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Profile Image for chai ♡.
322 reviews156k followers
October 1, 2022
Mexican Gothic is a sublime work of post-colonial gothic. It’s a story that unsettled me so effectively I found myself, on more than one occasion, helplessly desperate to claw my way out of my reading experience, to put a merciful distance between me and the words and the bleak and stifling horror that lies within. At the same time, however, I couldn’t. The more I read, the more I wanted to read. I felt utterly, helplessly compelled.

In Mexican Gothic, Moreno-Garcia uses the familiar trappings of the Gothic genre—a house atop the hill, enshrouded in a brew of dark mist; a gently malevolent proprietor, beautiful but cold as a moonbeam; an entrapped woman, once uncontainable and full of life, growing frail as the shaft of a feather; and a looming dread, threatening to press everyone inside softly and heavily to the ground. The author, however, makes ample room to address and interrogate where the genre’s limitations exist and the forces that inform them, showing the reader something viciously, vividly new.

The project of the novel underneath the poignant horror is a deliberate indictment of racism, colonization, class disparity, and abuse in all its forms. It’s a reckoning with history, and a return to the past, like following a path of blood or the pulse of a still-aching wound—and it makes for a sharp and vital undercurrent to the eerie and haunting atmosphere. Through her lucid and eerily sure-footed prose, Moreno-Garcia sinks the reader into a shadow-steeped, fog-drenched world where reality is turned slippery and slick and the past drags on like a nightmare. Her body horror is splashed out in blunt and nauseous detail, and the steady accretion of apprehension is so oppressively potent you can almost feel the watchful, thrumming presence of High Place clawing at your back.

“It wasn’t made for love, the house.”
“Any place is made for love,” she protested.
“Not this place and not us. You look back two, three generations, as far as you can. You won’t find love. We are incapable of such a thing.”

Speaking of, the novel’s setting—High Place—functions as a character in and of itself, so present and embodied and awakened. It’s the home of the eugenics-obsessed Doyle family whose pockets were made rich with gold the labor of Indigenous workers had put there. But the house is a perverse imitation of a home: it is a place where silence yawns like a chasm, cavernous and echoing; a place that is both corrupt and corrupting, a snake devouring its own tail. It's a place consumed by a wrongness so old and so pervasive that it never truly leaves such places. It is embedded in the mold-covered wallpaper, wedged into the supports of the house, needled into every woundlike crevice, humming darkly inside the walls and in the places no one ever ventures.

This wrongness, the novel is careful to illustrate, is as deep-running as roots, spreading through generations like a species of fungus: the result of an endless, unbroken history of brown dreams wrecked and swallowed and devoured for the sake of white people’s wellness, of brown bodies poked and prodded for the innumerable ways in which they could be serviceably consumed, a relentless and hideous abrasion of dignity that is not unfamiliar to many people of color everywhere.

Therein lies the novel's most unforgettable accomplishment: the horror in Mexican Gothic is so poignant, so stark and oppressively bleak precisely because it's recognizable. It’s racism and xenophobia and white supremacy recast as eldritch nastiness. Strip it of that—of the corrupting illness and the dreams choked with dreadful desire and all the things that lurk deep inside, sleepless and eager to have a go—and it’s real, and it’s vicious and brutally jolting in its sheer, inexorable reality.

Horror, as a genre, offers a dim sanctuary: we read horror to escape, to let ourselves feel and exist through the shock and distress and crawling dread, secure in the knowledge that none of it is real, and that we are firmly in control. But there is no relief in waking up from this novel—this is the thing that exists outside your door, darkly reflective on the page, and you can’t escape it.

“There’re heavy places. Places where the air itself is heavy because an evil weighs it down. Sometimes it’s a death, could be it’s something else, but the bad air, it’ll get into your body and it’ll nestle there and weigh you down. That’s what’s wrong with the Doyles of High Place.”

One other triumphant aspect of this novel that I want to talk about lies with its protagonist, Noemí Taboada.

The protagonist of Mexican Gothicc is no one’s damsel in distress, swooning prettily on a lover’s arm. Noemí Taboada is a bold, capable, and carelessly curious socialite hunting fun and living life at full blast in 1950s Mexico. She is a scintillating study in multidimensionally: Noemí can be as sweet as candied almonds, and she can be as sharp and tart as a lemon, and her doggedness in the pursuit of life’s capricious pleasures—fine gowns, fine parties, and fine cigarettes—are matched only by her determination to earn a Master’s degree in anthropology. Noemí has a satisfying vehemence to her, edged with bitter resentment against a world that wants to punish her for her ambition, for the sin of hunger. Because a hungry woman is dangerous: she is undutiful and unpliable and does not accept nor submit to intimidation, humiliation, or exotification. A hungry woman is entirely her own person, answerable to herself, and therefore she is considered “a bitch, and a bitch can hardly do anything: all avenues are closed to her.”

I liked Noemí so much, and rooted for her so feverishly. She is a refreshing protagonist, and a colossally vital one. The author renders her voice as permeable as sand, keeping us pressed close to her mind, feeling the raw edges of her anxiety and the whip-crack urgency of her desperation with a piercing keenness. As a result, the gaslighting and the tender manipulation threaded through the quiet lines of Mexican Gothic—and which Noemí is subject to—become as dreadfully effective as the body horror. The Doyle’s persecution of Noemí—deliberate, unyielding, and sadistic—sought to wear at her sanity like water against stone, to shrink her down to a pliable and docile facsimile of her cousin, and it was so utterly convincing I found myself sweating a little, squirming in my seat in profound discomfort. Even worse, I felt my own certainties unraveling, right alongside Noemí’s. It was profoundly chilling, and I was chilled by it, but I was also impressed. Impressed at the author’s inerrant ability to twist her reader’s feelings like a bit of ribbon, to entrap and tantalize and wrong-foot, to show you all the workings and still make you fall headlong into the shiny trap of it.

At the end, I resurfaced from Mexican Gothic feeling both exhilarated and exhausted with words, sighing with the horrified relief of a hundred pages' worth of held breath finally expelled, but unable to shake off this novel for days afterwards. This is what I've come to recognize as the gorgeous marker of a well-told story: wonderful and terrible and, like a childhood memory, impossible to escape. Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,308 reviews44k followers
March 2, 2022
Yessss! Congratulations! This book won the Goodreads Choice Awards by beating king of the authors ( yes, with so many votes it beat Mr. King’s It Bleeds) !🎉🌈💕🎈🥳🥂

Hell yeah! This deliciously terrifying, gothic adventure will be adapted to Hulu limited series! I cannot wait to binge watch! What an amazing news!🥳🥂💃🏻🕺🏼

OMG! I had no brain right now! The author stole it! I wish she would have put some bravery into my heart because I think I’m not gonna sleep at least for a week and I already brought back Christmas ornaments and enlightened house (I don’t have any idea how much electric bill will coast next month but I’m sure my husband will have the worst scream crying experience of his lifetime.)

