Book Review: “Mexican Gothic” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I’m sitting here after just finishing this book and I’m trying to get my head in order so I can write about it properly.

Let’s start off with the fact that I am going to try my absolute hardest not to mention any spoilers with this one, but I feel with weird mystery horror books like this, it’s hard not to mention at least something small by accident.

I went into this book knowing nothing about it, like I have with every one of my Fantastic Stranglings book club books so far. I’d never even heard of the author, Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I think I’m starting to prefer it this way — I don’t know anything about the books until I get them in my hands and can read the synopsis on the book jacket. It’s a little refreshing. And what’s even better is that I haven’t seen any of these books pop up on my book blogger feed, either.

Mexican Gothic stars Noemí Taboada, a young Mexican socialite who receives a bizarre letter from her newly-married cousin, begging for her to come visit and help her. Noemí’s father sends her away to her cousin’s house at High Place, passed down through generations of the Doyle family, who came from England long ago. And that’s where things start to get weird.

Without giving too much away, when I did my First Impression Friday post on this book, I discussed the fact that Virgil (the husband) was most likely behind everything and that the weird visions and hallucinations Noemí has been having was probably caused by arsenic or something else in the walls of the old house (I mean, they even have the green arsenic wallpaper on the cover of the book!). My line of thinking was right, in a way, but wrong in so many others.

Overall, the story seemed to go by a little too fast. The book is only 300 pages long, after all – I feel like there was too much exposition in the beginning and not enough slow descent into madness in the latter half. It all happens at once: Noemí wanders around for a bit, and then suddenly everything starts sliding down to hell and I was left wondering Wait, what just happened? There are a few inconsistencies regarding what people are wearing (when the author had taken the time previously to specifically point out an article of clothing and then that article of clothing is replaced by something else the next time she calls attention to that person’s attire), which pulled me out just a little bit from the story.

Did I like this book? Absolutely. I think this is going to have to be one that I read through again (although maybe a little slower next time) so I can try and catch the foreshadowing that I’m sure was there but I was reading so intently in order to see what happens next that I’m sure I missed something. (It’s a bad habit of mine.)

In short, if you like stories that border on the supernatural, stories of women who try to fight and overcome the odds around them, and if you’re okay with a slight suspension of disbelief, I’d say pick this book up. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and almost wish for a sequel to see what happens next to High Place. (Spoiler alert: probably not anything good.) I give this 4/5 stars, and I can’t wait to see what Jenny has in store for the Fantastic Stranglings book club next month.

Have you read Mexican Gothic? What’s your take on it? Did you have any idea that THAT was the twist that was coming? Let me know in the comments!

And as always, keep reading.

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