After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed 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 Noemi’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.
Love for this book has been splashed across so many places. I’ve seen so much talk about it online and I was intrigued. I thought I’d get to it eventually, but I wasn’t sure when. Though, I found out it was a horror novel. That completely surprised me, but made me want to read it even more. So it got bumped up my list immediately. Trigger warnings: incest, cannabilsm, attempted rape, abuse, body horror, gore
I can definitely see where all the love for this book comes from. It’s something special. While I might not have fallen completely head over heels in love with it, I have to admit that it does so many things incredibly well.
The atmosphere seems to just seep out of this book. It takes place in a dark, moldy, dank, and quiet house. It made me itchy, because of how uncomfortable it is. But it does this in the best possible way. It makes the book immersive, it gives the book a unique feel to it that makes the reading experience all the more interesting. The way people are expected to act in it; the people inhabiting it. The author truly knows how to set a scene.
This book was terrifying. Horrible things are done, horrible things are witnessed, and horrible things are discussed. There were times where all I could do was drop my jaw because things got really disgusting. While intense, it was the kind of terrifying and horrifying that makes a horror book brilliant.
There were a few things that threw me off just a bit. The writing was one of them. It was weird. Sometimes I felt like I could fall right into it, and other times it felt like it was short and at the surface.
I think this also bleed into how I felt about the pacing. I dunno, I feel like I didn’t feel anything about it. I know that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I feel like this is the kind of book where the pacing needs to be something. Really, this is a small and personal thing haha.
And to wrap this up, I’m giving you five reasons I recommend picking this book up! (A new thing I’m trying, let’s see how it works!)
2. There’s so many mushrooms. And even better than that, they’re CREEPY mushrooms.
3. Noemí and Catalina’s familial relationship. I loved much their love for each other shown through and even grew throughout the book.
4. Noemí’s stubbornness. No one tells her what to do and she’ll raise hell if she’s made to do something unjust.
5. The secrets hidden around every corner and the horror that comes from finding out the truth about them.
(That was fun! I feel like I got more feelings out that we’re hard to express in complete sentences or within paragraphs.)
Truly, Mexican Gothic is a book that horrifies. It leans into it dark dankness filled with mushrooms, with a main character stubborn enough to pry out the secrets in the walls.