This book is insanely terrifying, spin-tingling, horrifying, mind blowing, eyes popping, tear jerker (nope it’s not emotional, you cry like a baby because you realize you just pissed your pants when you were reading it and you’re dying from humiliation! I’ve been there!), paranoid, a dangerous dancing between Mexican folklore, horror stories and Darwin’s theory of natural selection. You want to throw the book and start running outside from your house. ( I took 5 tours around Sunset Boulevard at the rush hour and was saluted by angry drivers’ flipping birds but I didn’t care! Running gave me endorphin and adrenalin I needed.)

Here is the eerie, ominous, petrifying plot of the book:

Noemi is sent to High Place after her father gets an awkward and suspicious letter from her cousin Catalina, recently got married. The letter implied that she’s suffering from a mental illness or there’s something really wrong about her husband Virgil’s mansion. So Noemi goes there to check her cousin’s medical condition and learn the truth hid behind her letter.

But as she takes a few steps to the house, she feels that something is really really wrong about the place : she’s introduced to Virgil’s family resembles us Manson Family meets Adam Family. Yes, they’re completely weird, living by strict rules, having marriages in family, covering the house’s walls with deceased brides. And there is a big tragedy still affects the soul of the house: a daughter kills her family members and commits suicide.

So as a normal person, Noemi should cry for help and run as soon as she meets that eerie people, including control freak, demanding Florence, flirting and nasty Virgil, the maids who act like they swore to silence and don’t forget about Howard reminds us of long time zombie extra of Walking Dead ( I think he’s soul-mate of woman in bath in Shining!) And only normal person of the family is naïve, artistic, shy son of Florence: Francis who loves to talk about fungus.

I’m not gonna give much spoiler but this riveting, heart shattering, blood freezing, scary book has so many alerting elements including ghosts, sleepwalking, violence, bloodshed, disgusting and extreme vulgarity. It’s so different from the first book of the author but if you ask my opinion that did I enjoy it? Of course I truly did! I tested my pain endurance levels. I screamed a lot and I was flabbergasted, speechless at some chapters. And ending, yes it’s volatile, blasting but also satisfying.

This means… here comes another gazillion five stars. But quick note: when you’re reading this book, don’t try to eat your mushroom pizza as like I did. I don’t like to write what happened to me afterwards…

This is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO twisted, unexpected, gory, exhilarating! I don’t know a sequel comes after that! But if author decides to write it, I’d be happily to consume it without thinking a second!

Sooooo much special thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing/Ballantine for sharing this fantastic ARC and making my wish come true in exchange my honest review. And I personally congratulate Silvia Moreno-Garcia for this heart throbbing, extra ordinary book.

Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,483 reviews79k followers
July 27, 2023
"I pray I'll see you again. You must come for me, Noemí. You have to save me."

WHEW. You think you know where this book is going, and then it goes there. Mexican Gothic begins in such an unassuming way, where you think you're walking into a traditional haunted house story, and then everything shifts to pull you under like a riptide that doesn't loosen until you turn the final page. Before I dive into my review, I think it's fair to note that the majority of this book is atmospheric, character driven, and the slowest burn imaginable; for me, this worked spectacularly well, as I love to feel completely absorbed into the narrative in horror novels. And yes friends, this is most definitely a horror novel. I'll include content warnings in a spoiler tag below for those who are interested.

"Noemí's father said she cared too much about her looks and parties to take school seriously, as if a woman could not do two things at once."

Maybe the reason why this slow burn worked so well for me is because I instantly connected with Noemí; she is confident, intelligent, and the life of the party. When her father receives a suspicious letter from Noemí's cousin, Catalina, he sends Noemí to investigate and report back. As expected, everyone involved gets more than they bargained for, and what begins as a handful of unusual occurrences slowly morphs into a whirlwind of horrifying circumstances.

"This house, she was sure, was haunted. She wasn't one for believing in things that go bump in the night either, but right that second she firmly felt every spook and demon and evil thing might be crawling about the earth, like in Catalina's stories."

One of the things I loved the most about this story is how vastly different the haunted house felt. The author has successfully blended the traditional aspects of the old, decrepit, ghost filled residence and a new, more modern aspect, one I won't go into detail of for fear of spoiling the big twist. I think she nailed it on the head when she stated in her Goodreads interview that this book is for the reader who is both classy and trashy, because it has the high entertainment value that fast fiction lovers rejoice in, but it is also filled with beautifully devastating prose. If you, too, have a love affair with all things that go bump in the night, Mexican Gothic should be your top priority this summer. I cannot recommend this book highly enough to those who have a desire to spend long hours in a derelict house and an iron stomach.

"The truth was she was afraid of going to bed, of what nightmares might uncoil in the dark. What did people do after witnessing the horrors they had seen? Was it possible to slip back into normality, to play pretend and go on? She wanted to think this was exactly the case, but she was afraid sleep would prove her wrong."

*Content Warning:

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.
Profile Image for Silvia Moreno-Garcia.
Author 143 books18.3k followers
October 15, 2020

Is there a playlist?
Yes, go to Spotify:

Are there other goodies?
Paper doll PDF:

Book club kit PDF:

Is the town in the book real?
It's inspired by a real town which is called Real del Monte/Mineral del Monte and which was a British mining town and has a very particular kind of architecture. It's nicknamed Little Cornwall. Yes, there is an English cemetery there. Photo:

More info about the British in this region of Mexico:

What state does this take place in?
Hidalgo, which is known for its mountainous terrain.

But I thought Mexico is dry and a desert?
It has varied micro-climates and topography. Real del Monte tends to be colder, very wet during the rainy season and misty, as you can see in this picture:

Fashion-wise, what is Noemi wearing?
Not a poodle skirt! Dior premiered his New Look in 1947, which featured a cinched waist, a very full skirt, and a nod to opulence. Hats would have been small in the early 1950s. Here's more on the 1950s and Dior:

Is Howard named after Lovecraft?
Yes, Howard is named after H.P. Lovecraft. Doyle comes from Arthur Conan Doyle because of his racist depictions in some of his stories and also his interest in paranormal phenomena, including spiritism. And yes, I know Arthur was Scottish and the Doyles are probably from Cornwall (since they moved to the fictional analogue of Real del Monte), but people think Antonio Banderas is Mexican and they cast Welsh actress Catherine Zeta Jone in El Zorro, so what can I say, I took some artistic license there.

Some information on Doyle's racist depictions is here:

Lovecraft's issues have been written extensively about, including in my thesis:


The fungi part of this book is farfetched. Is it based on anything real?
Yes. There is something called 'mycorrhizal networks' which is basically a fungi communications system in forests. There is also something called a hub tree or 'mother tree.' They are the central hubs for the network. It's based in science. Albeit, like any good science fiction, it stretches beyond the boundaries of the stuff we know.
Profile Image for Arini.
857 reviews1,767 followers
July 15, 2021
For as intriguing as it is, immersive it is not. This tale is bizzare and fascinating in its monotony, and in the second half there lies the charm—or the problem, depending on how you look at it.

