 𝓈𝒶𝒾𝒹 𝓈𝒽𝑒 𝒸𝒶𝓇𝑒𝒹 𝓉𝑜𝑜 𝓂𝓊𝒸𝒽 𝒶𝒷𝑜𝓊𝓉 𝒽𝑒𝓇 𝓁𝑜𝑜𝓀𝓈 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝓅𝒶𝓇𝓉𝒾𝑒𝓈 𝓉𝑜 𝓉𝒶𝓀𝑒 𝓈𝒸𝒽𝑜𝑜𝓁 𝓈𝑒𝓇𝒾𝑜𝓊𝓈𝓁𝓎, 𝒶𝓈 𝒾𝒻 𝒶 𝓌𝑜𝓂𝒶𝓃 𝒸𝑜𝓊𝓁𝒹 𝓃𝑜𝓉 𝒹𝑜 𝓉𝓌𝑜 𝓉𝒽𝒾𝓃𝑔𝓈 𝒶𝓉 𝑜𝓃𝒸𝑒.”

From the moment Noemí said foot in the large forbidding mansion that sat lonely and on a hard-to-reach cliff (hill?) she was met with hostility from her cousin's entire family of in-laws. Even the staff.

Not to mention none of the Boyd family seemed to want her to spend much time with her cousin.

Having said that, Noemí claimed her sickly cousin was once vibrant and gentle and kind and most importantly obedient whereas she was the fury, outspoken one so it was ironic how Noemí never stuck up for herself. No matter how rude--even racist--the manners and comments the Boyd family made toward her. There came a point that the insufferable Florence told her straight to her face "I should just smack that smug look off your face". In front of others. And you know what the Noemí did? Not a damn thing. She clutched the back of the satee she sat on and said absolutely nothing.

“𝒮𝒽𝑒 𝓌𝒶𝓈 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓈𝓃𝒶𝓀𝑒 𝒷𝒾𝓉𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝒾𝓉𝓈 𝓉𝒶𝒾𝓁. 𝒮𝒽𝑒 𝓌𝒶𝓈 𝒶 𝒹𝓇𝑒𝒶𝓂𝑒𝓇, 𝑒𝓉𝑒𝓇𝓃𝒶𝓁𝓁𝓎 𝒷𝑜𝓊𝓃𝒹 𝓉𝑜 𝒶 𝓃𝒾𝑔𝒽𝓉𝓂𝒶𝓇𝑒, 𝑒𝓎𝑒𝓈 𝒸𝓁𝑜𝓈𝑒𝒹 𝑒𝓋𝑒𝓃 𝓌𝒽𝑒𝓃 𝒽𝑒𝓇 𝑒𝓎𝑒𝓈 𝒽𝒶𝒹 𝓉𝓊𝓇𝓃𝑒𝒹 𝓉𝑜 𝒹𝓊𝓈𝓉.”

By the time I was halfway through the Audiobook of MEXICAN GOTHIC, I was filled to bursting with anger and suppressed wrath. Not only was the Boyd family racist asshole bullies but I was also pissed at Noemí for not standing up to for herself--or her cousin. Moreover, not much was happening for the first 50% of the story but strategically placed, well-mannered rudeness and disrespect. I couldn’t take it anymore and had to stop listening to the audiobook. I felt legitimate rage. It was obvious from all the backstory and I was the mysterious history of this family that there was something more sinister going on. It was clear that Noemí has an inkling that this family had dark souls and even darker secrets. But she didn't do much of anything about it. Not even to save her so-called beloved cousin.

Sad to say, I will not be recommending MEXICAN GOTHIC to others. 


Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the author of the novels The Daughter of Doctor Moreau, Velvet Was the Night, Mexican Gothic, and many other books. She has also edited several anthologies, including the World Fantasy Award-winning She Walks in Shadows (a.k.a. Cthulhu's Daughters).

Happy Reading!



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