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Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Horror

Mexican Gothic

Repeat author

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is back at Book of the Month – other BOTMs include Gods of Jade and Shadow and Velvet Was the Night.

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Excellent choice

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Quick take

A new take on Gothic suspense that displays the horrors of colonialism against a dreamy (read: nightmarish) backdrop.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Feminist

    Feminist

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Supernatural

    Supernatural

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Movieish

    Movieish

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Acclaim

    Critically acclaimed

Synopsis

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.

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Free sample

Get an early glimpse from the first pages of Mexican Gothic.
Mexican Gothic

1

The parties at the Tun?o?ns’ 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. Their chauffeurs, rather than waiting outside the Tun?o?ns’ house in vain, had systematized the nights. They would head off to eat tacos at a street stand or even visit a maid who worked in one of the nearby homes, a courtship as delicate as a Victorian melodrama. Some of the chauffeurs would cluster together, sharing cigarettes and stories. A couple took naps. After all, they knew full well that no one was going to abandon that party until after one a.m.

So the couple stepping out of the party at ten p.m. therefore broke convention. What’s worse, the man’s driver had left to fetch himself dinner and could not be found. The young man looked distressed, trying to determine how to proceed. He had worn a papier-ma?che? horse’s head, a choice that now came back to haunt him as they’d have to make the journey through the city with this cumbersome prop. Noemi? had warned him she wanted to win the costume contest, placing ahead of Laura Quezada and her beau, and thus he’d made an effort that now seemed misplaced, since his companion did not dress as she had said she would.

Noemi? Taboada had promised she’d rent a jockey outfit, complete with a riding crop. It was supposed to be a clever and slightly scandalous choice, since she’d heard Laura was going to attend as Eve, with a snake wrapped around her neck. In the end, Noemi? changed her mind. The jockey costume was ugly and scratched her skin. So instead she wore a green gown with white applique? flowers and didn’t bother to tell her date about the switch.

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Why I love it

Gothic stories in the style of novels like Jane Eyre and films like Crimson Peak are my favorite, but I have longed for the missing presence of Latinx characters in these rich worlds. Mexican Gothic takes us on a familiar Gothic Romance ride: terrifying, sexy, thrilling, and gorgeous. A story where you feel you MIGHT know how it all ends (and if you’re a fan of thrillers/mysteries, you very well may figure it out) but writing the lead as a Mexican woman forging her way in the 1950s is a brilliant move by author Silvia Moreno-Garcia. It’s sadly still too rare to read this type of genre with this type of protagonist.

Noemí is living the fun and fashionable life of a 1950s “it girl”/ socialite when she receives a disturbing letter from the Mexican countryside: Catalina, her recently-married cousin, has taken ill, and her husband’s family, the aloof and conservative Doyles, don't seem able to help her—or maybe they just don’t want to?? Trapped in the sinister mansion called High Place, Noemí finds an ally in the youngest Doyle son and begins to learn more about the eerie circumstances surrounding the house, the family, and even Catalina’s illness. But soon she’s having vivid dreams that seem VERY real, and uncovering the answers to secrets she may have never wanted to know.

I was captivated by the epic descriptions of the seemingly alive grounds and house, the terrifyingly familiar story of losing oneself to the rigid expectations of societal pressures, but also because I’ve rarely read or seen a story like this with this person as the hero. She is smart, ambitious, and often fearless in the face of overwhelming horror; this story was haunting in the BEST way!

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Member ratings (35,067)

  • Courtnie N.

    Kamuela, HI

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ It was slow at first because the author sets the scene twice, back to back, with Noemi’s home city then again with the estate. That said... THAT TWIST!!!! I thought I knew... I did NOT know

  • Jana C.

    Tulsa, OK

    I’ve seen a lot of reviews that said this was “slow” or “boring” and I’m just like ????? I LOVED this. It was creepy & beautiful & mysterious. I was captivated the whole time. And Noemí is a bad ass!

  • Kimberly W.

    North Salt Lake, UT

    ★★★★★ This book was creepy, surprising, and kept me guessing until close to the end. The author really knows how to keep a reader hooked from the beginning. I haven’t read much horror, but I will now!

  • Peggy H.

    Colonia, NJ

    Loved it was very entertaining! I love the way the writer made it so real in my mind. I am proud that a Latina had written a book such as this one. For now on I will follow this author. Whatever she writesLovedit

  • Megan B.

    Milwaukee, WI

    I read this book in less than a week because it really pulled me in. It’s not your typical “haunted house” story. It’s darker and far more sinister, and I was really drawn to Noemí’s strong character.

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