The book operates on the classic trope of isolated old creaky mansion complete with its misty private cemetery and ‘eccentrically macabre’ family. On the surface, the Doyles look like a harmless and orderly household, but the peculiarity rests (literally) within the walls of the house—its secrets and history, the mind twisting effects it has on the people living inside it.

The characters are described a certain way, and for the most part they are unchanging. I didn’t like Noemí. Someone needs to introduce her to the proverb “when in Rome do as the Romans do” cause she’s annoyingly nonchalant, rude, nosy, distrustful, and sometimes acts like a brat in a place that’s not her home. I had a mild crush on Francis, and I also kinda had the hots for Virgil . . . which I know how not right that sounds considering he’s a creep LOL.

Howard is a disgusting old man, just ew! It’s a shame that Catalina is such a passive character when she’s the reason for Noemí’s visit in the first place.

There’s the barest hint of romance, but its unclear presence makes it pointless. The plot doesn’t take flight until the last 30% to 40% of the book. When it does, it veers into such unexpected direction that it’ll leave you flabbergasted. Because of this drastic shift, it feels like reading two different books where one (the first half) is a tedious mystery/suspense and another (the second half) is an absurd supernatural—borderline fantasy—horror.

The book is set in 1950s Mexico, but the only thing that reflects that is Noemí’s sense of fashion. The Doyles are an English family, and the majority of the book takes place inside the mansion. There are some passing commentary on eugenics, the Revolution, race and gender injustices, etc that aren’t meant to be thought provoking but serve as some sort of ‘ornamentation’ as they lack depth.

In other words, the Mexican culture isn’t prominently realised through the setting nor it is affirmed by the characters. The book could’ve been set in any time period and it wouldn’t have made any difference.

I’d considered why I wasn’t as enamored and mesmerised as the majority of GR readers seemed to be, and I decided it was because I didn’t vibe with the writing. It’s easy to follow, but it’s also . . . dry. The book goes so far as utilizing disturbing themes and graphic scenes, but they are never truly felt. The whole experience for me was like NOT peering through a pair of 3D glasses.

(Read as an Audiobook)
Profile Image for Yun.
521 reviews21.8k followers
September 21, 2022
A dark, chilling atmosphere. A spirited heroine. And a house that never lets its inhabitants go. Sometimes a book hits all the right notes for me, and Mexican Gothic certainly did that.

It starts off with socialite Noemí receiving a cryptic and rambling letter from her newlywed cousin Catalina, hinting that all was not well. Noemí decides to visit her and sets off for the remote estate where Catalina now lives with her new husband and his family. Once there, she immediately becomes plagued with troubling visions and dreams. And as she digs around, she starts to realize that the house and its strange inhabitants are hiding secrets that could ensnare her in their traps.

This story is so moody and atmospheric. There is a chill that permeates the pages, making for a deliciously dark and creepy read. Many books promise this, but in my experience, so few actually deliver, with most falling into silly and eye-rolling territory. But this story got it spot-on. I just wanted to huddle in a comfy blanket with a hot cup of tea, and turn the pages as fast as I could.

The initial pages drew me into the story immediately. From then on, I was riveted, though the middle did slow down a bit in pacing. But then we reach the end, and it was as rewarding and as fun as I could have hoped. I always love a strong, feisty female, so Noemí was right up my alley. I found myself chuckling at her witty comebacks and cheering at her refusal to back down.

One thing I particularly appreciate is that this story attempts to offer a comprehensive explanation for what's going on. It's always disappointing when a tantalizing set up is so good or so outrageous that it can't possibly be explained, so the book proceeds to handwave all previous clues away. But in this case, an explanation that's both unusual and interesting is provided that ties it all together, and as we slowly learn of it throughout the story, it's quite satisfying.

This is the second book I've read by Moreno-Garcia, and I've really enjoyed both. She has definitely become a must-read author for me, and I can't wait to see more from her.

See also, my thoughts on:
Gods of Jade and Shadow
Velvet Was the Night

Profile Image for Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill.
572 reviews618 followers
October 24, 2021
2.5 stars...Yeah I know...this was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. As soon as I found out this would be a BOTM, I grabbed it, I dropped everything I was doing to read it....and well that didn't work out so well.

The premise was amazing. The cover was even more amazing. SO I dug into this book and I waited for it to pick up. I waited, and turned another page and waited....and waited...... Finally I turned to my fellow reviewers at page 200 to see..umm does this pick up? They said yeah wait for it...Okay so it did pick up- at page 250. So the last 50 pages of the book was crammed full of weirdness.

Noemi is living the good life. She is living off daddy's dime and a socialite in Mexico City. Her father makes it clear that she needs to do him a favor and head out to a remote estate that her cousin Catalina is living with her recently acquired husband Virgil. He wants her to check in on her because- well it appears she has lost her mind. She is sending letters home of people living in the walls, claims her husband is poisoning her among other bizarre statements. Sounds intriguing right??? Well I thought so too. I was all in...

Yet when Noemi gets to the estate she is hardly allowed to spend any time with her cousin. She is not allowed to freely roam around or do anything she wants. So why doesn't she just leave? Or take her cousin? Instead the first 250 pages was spent with her mulling around the house and having vivid nightmares. Sure it was creepy but there was no plot. I failed to connect to ANY of the characters because, there just wasn't enough information put forth about them. Trust me, I can take weird. I LOVED Ninth House! I would have given that book 10 stars if Goodreads would let me. That was dark, creepy, weirdness and I loved it.

Personally for me, this book took just too long to take off. When it finally did, it felt like a ton of stuff was jammed into the last 50 pages. It was so bizarre and out there- it just wasn't for me. Don't let my review sway you because there are alot of fantastic reviews out there about this one.
Profile Image for Elle.
158 reviews41 followers
July 17, 2020
Guys I'm sorry to say this but...

...what a dumb fucking book.

I was moments away from abandoning it halfway through (although I wanted to earlier if we're being honest) but I took to Goodreads to see what I was missing, why it was getting such outstanding reviews. The word on the street was 'YES it was totally boring and slow for the first 2/3, but the twist makes it totally worth it.' So, if you came to this review page because you're thinking maybe it's worth your time, I'm here to tell you - it's not.

In fact, let me tell you what the twist is, since you're obviously a curious person.


It's the fungus. The Doyle family is tied to the house because they breathe in the black mold and ingest funky mushrooms in order to kinda become immortal. And they're all connected through it and they can never escape from the house and the oldest patriarch is able to control his family's actions because he is King of the Fungus. Remember M. Night's The Happening and how disappointed and outraged the audience was when they found out it was the trees? YEA. For the record, that plot "twist" still doesn't play out. But don't worry, because the house burns down and all the evil is eradicated (or is it????), a writing trope that is totally original with no story ever ending that way.

