Cover Image: Mexican Gothic

Mexican Gothic

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Member Reviews

I loved this on so many different levels: the creepy foreshadowing, the atmosphere (!), the insane but also completely satisfying twists and revelations, and the consistent feminist undertone throughout the entire book. With this last, I loved that we got stuff on the more micro level (ie, Noemi's observations of basically every male character's nonsense) and also on the macro level (ie, that basically everything that happens is because of white male power run amok). There were so many great details, and the atmosphere is pitch perfect and incredible. I almost want to read the book again right now just for the scenes of Noemi walking through the graveyard.

I did think that there was some clumsy writing here and there (though mainly in the beginning, before the book finds its' footing in High Place), but honestly my main problem was Francis. His relationship with Noemi just didn't ring true to the rest of the book for me. But even thinking of my issues with him, there's too much good in this book not to recommend it. It is, again, a pitch perfect gothic novel, but with all the satisfying asides and observations I wish had been in the genre to begin with. If you're into creepy manors, creepier families, chilling dreams, and witty protagonists (and mushrooms!), this is your summer read.
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Firstly, this book requires a pretty strong trigger warning for very disturbing scenes of attempted sexual assault.
Secondly, despite the occasional odd tone shifts which happen mid-conversation and seem out of character (which become less frequent as the book goes on), this was an engaging and captivating read. I was intrigued with the characters and wanted to know what was going on with the creepy house. Although at the end most of the loose ends were tied up, and reasonable explanations were given for the mysterious goings-on (within the fantasy Gothic realm this story resides in), I still wasn't entirely satisfied by the end. The ending is left just open enough to keep you thinking about it, and the rest of the details tidied away, but I was still... irked? Perhaps that's the intention, to leave you with the uneasy feeling that has pervaded the story from the beginning.
All in all a good read.
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I NEVER do creepy and this is it. Very well written and being set in the 1950s gave a very specific atmosphere that  was effective. This is a book to keep your eye on. Great descriptions, fleshed out characters. I'm going to definitely be going back into Moreno-Garcia's backlist as well as keeping up with her future novels.
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I was very excited to read this book and was extremely let down. This book is about Noemi, who is sent to check up on her recently married cousin who sends a bizarre letter from her new home, High Place. When Noemi arrives at the house clearly something isn't right. She spends little time with her cousin (which I thought was odd), the family and servants in the house act bizarre, and Noemi has disturbing dreams while visiting. However, Noemi just kind of goes with the flow and does little to try to figure out what is going on. When the "twist" of this book was revealed it completely lost me. The writing was not good enough to keep me engaged and for the last 3rd of the book I just wanted it to end. I would not recommend this book for someone wanting a new spin on a classic gothic tale; I think it is more suitable for fans of horror.
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A perfect example of the gothic mystery, with an updated sensibility that will appeal to the modern reader!  Our heroine, Noemí, is a Mexico City socialite in the 1950s.  She is practiced at the social whirl, and seems to enjoy her frivolous lifestyle, but there are signs that she yearns for something more for herself. When her father receives a desperate and disturbing letter from her newly-married cousin, he asks Noemí to go check on her, in exchange for permission to seek a master's degree.  Noemí sets out for the remote house where her cousin is now living - a grotesque and rotting mansion, built in the English style, on dirt imported from England, by the colonialist, eugenicist family she has married into.  The descriptions are lush and the atmosphere is creepy as hell.  I loved every minute of it!
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This book is an intense, beautiful monster of a novel. Moreno-Garcia's gothic plot is as sharp as a razor and twice as dangerous. Like any good terror, I couldn’t look away. Lush and lyrical writing makes this a vivid, seductive read. The gothic framework is PERFECT for the faded Mexican mining town setting and Noemi is as sharp, stubborn and vividly painted gothic heroine as one could ask for. (Bonus: the dresses! I loved how unapologetically feminine Noemi was to boot.)

I'm never looking at mushrooms the same way again, just sayin'.
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Let me start off by saying that I love gothic novels. I love the atmosphere, the way the characters act. The supernatural element that sometimes is or isn’t. Which meant that I was honestly so excited to get my hands on this book.

Mexican Gothic had all these elements and I was suspicious of everyone right off the bat. Noemi is a young woman who lives in 1950’s Mexico and enjoys the parties and how the world is changing. However, when her father receives a disturbing letter from her cousin, claiming things about poison and ghost, Noemi and her father make a bargain. Noemi leaves for High End, her cousins home to find out what's truly wrong, but once she gets there, the place isn’t anything like she expected.

I feel like there were red flags all over the place and I was at the edge of my seat the entire time wondering how she wasn’t connecting all these dots. Then something would happen and suddenly I was thrown off track and I didn’t know if I was right anymore. Noemi was a stubborn character, and she just knows that something is happening here, even if she doesn’t know what. I love the fact that she wasn’t backing down to the family her cousin married into.

A family that way that was just so wrong. I kept coming to conclusions about every single one of them the more I read. Each one more outrageous than the last, but honestly, I just wanted answers so badly. In the end, this book made me feel so many emotions, anger being the main one. Once I was getting to the ending, I could feel my blood boiling from how angry and upset everything was making me. That only really speaks about the author and how much of an amazing job she did writing this book.
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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 is spelled out.  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 a United States recently at war, and an 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 newly wed.  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 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 show 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.  Ms 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.
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Really appreciated the unique storytelling - the book felt very atmospheric and definitely untilized gothic tropes well.
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Imagine if the fear and madness in The Yellow Wallpaper or the eerie unease of a du Maurier novel actually had supernatural roots. That is what Moreno-Garcia gives us in Mexican Gothic. The novel moves deftly from traditional gothic to gory horror without feeling forced. I really enjoyed this book. It would translate well to the screen!
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