Book Review: Mexican Gothic

The future, she thought, could not be predicted, and the shape of things could not be divined. To think otherwise was absurd. But they were young that morning, and they could cling to hope. Hope that the world could be remade, kinder and sweeter.  — Mexican Gothic

Happy Halloween, friends!

What better way to celebrate Halloween than with a Gothic horror story? Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (978-0525620785) is a tale reminiscent of Emily Bronte and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, with a fantastical horrific twist.

Noemi Taboada is a highly social debutante in 1950 Mexico City. She is cast for the role of unlikely hero when her father sends her to the Mexican countryside to check on the well being and mental state of her cousin, Catalina, after he received a disturbing letter — a letter discussing poison, death, and ghosts.

Strong-willed Noemi arrives to Catalina’s new home, and finds that there is not much she can do for Catalina in the inhospitable house that is High Place, home of the Doyles. Catalina’s husband, Virgil, is, for lack of a better word, a bully, and refuses to seek psychiatric help for his ill wife who speaks of voices and ghosts. Virgil’s father, Howard, the family’s patriarch, finds Noemi beautiful, but inferior because of her race, and does not think highly of her opinion. Virgil’s cousin, Florence, is condescending and overbearing, and finds fault in all that Noemi does, declaring she is reckless. The only ally Noemi finds is through the meek and timid Frances, Virgil’s cousin — but he, too, has secrets.

But the unwelcoming atmosphere is not the most disturbing thing — at night, the house comes to life, invading Noemi’s subconscious and filling her head with awful visions and nightmares. Through a woman in town at the base of the mountain, Noemi learns violent and murderous secrets from the Doyles’ family history. And through her time at High Place, Noemi learns the why behind the madness. But Noemi also learns that one simply does not leave the Doyle family home.

Will Noemi be able to save her cousin and escape High Place?

Y’ALL. The last forty pages had me sitting on the edge of my seat glued to every word! There were some times in the first portion of the novel I felt the pacing was a bit slow, but the latter portion of the book really made up for it. In addition, I was very satisfied with the ending, something I honestly didn’t expect before starting the book.

The themes of family, loyalty, race, and feminism make this book an excellent book club read.

Overall, I give Mexican Gothic 4/5 stars. A wonderfully executed novel, I highly recommend this book to lovers of Gothic horror and exciting thrills. This is the perfect read for lovers of classic Gothic literature and spooky and creepy things.

Grab yourself a cup of Slyther and Sage tea, and tell me what are you reading in honor of Halloween? I would love to know — comment below!


Order Mexican Gothic here!

Published by Kayla E. Green

Kayla E. Green is a school librarian, speculative fiction author, and poet. When she isn’t writing, reading, or going on adventures with her husband, she loves singing loudly and off-key to KLove Radio, snuggling her dogs, and pretending she’s a unicorn. Her award-winning YA fantasy novella, Aivan: The One Truth, and her inspirational poetry collection, Metamorphosis, are now available through book retailers. Kayla also has stories and poems featured in various anthologies. Follow The Unicorn Writer's blog for book reviews, author interviews, writing advice, and more bookish fun!

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