Noemi, our lead, was completely unlovable. The writing was repetitive and fraught with dragging, unnecessary detail. When the plot finally started moving (200 pages in), I was so beyond over the whole situation that I didn't care.

I don't get it x 34754. And I'm not normally so effusively cruel, but I just don't want some innocent reader to make the same mistake I did. As we all say, there are too many good books out there.

Oh, did I mention the fungus?
Profile Image for Kat.
270 reviews80k followers
July 12, 2022
This really was some gothic excellence, omg.

Please allow for a small list of all the things that made this story REALLY GOOD imo:

1. The setting!!! High Place’s aesthetic of rotting decadence was exactly the kind of atmosphere I LOVE in horror

2. Noemi!! She was such a headstrong MC and so capable the whole way through. Truly a delight to read about

3. The historical setting! The 1950’s is not a time that I’ve read a lot about, and it was quite interesting. The way the author worked discussions about colonialism, racism, and eugenics into the plot was really well done too.

4. The weirdness! Lots of spooky and gross things going on here. While I did find certain parts of the mystery a bit on the predictable side, there was ultimately so much happening that it kept me engaged & the body horror was TRIPPY!!!
Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews116k followers
November 3, 2020
An atmospheric Gothic horror novel that goes the extra mile with featuring women of color as the protagonists and incorporating race, colonialism, and eugenics as part of the horror. I enjoyed Noemi's flighty and outspoken nature as well; she’s easy to root for as she stands her own against the antagonists.
Profile Image for daph pink ♡ .
948 reviews2,712 followers
January 17, 2022
Congratulations on winning GOODREADS CHOICE AWARDS


there was something so charming and beautiful about the cover that drew me towards it! (I mean just look at this stunning cover and think how beautiful it will look in your bookshelf)

I honestly don’t like Gothic books, it’s like my second Gothic book (after a failed attempt to read Wuthering heights for like 1000 times.) and ohhh boyyy I freaking loved it. Like a 5 star rating is less to describe how much I loved this book!

Once in a while a book is published that you can’t stop thinking about and you keep pursuing your kith and kin to read it, this is one such book for me.


Because it will scare the shit out of you, you will be afraid of your own shadow, it will make your blood run cold, your soul will jump out of your skin, your heart will miss a beat and you will be scared out of your wits!

But at the same time there is something so beautiful about its creepiness that you will find it engrossing, captivating, absorbing, riveting, consuming and addictive that you not be able to put it down despite the fact that it scared the daylights out of you!!!!

The phenomenal idea of blending the old, nasty and haunted house stories with the modern aspect of eugenics, Darwin’s theory of natural selection, concept of inferior and superior traits and that whole idea of fungal association with humans forming gloom, I mean I have read about symbiosis and mycorrhiza but wtf is this, I mean who in right mind can think this! The author is crazy (good crazy).

*adding author to fav authors list.(well not yet maybe!)
*adding book to my fav book list.


Atmospheric :- the beautiful picture the author paints of the high place will make you fall in love with the place despite the fact that you can’t leave it.

Characters :- the confident, intelligent and life of the party Noemi, artistic, shy and lover of mushrooms Francis ,flirting, nasty and dangerous Virgil , controlling ,demandingFlorence and head of the house MR. DOYLE( let’s just leave him, mere thinking about his name give me chills) .

Slowest burning romance

dicey situation and twists

This is the first book by this author and it’s definitely not going to be the last. She owns my heart and head (mentally decided to read everything written by her)

And definitely going to reread this book again and again till it stops scaring the shit out of me and ik that’s never going to happen..

I can’t wait for the day I will be able to buy this book and take in the smell of it, the day this beautiful piece of art will adore my bookshelf!

Not recommend for everyone because you need patience if you truly want to enjoy the book because its slow paced in first half but it’s worth it because the second half will make you fall in love with this book!

TW:- sexual assault, incest, murder, cannibalism, death of parent, death of children, stillbirth, miscarriage.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,615 reviews10.7k followers
September 29, 2023

When Neomi Taboada's father enlists her help to check on her cousin, Catalina, she really doesn't want to. Neomi's got so much going on in the city. She doesn't have time for this!

Catalina, recently married, lives in a remote manor home, known as High Place, with her husband, Virgil and his family, far from the bustle of Mexico City.

According to Catalina's recent letters, the home is a desolate place, where she is currently either very unwell, purportedly with tuberculosis, or she's in incredible danger.

Mr. Taboada is insistent that Neomi should go check on her. When his persistent urging doesn't work, he does what any good parent would do. He bribes her instead.

Neomi wants nothing more than to attend University, so that's exactly the carrot he dangles in front of her. Her father knows her well.

Before she even realizes what's happening, Neomi is packing her bags and heading off to High Place.

Once there, Neomi immediately feels at odds with Virgil's stuffy, overly-proper family. She is a modern, society-girl, who is used to having her own way, or at least being able to have a conversation over dinner.

In addition to the regimented, claustrophobic feel of the house itself, Neomi begins feeling spooked by Virgil's family and starts experiencing vivid nightmares. Something is going on in this house.

Her interactions with Virgil and his family get more disturbing as the days go by, until Neomi doesn't fear just for Catalina's well-being, but also her own.

Y'all, I was highly anticipating this novel. I have really enjoyed previous works from Moreno-Garcia and the gothic vibes of this are totally my jam.

While there is no denying that Moreno-Garcia's writing is lush and captivating, something about the pace of this one was off for me.

The premise is super intriguing, the atmosphere was top notch, but the characters were not as well developed as I would have liked. I feel like I should have been attached to Neomi, but I wasn't.

The horror elements were interesting; definitely unique. I found the ideas behind that aspect alluring, for sure.

There were also scenes that legit grossed me out. I may even have gagged once or twice. Uncle Howard is horrifying. The descriptions. I had to take a shower after.

Overall, for me, this is a good book, bordering on really good. I think if the pace wasn't so variant from quiet lulls to extreme intensity, I would have enjoyed it more.

I hope that Moreno-Garcia continues in this lane though. This gothic horror is fantastic for her writing style. I'm on board for anything else she writes, believe that.

Profile Image for Melissa ~ Bantering Books.
250 reviews998 followers
February 6, 2021
Be sure to visit Bantering Books to read all my latest reviews.

Hmm. How best to describe “Mexican Gothic?”

I guess I would say it’s –

A little bit H. P. Lovecraft.
A little bit Alfred Hitchcock.
A lotta bit creepy old house.

Yes. Mexican Gothic is part mystery. It’s part Gothic suspense. It’s part horror. Maybe even part New Weird. (Maybe.) And all its various parts are expertly and seamlessly blended by the skillful words of Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

Set in 1950s Mexico, the novel follows the young socialite, Noemi Taboada, as she travels to High Place, an old mansion in the countryside, to visit her newly married cousin, Catalina. Concerned for her cousin’s welfare after receiving a disturbingly odd letter from Catalina, Noemi is uncertain as to what she will find at the house upon her arrival.

