Review: MEXICAN GOTHIC by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Review:  MEXICAN GOTHIC by Silvia Moreno-GarciaMexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Published by Del Rey on June 30, 2020
Genres: Horror, Historical Fiction
Pages: 352
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.








I don’t normally read much in the way of horror, but when I read the synopsis for Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s new novel, Mexican Gothic, and saw the comparisons to gothic classics Jane Eyre and Rebecca, I just couldn’t resist stepping out of my comfort zone and giving it a try.  I’m so glad I did too because Mexican Gothic is one wild and seriously creepy ride!

Set in Mexico during the 1950’s, the story follows Noemi Taboada, a stylish debutante who spends much of her time either going to parties or studying anthropology.  She’s trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life when her family receives a disturbing and cryptic letter from Noemi’s recently married cousin, Catalina.  In her letter, Catalina rants and raves, makes it sound like she’s being held against her will, and begs for someone to come and save her from a mysterious doom.  Noemi and her family hadn’t heard from Catalina much since she moved away with her new husband so her letter comes as a huge shock.  Fearful for both her physical and mental well-being, Noemi sets out on the long journey to visit Catalina and assess the situation.

As soon as Noemi arrives at High Place, the remote mansion in the countryside where Catalina is living, she can tell that something is just off.  The mansion is creepy, rundown, and there are signs of decay everywhere, and the family themselves doesn’t appear much better off.  Howard Doyle, the patriarch of the household, is practically on his deathbed, and all rules of the house are set up so as not to disturb him, with the ultra-stern housekeeper Florence enforcing them.  Catalina’s husband Virgil is equally creepy and has a predatory vibe about him that Noemi immediately dislikes, and she quickly begins to understand why Catalina could be distressed by her living arrangements.  Speaking of Catalina, Noemi is rarely allowed to see or speak to her cousin, and is told that she is recovering from an illness.  The few times Noemi does speak to her, she seems agitated and not at all like herself.  The longer Noemi stays in the house, the more she starts to sense that something is very wrong and that it may be starting to affect her as well.

I really enjoyed the character of Noemi.  She’s smart, resourceful, and quite brave.  She went to that house wanting answers and she wasn’t leaving without them. She also refused to back down to anyone who got in her way, no matter how much they tried to intimidate or threaten her.

I don’t want to say anything else about the plot since the bulk of the book deals with Noemi trying to figure out what is going on in this house.  I will say though that what Noemi finds blows her mind, and mine as well.  Mexican Gothic is a dark, disturbing, utterly twisted and such a unique story that all of the big reveals kept me guessing.  In addition to the uniqueness of the story itself, I also loved the gothic atmosphere of the setting, especially the rundown mansion with the creepy graveyard on the property.   Everything about this story had me on the edge of my seat from the moment Noemi started poking around in the mansion.  One of my favorite elements of the storytelling was that the author creates an environment where it becomes hard to distinguish what is real from what is illusion or perhaps an imagination run wild.  I mention this in part because I do want to give a trigger warning for some graphic scenes involving a real or imagined sexual assault.

Circling back to touch on those comparisons to Jane Eyre and Rebecca, I think both of those are apt and I would also toss in a little V.C. Andrews’ Flowers in the Attic as well.  If you’re craving a dark and haunting read, Mexican Gothic is sure to satisfy your appetite.


About Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the author of several novels, including Gods of Jade and Shadow. She has also edited a number of anthologies, including the World Fantasy Award-winning She Walks in Shadows (a.k.a. Cthulhu’s Daughters). Mexican by birth, Canadian by inclination.

32 replies
  1. Dini @ dinipandareads
    Dini @ dinipandareads says:

    Great review! I am so intrigued by this book and although I know I am going to be completely terrified because I’m The Ultimate Chicken™️, I don’t think I can resist. That cover is so gorgeous and I definitely get dark creepy vibes from it. I’ve heard lots of positive things about this one so glad to hear that you enjoyed it too despite being outside your comfort zone!

  2. Sam@wlabb
    Sam@wlabb says:

    I haven’t read any horror books in eons (I think the last were actually by VC Andrews), but I was curious about this book. It’s popping up all over. Happy to hear you enjoyed it.

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      It’s funny that I don’t read horror at all now because I remember being obsessed with V.C. Andrews’ books when I was a teenager.

  3. ShootingStarsMag
    ShootingStarsMag says:

    Ooh this sounds really good. I think yours is the first actual review I’ve seen. I love the cover, and I keep hearing people want to read it, but I didn’t know what it was all about. I think I’d enjoy this one too!


  4. Lydia
    Lydia says:

    Thank you for keeping this review spoiler free!

    I can’t wait to read Mexican Gothic. You did a very nice job on your review of it.

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      You’re welcome! I was trying to be as careful as possible because this is definitely a story best experienced knowing as little as possible going in. I hope it’s a great read for you.

  5. Tanya @ Girl Plus Books
    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books says:

    I’m not sure how I had no idea before right now that this was a horror novel. *facts flying right over my head* But this one sunds fascinating. I really like the sound of Nomi and the setting just seems so atmospheric.

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      I honestly didn’t realize it at first either. I was thinking it would be more along the lines of historical fiction.

  6. Olivia-Savannah Roach
    Olivia-Savannah Roach says:

    I do like gothic fiction but mostly read gothic classics more than I read gothic contemporary novels and that is something I want to change! I like that this situation involves the house so much and that it is set in Mexico. I can’t wait to read it too!

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      I’m much more familiar with the gothic classic too. I actually think this was the first time I’ve read something more modern that was still considered Gothic.

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