M’s drunk review of Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno Garcia
What I drank prior: I’ve been really into port wine lately, so roughly a bottle of that on my own.
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.
My Summary: At the High Place, a remote estate in ‘50s Mexico, things aren’t all what they seem. But Naomí, a city debutante, is determined to find out the secrets of the house after her recently married cousin sends a mysterious letter questioning her well-being. As she learns more about her cousins situation, she becomes more determined than ever to discover what history lies beneath these walls.
Spoiler-free Thoughts: Perfectly gothic with a Mexican twist. As promised, this book was hella creepy, y’all. And I loved it. Horror gothic gimme gimme gimme. Not always a huge fan of the genre, but where I was at in this particular place and time was perfect.
Characters: Well I absolutely loved Noemí, the main character of the book. She was a little frivolous and a lot of intelligent, which is exactly what I love in my heroines. Honestly the other characters weren’t as fleshed out, but I still got what most of them were all about. I also liked the referenced above family’s youngest son, Francis. He was so sweet, if not terribly, terribly naive. Virgil on the other hand, was the exact opposite. But woof was he a good character. Catalina, the cousin in question, was like so so boring… I feel like she could have been better. And doctor what’s-his-name in the town should have been fleshed out more. I liked him.
Plot: When the book kicks off we meet Noemí, and she’s smarter and more driven than women are supposed to be in upper class 50s Mexico City. When her father (who is never really mentioned again) sends her on a mission to check on her newly married cousin in exchange for being able to study at college, she jumps at the chance.
As she arrives at the estate in rando nowhere Mexico, she immediately feels something is up. From the cold, damp interior of the house to the weird af staff to her cousin acting so much unlike herself. A cousin who she has known virtually all her life. So she decides to stick around to figure out wtf is up,
She goes to town without permission to get a feel for the area, and quickly learns the family at the High Place formerly ran shit, but also ran the town into the ground. Weird, right? As she uncovers more and more, things start getting clearer (in-spite of the insipid fog that seems to surround the estate) and she will stop at nothing to make sure her and her cousin make it out alive. And not insane.
World Building: Best part of the book. The whole thing oozed gothic eeriness and the house was a whole thing on its own. It struggled a little to tie it all together at the end, but I’m not mad.
Writing Style: I don’t even remember at this point. Good enough to not stand out, but also didn’t stand out. Can appreciate that it is under 300 pages and there’s nothing extra in here.
Drink Pairing: I would say a classy tequila cocktail, like Paloma or Tequila Gimlet.
Rating: 3/5 shots. It would not be my first recommendation, but it’s fairly bingeable and pay off is there.