Noemi quickly learns that not only is High Place dreary and decrepit, but it is inhabited by the highly peculiar and unusual Doyle family. Determined to help her cousin, Noemi refuses to be intimidated by the members of Catalina’s married-into family – namely, the enigmatic Virgil, her cousin’s husband, and Howard, the elderly Doyle patriarch who develops a weird obsession with Noemi, herself. And she also fails to be frightened by High Place, even as the house begins to occupy and fill her dreams with disturbing, unimaginable scenes of horrifying violence.

Before long, Noemi discovers that many dark and shocking secrets hide among the Doyles and the confines of High Place. She can only hope that it’s not too late to save Catalina, and herself, from the clutches of the family and the house.

I think Moreno-Garcia took a bit of a risk with Mexican Gothic. Many genres are crossed and bent in order for her to successfully and innovatively twist the classic Gothic haunted house story. In the hands of a lesser writer, I believe the novel would’ve likely fallen flat on its face. But Moreno-Garcia is certainly not a lesser writer. And her gamble pays off handsomely.

The novel is incredibly atmospheric and eerie. Moreno-Garcia’s writing is so vividly descriptive, and she creates an environment on the page that is almost claustrophobic to read. High Place comes to life – I could visualize the colors and the tapestries, smell the decay, feel the dampness of the hallways. I felt as if I was within the walls of the old mansion, right alongside Noemi. Moreno-Garcia also employs more of a classic style of writing that, to me, is very reminiscent of the 1950s and serves to further set the scene, creating a feeling of being swept back in time to a different era.

Moreover, Moreno-Garcia takes her time developing the story and refuses to rush the narrative. The pace, admittedly, is slightly sluggish in the beginning of the novel, but not ever was I bored. I found the slow build of the creep factor, the gradually escalating strangeness of High Place to be quite effective.

But in terms of horror, Mexican Gothic is not what I would consider to be truly frightening. It stimulates a different kind of terror in the reader. It’s more of a chilling, grotesque, sickening, shudder-inducing, Lovecraft and New Weird type of horror, rather than an I-need-to-leave-all-the-lights-on-to-go-to-sleep-because-I’m-so-scared type of horror.

And Noemi – I enjoyed her immensely. She’s smart. She’s brave. She’s witty. She’s also extremely self-absorbed and superficial, but she shows true concern for Catalina and genuinely desires to help her. She has a strong heart. Moreno-Garcia puts forth great effort to develop Noemi fully, resulting in a very well-rounded character.

But the Doyle family – well-rounded, they are not. All we truly know about Virgil, Howard, and the cousins, Florence and Francis, is that they are certifiably creepy and highly odd. Occasionally, we are given details about their past histories to fill in the gaps. For the most part, however, they come across as extremely flat, one-dimensional individuals.

You know what, though? The flat characterization still works, for some reason. I believe it has something to do with the overall classic horror film feel of Mexican Gothic and all the Alfred Hitchcock vibes the story radiates. In my mind while reading, I repeatedly envisioned Hitchcock turning the narrative into a movie. And the flat, almost distant characterization of the Doyle family seems to fit the novel if viewing it from the standpoint of an old-school scary movie. (Make sense? Hope so.)

Now, for my one complaint – the mystery regarding the origin of the supernatural phenomena and illness at High Place is just too simple for the reader to solve. It is glaringly obvious if close attention is paid. Moreno-Garcia neither hides her hand well, nor bluffs the reader. By the time I was a quarter of the way through the book, I knew the how and why of all the madness, and I was mildly disappointed that the secret of the source was not more heavily veiled.

Sigh. Perfection is difficult to come by, isn’t it?

As imperfect as it may be, Mexican Gothic is nonetheless a terrific read. I loved it. And I highly recommend it.

Bantering Books
Profile Image for Taylor Reid.
Author 22 books162k followers
August 27, 2020
This book is wild in the absolute best way. It’s haunting and creepy but so readable. And what I love most about it is that, as the story unfolds—with more and more bizarre details—you find yourself wondering over and over “what on earth is going on?!?”. And I could not have guessed what was actually going on in a million years.
March 22, 2020

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DNF @ p.84

I am actually a huge fan of retro Gothic novels from the 60s and 70s, so when I found out about MEXICAN GOTHIC, a Latinx take on the popular Gothic novel subgenre, I was pee-in-my-pants excited. Just look at that cover! OMG. Stunning.

Sadly, the cover is the best thing about this book. It was SO BORING. Noemi is a socialite whose father doesn't approve of her superficial ways. She goes to see her cousin in the countryside after receiving a mysterious and paranoid-sounding letter about poison and danger-- it sounds like she might fear her husband and his family! Right away, things are... well, not creepy, but definitely not like home. One of the older relatives is a fan of eugenics, the house is creaky and old, and Noemi has strange nightmares every night. Oh, and her cousin has tuberculosis and might be going mad... or maybe not.

This had the perfect recipe for a good book but the writing plodded and it was just so uninteresting to me. Wooden, I think, is the term I'm looking for. I had the same problem with THE SEVEN AND A HALF DEATHS OF EVELYN HARDCASTLE, a book that purported to be an engaging mystery but ended up being wooden and kind of lame.

Giving this two stars since I feel I could probably find it OK if I forced myself through it, but as tedious as this is, why bother? I have other things to read during this period of self-quarantine that aren't going to make me fall asleep.

Thanks to Netgalley/the publisher for the review copy!

1.5 stars
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.6k followers
September 22, 2020
well, wasnt this just a spooky little story?! i knew i should have saved this for next month.

fans of gothic stories will swoon over this. its so atmospheric. the old mansion, the creepy family who lives there, the lush mexican countryside. i was honestly really, really enjoying myself up until the near end.

the turn of events were a little too… unrealistic for me, i suppose. i wanted to gasp in shock but i ended up just rolling my eyes. i know the way things play out wont bother some readers, and it does fit the feel/vibe of the story, but something about it all was underwhelming for me. which is why im not rating this higher.

but again, gothic fans will love and this and i have no problem recommending this to people wanting the spooky autumnal feel.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for  Teodora .
331 reviews1,771 followers
September 26, 2023
4.75/5 ⭐

Full review on my blog: The Dacian She-Wolf 🐺

Wow. I wasn’t expecting this to go in that direction.
Colour me impressed.

Mexican Gothic is the second book I read by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (the other one being Gods of Jade and Shadow ). All I can say is that even though I liked that book too, this one was so much better.

It’s. So. Good.
And I mean it.

Yes, it started slow. Very slow. Bordering-painful slow. I didn’t actually think that I was going to enjoy it this much after that beginning but after a while, the action started to pick up a bit of speed to a crazy rate and the creepiness that I was promised popped out just as it should. And I loved that with my whole black soul.

