Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a frightening novel full of fiendish nightmares. After she receives a letter from her cousin, Catalina, Noemi heads out of her comfort zone of Mexico City and into the mountains. Once she reaches the remote mansion known as High Place, it soon becomes obvious that this place is not homey or welcoming. Each night she spends there becomes darker and darker, leading towards a terrifying conclusion that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat.
My most common thought whilst reading this book was “huh, that’s weird”. It got progressively weirder as events ramped up and Noemi found out more information about High Place and the Doyle family that built it. There were hints along the way that I thought would lead to the end of the mystery, but no way that I found to put it all together. The ending shocked me while still matching with the rise of tension in the novel. Moreno-Garcia has a truly spectacular voice for mystery.
Noemi rubbed me the wrong way many a time. A socialite born of the city and the wealth around her, Noemi is quite manipulative. She acts and speaks in certain ways in order to get the men around her to behave the way she wants. It irked me a few times when she went too far by manipulating their emotions to larger extents. However, my personal reaction to her shouldn’t discount her importance to this story. Her motivation – to save her cousin from whatever ails her – is clear, as is her ability to stand up and fight for that motivation. Even when doubt is planted in her mind, she shakes it off. Noemi is a great example of a strong heroine.
The rest of the cast is quite small, only consisting of Catalina, Noemi’s father briefly, and the four Doyles who live in High Place: Virgil, Francis, Florence, and the elderly Howard. They each have very distinct characters, rounding out the reader’s view of High Place. I won’t say more about these characters lest I give anything about the mystery plot away.
I waited until after I had read the entire novel to decide what my opinion of the novel is. Now that I’m done, I can tell you that it was brilliant to read. The unravelling was performed with such beautiful pacing. The characters were both bright and dim in their roundness. Moreno-Garcia wrote a stunning story focused on a time and place many of us haven’t ever read about before – Mexico in the 1950s. I suggest picking this novel up, or any of her other novels, if you enjoy mysteries, historical fiction, or something new and exciting.
Moreno-Garcia is also a British Columbian author (local for me) and that is a huge bonus. I love reading novels and other collections from local authors. If you enjoy this as well, check out www.ormsbyreview.com. They review B.C. books from B.C. authors. I’ve worked with them as a reviewer for a few years now, publishing reviews such as https://ormsbyreview.com/2021/12/13/1321-herbert-mcmyn-moreno-garcia/. This is a review of another of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s books, Velvet Was the Night.
Thank you for reading my review of Mexican Gothic and don’t forget to check out my review of Velvet Was the Night!
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