The author of the novels Gods of Jade and Shadow, Certain Dark Things, and Untamed Shore returns with an enchanting twist on a classic genre.
Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic is a must-read gothic novel that is perfectly suited on any bookshelf beside Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights or Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
Open your eyes.
**Contains Minor Spoilers**
Noemí Taboada is living her best life in Mexico City — attending cocktail parties, dating handsome men she discards after two dates, and flittering between her interests in history, theater, and anthropology — until her life is put on hold when a concerning letter arrives from her cousin Catalina. At her father’s request, Noemí ventures into the quiet Mexican countryside of El Triunfo to the foreboding mansion where Catalina lives with her husband’s family. The High Place is every bit the decaying mansion befitting of a gothic tale and its inhabitants are just as sinister as you might imagine.
He is trying to poison me. You must come for me, Noemí. You have to save me.
The story starts off slow, mirroring Noemí’s descent into the mystery surrounding Catalina’s illness. A mystery that is so tightly wound into the very fibers of the house and its inhabitants, that even Noemí is at risk of being ensnared.
The cast of characters feels like the perfect union of Rian Johnson’s Knives Out and Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle. The patriarch of the family, Harold Doyle, is a frail yet sinister old man who unnerves Noemí with his thinly-veiled colorism and interest in eugenics; his son Virgil Doyle, Catalina’s husband, is a charming blue-eyed man with his own sinister interests; Florence Doyle, the strict and cynical caretaker of High Place; and Francis Doyle, Florence’s son who is at odds with everything his family is and proves to be Noemí’s only ally.
Once Noemí’s nightmares become a reality, Mexican Gothic reaches its stride — going full tilt into the horror genre. Moreno-Garcia’s descriptions of the twisted secrets of the Doyle family will leave any reader in a trance. The allusions to fairy tales, careful foreshadowing, and blink-and-you-miss-it (skim-and-you miss-it?) clues makes it a page-turner.
Moreno-Garcia brings a vibrant twist to the gothic genre with ominous letters, mist-filled cemeteries, arranged marriages, and a savvy young woman faced with a terrifying mystery tied to a generational trauma. In Mexican Gothic the true horror is European colonialism and the sickness that festers beneath their feet.
Your Money Geek thanks Del Rey Publishing & NetGallery for providing us with a free copy for review. Pick up your copy of Mexican Gothic today!