It turned out to be intelligent and supernatural and I honestly appreciate it even more, thinking of it in retrospective.
“They said, in dusty little towns around the country, that witches could turn into balls of fire and fly through the air.”

The title of the book is in perfect harmony with the constructed world and atmosphere, containing the essence of the book and the approached theme.

There are several symbols scattered around the book – the leitmotif being the snake biting its own tail and its hidden meaning.

Psychological and parapsychological elements are also in a fair amount exposed along the plotline as well as elements and ideas of anthropological, botanical and mystical matter; Freudian theories too. So, mainly, twisted beliefs and actions (because let’s be real, Freud wasn’t entirely right in the head).


I had a hard time dealing with the characters, but I do believe that this was the whole idea of it.

The main character, Noemí, was at first the little spoiled brat, daddy’s little wild girl who got away with everything and I thought I wasn’t going to enjoy this. But slowly she changed and I somehow realised that she wasn’t that bad after all.

I, however, couldn’t deal with the Doyle family. Each and every one of them was stepping on my sensitive nerves because they were terribly obnoxious and I felt like throwing up every single time one of them was taking in a breath and then they let it out. Couldn’t they hold that in there until they turned blue?

I do get that this was their point, but ugh.

Collectively, they had superiority complexes, god complexes, racist ideals and twisted rules to follow, disgusting – perfect eradication material. They awoke in me a feeling of deep hatred that I haven’t felt in a while. And they deserved every bit of it.

All of them – except one: Francis.

He was so obviously put there to suffer. And he accepted his fate. And that, in my opinion, was so sad and unfair. He was such a gentle heart, awkward and passionate about things like mushrooms and plants. He was unusual, uncomfortable, but all he ever needed was a bit of love and appreciation. A bit of freedom.

Francis reminded me of a Tim Burton character. That’s the impression he had on me. I could be wrong, but who cares? The portrait is already in my head.


After page 200 (with a great deal of approximation on my part) everything turns into a bleeding mess. One character in particular starts even having serious daddy fantasies – which, pardon me, is disturbing.

Everything gets sicker and sicker by the page, everything rushed and heart-pounding murderous. Nothing is normal anymore, nothing is easy to deal anymore, nothing and no one is sane anymore. It actually gave me some slight The Shining vibes, but maybe that was just me, who knows?

All in all, that was a very interesting book to experience – the ending was indeed on fast-forward at some point, but then the action hit the breaks and at the very ending, there was a somehow happy ending that I was – purely honest – waiting for.

For real now, don’t you love it when there’s a happy ending after a slightly traumatic experience?
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews157k followers
January 5, 2021

Just posted my Goodreads Choice 2020 Reaction Video on Booktube! Click the link to check it out!!
The Written Review

4.5 stars
To be frank - this one was GORGEOUS.

Like my life will never be the same level of beauty.

The atmosphere, the setting, the characters. It was - to be frank - amazing. I loved it.

Thank goodness I saw it on the GRs Choice awards!

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for Julie .
4,078 reviews59k followers
May 13, 2020
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a 2020 Del Rey publication.

An exciting new approach to Gothic Horror fiction!

I rarely ever comment on a book cover- but this one is stunning! It’s an eye-catcher for sure- but you know what they say about judging a book by its cover. So, the question is- Does the story measure up to that magnificent cover?

Mexico City- 1950s

Noemí Taboada, a young socialite, who wishes to achieve more in her life than marrying a man her father approves of, is given the chance to secure her dreams of attending university, if she will travel to “High Place” to check on her cousin, Catalina, who has been writing strange, alarming letters, suggesting she is either quite ill or in grave danger.

Upon her arrival to the crumbling mansion, Noemi receives a very frosty greeting from Catalina’s husband, Virgil, and the limited staff. Even more disconcerting to Noemi, is her cousin’s fragility, and the fierce opposition others have to Noemi’s spending time alone with Catalina.
Capping things off is the house itself- which offers no modern accommodations, not even common basics, and appears to be rotting at the seams. If that isn’t unsettling enough for you- wait until you get a load of Virgil’s ancient Uncle Howard!!

Almost immediately, Noemi begins having extremely vivid, highly sexual, and lurid dreams or hallucinations. Virgil shrugs this off as ‘sleepwalking’ episodes. However, as time passes, the atmosphere in the house becomes even more claustrophobic, and the staff’s demeanor never thaws toward Noemi. One would think they were trying to scare Noemi away, but instead they are becoming more and more insistent that she remains in the house….

As horrifying as that prospect might be, Noemi is also intrigued- by the legends, Virgil, and with the youngest member of the family, Francis- the only friendly face on the entire estate. With Francis’ reluctant help, Noemi is determined to learn the history of the region and to free her cousin from the grasp of her oddly mesmerizing husband and the curse of 'High Place'.

This is one super creepy novel! The atmosphere is off the charts spooky and the imagery is incredibly vivid. The blurb calls this a ‘re-imagining of the classic Gothic suspense novel’. Go with that description and think about what that word ‘re-imagining’ might mean.

This book has been compared to ‘Rebecca’ by publicists, promoters, and editorial or professional reviewers. Naturally, I’m going to have to agree to disagree about that comparison. Why? Both novels are, without a doubt, Gothic literature. But… I never viewed “Rebecca” as a horror novel. The supernatural tones one senses in that novel, is not at all like what one will experience when reading this novel.

If I could rewrite the blurb, I would substitute the word ‘Suspense’ with the word “Horror”. The book is very suspenseful, but you are getting a true horror novel experience here, and not one that is merely implied.

While ‘re-imagining’ is a great way to describe this modern spin on the classic genre, in more ways than one it is pure traditional Gothic Horror!!

The author did a fabulous job marrying Gothic and Horror, creating a complex and hypnotizing tone, keeping me glued to the pages- especially during the last quarter of the book. That said, keep in mind that Gothic fiction is not known for its blistering pace. However, I felt like this one moved along at a nice clip, despite a lag here and there.

It’s dark and ghastly, replete with classic Gothic Grotesquerie, and lots of mind tripping chills and thrills, plus, a little bit of romance for balance and lightness.

Overall, this is the best Gothic horror novel I’ve read in ages!
Profile Image for Olivia (Stories For Coffee).
610 reviews5,658 followers
June 24, 2020
Maybe a 2.5 STARS?

Mexican Gothic held so much promise but couldn’t quite deliver its gory, on-the-edge-of-my-seat gothic thriller I thought I would receive. While the premise was fascinating and sucked me right in, I had to drag my way through the initial 1/3 of the novel before I finally found myself in the groove of the story.

