As the first read of the year, I picked up Mexican Gothic – a book I have been wanting to read for a while now. Read on my book review of Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia to see how it worked for me.
About Mexican Gothic
Book Name: Mexican Gothic
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Characters: Noemí Taboada, Catalina, Virgil, Florence, Francis and Howard Doyle
Plot Summary of Mexican Gothic
When her father sends Noemí Taboada to High Palace in the Mexican countryside as a response to her newly-wed cousin’s alarming letters about her husband, she is not enthused.
Noemi, a flighty, party loving 23 year old in the 1950s, who wants to get her father’s approval to her dreams of attending university considers this as an opportunity to win him over, as well as to help her dear cousin Catalina.
When she first arrives at the ancient, crumbling mansion, the welcome from her cousin’s husband Virgil Doyle and his family is less than lukewarm. She finds out that Catalina’s health, physically and mentally is fragile and the Doyles’ family doctor doesn’t seem helpful.
With frosty and unhelpful relatives and a house that squeaks and creaks at every turn, Noemi begins to believe that her cousin was correct. And it was up to her to save herself and Catalina.
Was she able to do that? What is it about the house that does not let them escape form the rest of the story in Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Book review of Mexican Gothic
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a well written gothic fantasy thriller, leaning more towards fantasy than the thriller part. I had a huge expectations and I was left with a mixed feeling about it.
I really liked the first few pages of the book, but it took me more than fifty pages to actually get into the story. But until the last fifty pages or so, it moves really slow.
I love reading about dysfunctional families and the Doyles were definitely one of them. An aged patriarch who believes in “natural selection” and eugenics, a creepy, manipulative son, a controlling and matronly aunt and shy young man who is interested in fungus definitely wins the title.
If you like atmospheric horror like the Haunted of hill house, you are in for a treat. But being more of a “The Shining” fan, I was drifting off mentally often. Of course, it is definitely a “me” thing.
Apart from Noemi, Francis is the only other character to catch my attention and has some sort of character arc. But I am definitely not sold on their romance and strongly believe that they would be better of as friends. (I dunno why all stories have to have a romantic angle!)
What worked for me
- I liked Noemi and her character development from a socialite who was a brat to a person to a matured young lady was interesting.
- It was interesting to read about Marta and her stories about her ancestors and their culture. I wanted hear more from her about the colonialism and its effect on its Mexican subjects.
- The whole creepy vibe of the mansion and the family is very well done. I felt sorry for the ladies for having stuck into the mess in the first place, even before realizing what it was about.
What may have been better
- Mexican Gothic is definitely a slow burn, it takes about 50% of the book to garner the speed.
- The mystery part is thinly veiled. If you paid close attention, you would stumble upon it quite easily and pretty early on.
Sexual assault(s), incest, murder, cannibalism, death of children, stillbirth, miscarriage, death of parent.
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a must read for the fans of The Haunted hill house and other haunted house mysteries. But if you are someone like me, who wants more action than just the eerie atmosphere, you might find your attention wavering.
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Have you read Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia? Share with me about your favorite haunted house books? What are your recommendations for horror books set in the 1950s? Let us talk.