An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic aristocrat. 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.
Hi and welcome to my review of Mexican Gothic!
There I was, craving a Gothic story, when I saw the cover of Mexican Gothic on Twitter and a blogger saying they got it from NetGalley. I have to admit I had never heard of the author, and I knew nothing about the book, except that it had a pretty cover. But I figured a story called Mexican Gothic had to have at least some Gothic bits, so I hurried over to NetGalley to check it out and before I knew it, I’d clicked that request button. I have to admit, I’ve lived to regret some of my impromptu book requests, but I’m happy to say Mexican Gothic is not one of those. I consider my Gothic itch well and truly scratched!
Mexico, 1950. We meet main character Noemí in the kind of location that I was expecting from a story set in Mexico: it’s charming, it’s colourful, it’s loud, and she’s all of those things, a flirtatious, vivacious young woman with the world at her feet. But the party is over: Noemí’s newly-wed cousin Catalina has send her a troubling letter and she must go and visit to find out what is wrong with Catalina, who is clearly not well.
Noemí is plucked from her bright and sophisticated world of studies and parties, piano recitals and young men, and dropped in a damp and gloomy mansion in a foggy old British mining town in the Mexican countryside. Here, Catalina lives with her English husband and his family. A creepy patriarch, an antagonistic lady of the house, a sweet but weird young man, servants who hardly speak, and Catalina’s charismatic but somewhat scary husband, the story at this point is positively dripping with Gothicness (and fungi and mould), which at one point veers off into horror of the haunted house variety and some really very disgusting bits, and you can take that quite literally, actually 😬
Noemí is a brilliant main character, she shows tenacity and resilience in the face of the evil that’s trying to seduce her, and while trying to figure out what is happening to her cousin, she really grows as a person and learns to look beyond appearances.
Mexican Gothic is a great Gothic horror story, it has feeling, it has depth and I enjoyed it very much. If Gothic horror is your thing, then you should definitely check this one out!
If you’d like to know more about the origins of this tale, then check out this Goodreads interview with the author.
Huge thanks to Jo Fletcher Books and NetGalley for the eARC. All opinions are my own.