One of Mexican Gothic’s biggest weakness was the fact that we always stayed pretty surface level in terms of characterization and plot. Noemí shows up at High Place in hopes of checking in on her cousin, the driving force of the plot, who claimed this cryptic family she married into was hurting her, but we never actually get to know her cousin besides some superficial facts about her. I would have loved to have heard stories from her to learn more about her experiences in the High Place, but instead, she is pushed to the background of the plot and only appears a handful of times.

Also, I have to say that the romance wasn’t necessary to the plotline. There was little to no chemistry between the two characters who fall for one another during dire circumstances, and for once, I have to admit that their romance wasn’t believable nor was it very interesting to read.

I was very excited for Mexican Gothic, but I’m sad to say that the story fell flat for me and failed to deliver. I simply wasn’t intrigued by the story, the writing style was tough to get through, and the characters were very 1 dimensional, leaving space between me, the reader, and the story that I wish could have sucked me in.

Profile Image for Danielle.
832 reviews451 followers
September 29, 2020
Okay... I had no business picking up this book. Don’t let the beautiful cover and enchanting title fool you. This is a true HORROR novel. 😬😱🤮 This is not a genre I read, because I’m a big baby with gore and... I don’t know... eating babies 😳 o.m.f.g. 🤦🏼‍♀️ sprinkle in sexual assault and description of black oozing boils on the skin 🤢 I honestly can’t believe I made it through this whole thing. Happy Haunting Month! 🎃
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,199 reviews3,044 followers
October 14, 2021
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Author), Frankie Corzo (Narrator)

When this book first caught my eye, I read reviews of the ARCs and decided it might be too creepy and full of disgusting body fluids and oddities for me. But that beautiful cover and the weirdness of what might be in the story keep on calling to me, leading me to give the audiobook a listen. I stuck with it despite the grossness of this strange story but I will avoid stories like this one, in the future.

In 1950s Mexico, young, rich, party girl, Noemí Taboada makes the journey to remote High Place, a very old mansion, infested with the rot of the dead and dying plant matter and people of the past. Neomi's sick cousin has sent a confusing note begging to be rescued from High Place and an unknown oppressor. Noemi's father urges Neomi to travel to High Place and check on her cousin, with the admonishment that if she doesn't do so he will cut off funding for her masters degree. 

Once at the foreboding mansion, among the creepy people, fungus and mold infesting every inch of the walls and grounds, Noemi knows that things are very wrong. She has dreams, hallucinations, and hears voices talking to her. The only member of the family her cousin married into that she might be able to trust is a weak young man, cowed by his strong elders. Once we learn what is going on, the story is very repulsive. Up until so much body horror and sacrifice was revealed, I was enjoying the eeriness of the entire situation. This story is for lovers of horror and things most gross but not for me. I have only myself to blame for reading a book that obviously was not a good choice for me. 

Published June 30th 2020
Profile Image for mina reads™️.
544 reviews7,024 followers
January 26, 2021
pre release thoughts: A gothic suspense novel set in 1950s Mexico? My body is ready 🤩🤩

Review: 7/18/2020

3.5 stars
what the fuckkkkkk
I don't know how to feel about this book but it certainly took me on a wild ass ride.

This story follows Noemi, a flighty, party-going 22 year old who is enlisted by her father to check in on an older cousin, Catalina, who has been whisked away by her mysterious husband and has sent very troubing letters that leave her family members questioning her safety and sanity.

The language and imagery in this was really evocative, Moreno-Garcia's writing style perfectly suited this gothic story. As much as the english major in me was loving the writing I did find myself incredibly bored during the first 100 or so pages of this story and I struggled immensely to feel connected to this story and our protagonist Noemi at first. It really seemed like we kept getting a repetitive collection of scenes and I was so bored with it.

Then things changed immensely after that first hundred pages and I honestly cannot even begin to discuss how swiftly this story changed from the tried and trite gothic tale with the misty, decrepit mansion full of kooky occupants and transitioned into something so uniquely creepy, it made my skin crawl. From the point of the initial reveal onward I felt myself frantically flipping the pages seeking answers to the millions of questions this story raises. I found myself feeling just as confused and tormented as our protagonist and it was quite the experience to say the least, and I won't spoil that adventure for you.

However, I did feel that the exceptionally slow start and also the romance that blossoms in this story did lessen my experience a bit. The romance just felt a bit unnecessary to me and there was no romantic chemistry between these two characters, only shared trauma, why couldn't they just be friends???

Also here's the content warnings which will be considered spoilers to some so avoid if you don't need them

cw: sexual assault, incest, body horror, cannabalism, infanticide, murder

arc provided in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for emma.
1,869 reviews54.6k followers
November 18, 2020
As an allegory for colonization and its impact on the colonized, this is stunning and gorgeous and I enjoy analyzing it in spare moments, like when I'm tired of working or am eating a cookie that is not so delicious as to require my full attention or am in the shower.

As a story in and of itself, I did not enjoy it. But who cares.

The writing style of this was pretty stilted, in my opinion (and I kept catching myself doing that nightmarish thing where I feel obligated to rewrite awkward sentences), but again - basically beside the point.

Weird that in many ways this was absolutely not my cup of tea, and yet there's no way I'd even consider giving it under four stars.

Bottom line: I love a text I can really think about!!


spooky season spooky season spooky season spooky season spooky season spooky season
Profile Image for Nataliya.
784 reviews12.5k followers
April 18, 2021
Well, there’s one kind of food I’ll stay away from for a while after reading this book.
“So I’ll be wed in the Church of the Holy Incestuous Mushroom?” she intoned. “I doubt that’s valid.”
Mexican Gothic is set in a strange place - an old decrepit English manor house built by the English owners of the now-defunct silver mine, the English who despite living in Mexico for 70 years are dead-set on keeping everything in their small remote dreary domain as *English* as possible, down to the soil that the family patriarch brought with him from England to Mexico. In High Place it’s not really Mexico in the 1950s; it’s gloomy gothic claustrophobic Wuthering Heights-style Old World, complete with the creepy dying patriarch spouting eugenics while not ogling young ladies. The strange uptight and very creepy, once rich but now declining Doyle family inhabits the manor, the damp and moldy house where mushrooms might as well grow out of the walls.
“Treasure troves from their vault, carefully placed in crates, just like the dark earth Howard had packed, so that they might reassemble the world where they’d reigned as masters.”

This is now the family and the house of Noemí’s cousin Catalina who married Virgil Doyle, the heir to the Doyle’s diminished fortunes. And things are not fine with Catalina, based on the frantic and seemingly deranged letter she mails to her family back in Mexico City. And so, wary of possible madness/divorce scandal, Noemí - a heiress, socialite and inspiring anthropologist - is sent by her rich father to figure out what in the world is going on with her cousin.
“Noemí, like any good socialite, shopped at the Palacio de Hierro, painted her lips with Elizabeth Arden lipstick, owned a couple of very fine furs, spoke English with remarkable ease, courtesy of the nuns at the Monserrat—a private school, of course—and was expected to devote her time to the twin pursuits of leisure and husband hunting.”

