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Review of Mexican Gothic

Blurb: 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.

Review: High Place is an isolated manor in the Mexican countryside. Not the place Noemí Taboada imagines spending any time, but her newly-wed cousin wrote a strange letter, and she is sent to investigate how severe Catalina's illness is. Noemí is stuck inside a dilapidated house with strict rules and a strange family. She investigates the family and her cousin's illness, but the answers elude her. All the while, nightmares plague her, the horror starts to unveil, and she finds she may be stuck in the house forever.

What a fantastic gothic horror read. It has a grim, haunted house and a strange creepy family with a muddled dark past. There is madness and nightmares and vile characters. The atmosphere is very traditionally gothic horror. Dim lighting, old cemetery, and mute house staff. It is a slow build, with eerie people and their shadowed history. There is almost a Lovecraftian feel to the climatic reveal. Such wonderful detail and stunning horror.

Noemí isn't terribly likable at first. She's a beautiful debutante who has a busy social life, smokes expensive cigarettes, and leads young men on only to cut them out of her affections. Yet as the story goes on, the reader sees her powerful will, her clever mind, and the love she has for her family. She's especially close to Catalina, and she won't give up on her even when it is clear she should really leave High Place. Catalina herself isn't seen often and is very much a passive player in everything. The whole cast of characters adds to the frightening atmosphere. Even poor Catalina who fades in and out of madness. The patriarch is loathsome and his son just as much. The youngest male of the family (youngest being 25), Francis, seems sweet, which only made me all the more suspicious of him.

What a great read for Halloween!

You can find Silvia Moreno-Garcia at her site and buy the book here.

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