From the publisher:
An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic aristocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets. . . .
From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes “a terrifying twist on classic gothic horror” (Kirkus Reviews) set in glamorous 1950s Mexico—“fans of classic novels like Jane Eyre and Rebecca are in for a suspenseful treat” (PopSugar).
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.
An Amazon Best Book of July 2020.
The title of the novel tells us what it is. It is a Gothic story set in the country of Mexico in the 1950’s. And it is a good one, moving slowly up the fright ladder logically until an ending that is a good conclusion to a finely written story.
Noemi Taboada is the young daughter of a well-to-do family living the good life in a growing Mexico City. The period is one that has brought money to Mexican businessmen due to investments in the United States recently at war and the emerging oil industry. Noemi has nothing to do but have a good time, go to parties, and husband hunt for a suitable young man. She already has a dowry with funds she has been given by her family.
A letter arrives from Noemi’s cousin Catalina who has recently married and is living in a rural area with her husband and his family. Catalina writes that Noemi’s father has to come and rescue her since her new husband is poisoning her. Her father decides to send Noemi to investigate the situation which seems a little drastic for a newlywed. Party-going Noemi is really not at all suited for investigating that which Catalina alleges. She does go and finds a strange family living in a huge mansion that has seen better days in terms of its condition in a fairly isolated area. Facts come out about what is going on slowly but surely.
Catalina’s husband makes it obvious that he resents Noemi’s visit. He and his family put restrictions on her movements and her habits. A strange attraction seems to draw Noemi to her brother-in-law and is the epitome of a love-hate relationship. But at the same time, she meets the younger brother of Catalina’s husband. He is shy, somewhat withdrawn, not the real physical specimen that Noemi is normally drawn to.
A well-done picture of events by the author shows Noemi facing many adverse factors, facing them and morphing into a woman rather than the young girl she came as when traveling to visit her cousin. The novel is certainly a draw for the reader and that is not just a horror story designed to create an atmosphere of terror. Moreno-Garcia is not a first-time author and has ventured into the world of science fiction and fantasy. Mexican Gothic is a novel that showcases the author’s literary talents and will certainly cause her readers to look for her future books.
7/2020 Paul Lane
MEXICAN GOTHIC by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Del Rey (June 30, 2020). ISBN: 978-0525620785. 320 pages.