Thursday, July 22, 2021

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
🎧 Narrated by Frankie Corzo

Synopsis (via Goodreads): 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 Noemí’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.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors! Gods of Jade of Shadow was my first book by Moreno-Garcia, and I absolutely loved the Mayan mythology that was woven in throughout the story. Mexican Gothic was equally enchanting with its ghosts and many mysteries, and I really enjoyed Noemí as a main character. I'm already looking forward to reading my copy of Certain Dark Things and Velvet Was the Night. I'm pretty sure I have The Beautiful Ones on NetGalley, too. (See? Obsessed.) If you haven't read anything by this author yet, you don't know what you're missing! 

I ended up listening to an audiobook for Mexican Gothic (despite starting with a physical copy), and I'm really happy I did! Frankie Corzo was an amazing narrator that really brought Moreno-Garcia's story to life. Every character had a unique voice and presence within the book, although I was particularly fond of Noemí and Francis. Noemí was very strong-willed and undaunted by the weirdness of the Doyle family. She endured their silence, their judginess, and their unwillingness to accept her presence within their home. She cracked and wavered, considered giving up once or twice, but stayed committed to helping Catalina (her cousin) and to figuring out the house's secrets.

It's clear from the start that something weird is going on, and that Catalina's sickness isn't normal. Her husband, Virgil Doyle, is as disgusting as his father, Howard Doyle. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, and I despised the two of them instantly. They both spoke like they were above everyone else, and they had a superiority complex that was nauseating to read about. The way they spoke to Noemí, how they treated the women in their own family - UGH. I hate that everyone just accepted their behaviors because that's how things were done. The mind games they played were awful, too. They would say one thing when they meant another, and they seemed to enjoy making Noemí feel like she was imagining certain things. Their sick sense of humor made me feel stabby and violent. I wanted something terrible to happen to both of them.

Francis was the only descent member of the Doyle family, although he seemed fine with being a sheep for most of the book. I would have appreciated more of a backbone from him, but I can also understand and appreciate the characteristics he had. He had been raised a certain way and been burdened with knowledge and expectations that no sane person would want. I think he did his best to help Noemí and Catalina, but his family also had a very firm grip on his life and actions. No secrets were safe in High Place, and you could never be sure who was listening, or even if what you were seeing was actually happening.

Moreno-Garcia really messed with my head throughout Mexican Gothic. I never knew what was real and what was imagined, and I struggled along with Noemí to sort dreams from reality. I really loved how this story developed and the way the author chose to reveal certain chunks of information. It gently unfolded in the most unexpected ways, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I also really liked how the book ended, because while this particular story is over, it still felt like there was something unfinished about their individual lives. How will they recover after everything they've been through? What will their lives look like now? While I love a good epilogue, I think not knowing really suited this book. (★★★★★)


  1. I really want to read this one, but the reviews have been all over the place. But I guess I'll never know until I saw for myself.

  2. I've only read Certain Dark Things by Moreno but I liked it a lot.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

  3. Gods of Jade and Shadow is my fave from this author for sure. The perfect word for Mexican Gothic is unexpected!

  4. Ooh nice! I still need to read this one but glad to see I made the right choice in adding it to my TBR pile! I love a good spooky read and I have the feeling I'll be right there with you in wishing something inhumanely horrible happen to these characters you mentioned! Lol. Great review!

  5. I loved this one - it was so atmospheric and creepy!


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