Summary from Goodreads: 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.
|So….are you looking for a chilly, creepy book? Maybe a bit of psychological horror in the vein of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House or perhaps some Gothic horror a la Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca? Have I got a book for you!|
Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s new novel Mexican Gothic follows a young woman from Mexico City, Noemí, who is sent by her father to visit her cousin Catalina. Catalina is newly married to an Englishman and living on his estate near a former silver mine deep in the countryside but she has sent every more disturbing, erratic letters. So Noemí takes herself and her city-girl sophistication off to the very remote estate of High Place.
And it is a dreary, chilling, crumbling estate perpetually shrouded in dense fog. The Doyle family built the English mansion – and basically imported as much of Britain as they could – over the silver mine they took over in the 19th century. The mine is no longer operating and the family and house have decayed over the decades since the Revolution. And that’s just the beginning. Catalina’s husband Virgil is handsome yet strangely menacing. Florence, the sister-in-law, is distant, cold, and lays out the rules: no smoking, no hot water for bathing, no electric light, and no disturbing Catalina (who has been diagnosed with tuberculosis, which doesn’t track with her symptoms). Her son Francis is a mild-mannered young man who might be Noemí’s friend, but he’s under his mother’s thumb. And the family patriarch, Howard….well, Howard is the source of almost all content warnings for this book. (CW for discussion of suicide, body horror, eugenics, sexual assault, and those are the ones I can remember off the top of my head.)
After a few days of making herself a nuisance – and having ever-more disturbing dreams – Noemí has enough information to determine that she has to get herself and Catalina away from High Place and this dangerous family. But will the house let them go? (Yeah, you read that right!)
There are so many excellent, weird, creepy parts to Mexican Gothic. The isolated, creepy house, the chilling housekeeper, the magnetic yet menacing husband (all the best parts of Rebecca) mixed up with Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak in the vividly decaying house and the uniquely British obsession with family history but set in 1950s Mexico. Noemí’s interactions with the Doyle family get stranger and scarier and more complex. Then a little “weird nature” like in Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation gets into the mix and the story goes WILD (I don’t eat mushrooms and thank God for that). Mexican Gothic is solid Gothic horror. I LOVED IT (it also gave me major book hangover). Another contender for best book of the year.
Mexican Gothic is out now!
Dear FTC: I read a digital galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.