“Mexican Gothic” Review

A young Mexican woman is standing or sitting on the cover visible from the nose down wearing a red dress that wraps around her chest with no shoulders. She has her hands in her lap holding a bouquet of yellow flowers. The background is green wallpaper with floral designs.Written by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Published by Del Rey, June 2020
320 pages
Completed July 26, 2023

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.

I really enjoyed this one. The story does take a while to get going with a slow pace as things unfold but it never really felt like it was too slow. I did think the last few chapters were a bit fast in comparison but it made sense for the story because once the truth came out things had to be dealt with quickly or no one was going to be freed from the house. The description is right that Noemí is an unlikely rescuer or at least she seems that way at first. Given that it’s set in the 50s her personality/behaviors aren’t much of a surprise but the way she handled everything still made sense. I liked the way the central mystery was resolved. There’s a lot that wasn’t explained but like most horror stories some things aren’t ever explained.