Noemí Taboada is a practical and far from naive young woman, although certainly vain and self-absorbed. In the country where women wouldn’t be even able to vote for three more years, she relies on things she can control - her social status, her looks, her desirability. She hopes to advance her education, but can’t do it without her father’s permission - which hinges on her successfully solving the predicament of her cousin Catalina’s likely madness. And Noemí is also curious and very stubborn, and not too likely to unquestionably put up with Doyles’ stifling and conceited rule-abundant strict strangeness.
“This house is sick with rot, stinks of decay, brims with every single evil and cruel sentiment. I have tried to hold on to my wits, to keep this foulness away but I cannot and I find myself losing track of time and thoughts. Please. Please. They are cruel and unkind and they will not let me go. I bar my door but still they come, they whisper at nights and I am so afraid of these restless dead, these ghosts, fleshless things.”

Like any gothic novel worth its name, Mexican Gothic delivers a creepy haunted house, a remote isolated dreary location, a plucky heroine in danger, an old family full of dark secrets, the past that is buried not as deep as one would wish, a terrifyingly creepy lady running the dilapidated mansion, cemeteries and ghosts, disturbing dreams, a touch of unsettling eroticism (here quickly proceeding to sexual assault), and enough creepy galore to last for a while. Let’s just say that there are certain foods that I feel uneasy eating after finishing this book.
“Noemí, just because there are no ghosts it doesn’t mean you can’t be haunted. Nor that you shouldn’t fear the haunting.”
The haunted house mystery is done quite well. Well, maybe not as much the actual mystery part - there’s no reason why by at least the halfway point you wouldn’t figure out at least some of the reasons for all the strangeness in the house and the family - but certainly the atmosphere is captured perfectly. The suffocating damp gloom of the stuffy decrepit mansion, the moldy remains of former splendor, the rotting books and tarnished silver, the oppressive silence, the entire dreary existence of the corner of the world clinging on to colonialism and vestiges of power and perceived superiority over the people and their land. The dismissive attitude towards those thought of as “inferior” (“You are much darker than your cousin, Miss Taboada”, nastily observes Howard Doyle, and proceeds to inquire, “What are your thoughts on the intermingling of superior and inferior types?”). The increasingly vivid descriptions of the grotesque as we are getting closer and closer to the climax and resolution.
“A body. That’s what they all were to them. The bodies of miners in the cemetery, the bodies of women who gave birth to their children, and the bodies of those children who were simply the fresh skin of the snake. And there on the bed lay the body that mattered. The father.”
It gets quite sinister and not shy on the grotesque. It maintains the sense of unease throughout, feeling strange and haunted and surreal. It also smartly touches on the more “everyday” issues of exploitation, misogyny and eugenics, clashing the pseudo-Victorian sensibilities with more modern - although on their way to become antiquated as well - sensibilities.

Mexican Gothic combines the classic feel of the gothic haunted house story with the refreshing modern take on it. It’s certainly entertaining and made me interested in checking out other works by Moreno-Garcia. Also, no mushrooms on my pizza, thank you very much. And now I’m off checking my walls for any traces of mold.

3.5 - 4 stars, rounding up.


My Hugo and Nebula Awards Reading Project 2021:
Profile Image for Reading_ Tamishly.
4,458 reviews2,406 followers
March 26, 2023
I was so enjoying this book until the first 60 percent.

And then what the hell was that with all that plot concept and the unnecessary repetitive scenes?

I mean what the actual beep?

The writing is really good. The story started out really good!

The characters had a strong mystery vibe surrounding them.

It was so good.

Until it made me want to kick every microorganism's butt!

The explanation for all that's happening is meant to be bizarre, terrifying and creepy.

But heck, it didn't deliver in any.

It's just that there wasn't a boring moment in the first half and I was totally into the book that I wasn't able to do anything ever since I started reading the book.

I wish the plot had a better plot concept and plot twist.

It was like I was reading the season 2 of a TV series that no one cares anymore because the first season was a big hit.

This book could have ended much, much, much better!

I mean I was hooked with all that different mysterious characters, the suspense, the cousin who was hiding a big thing, the mystery vibes and all the fungi, mushroom, mold and creepy housemaids.

The last few chapters read like a badly written middle grade mystery book. I seriously cannot believe the book turned out like this 🤦

In the end, it turned out to be rather too convenient for the main character.
The other characters ended as some kind of joke.

They were intimidating at the beginning but I began to see them as Casper (sorry, my cutest ghost love!🤧 I don't know any other nonscary ghost reference!) who were rather annoying and being perverts at best but not terrifying or creepy as they were meant to.

The character of Virgil was robotic.

The character of Howard was disgusting. Not disgusting good as in fun reading for such kind of books but damn plain disgusting.

The character of Catalina was like a bomb which everyone got terrified of but ended up as an almost useless disco ball.

And let's not pretend that this character represented Some mental health conditions as the story hinted but no. It didn't and it cannot.

And the main character? She was like a totally different person like her mind got switched off from 50 percent of the book onwards. Nothing much happened after that.

And I was bored out of my mind towards the end and I just didn't care who that more than a few centuries old pervert was trying to mate with or who Virgil was going to rape. Because it's freaking boring because of the plot reveal. It was really lame to be honest. It just was because of the sudden shift in the writing style. It could have worked out fine but it seems like the author got bored and just had to finish up the book whatsoever.

However, I read the book till the last page.

But this book left me so disappointed.

*TW: incest, sexual assault, strong language, sexist remarks, graphic scenes

***One of the worse books with the worse character development because it didn't happen at all.

***Worse romance couples in fiction if there's romance at all between Francis and Noemí

The ending was so cringy. Bad cheesy cringy.

Profile Image for Regina.
1,136 reviews3,331 followers
October 12, 2021
If I had a dollar for every time I wanted to read a book because of its irresistible paper doll collection… I’d have a dollar. Just look at these beauties!

Okay, so maybe I had a few more motivations to pick up Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic. The cover (obviously). The horror genre, perfect for spooky Halloween reading season. The #ownvoices authorship during October National Hispanic Heritage Month. The 2020 Goodreads Choice Award win for Best Horror Novel (beating out the King). The planned Hulu-series adaptation (in early stages of development). The FOMO, because it seems like I’m the last person to have read the darn book.

Now that I have read it, the paper doll collection is still my favorite thing about it. I loved the premise - It’s 1950s Mexico, and high society Noemí goes to a big ol’ creepy house in the country to check in on her cousin who’s written to say she needs help. After a bit of a slog setting up the moodiest of moody moods, things get a little bit crazy and a whole lot gross. They also stayed pretty boring for this here reader.

I’m glad to have read it to finally know what the fuss is about. Moreno-Garcia is a gifted writer possessing a unique way with words. I just don’t think she’s the right writer for me. And with that, I’m off to print and play with some dolls and dresses.

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