Mexican Gothic is a wonderfully lush, and haunting novel, embracing all the familiar tropes of the Gothic genre, romance, the old dark house, family secrets, and the hints of something preter- or supernatural all juxtaposed into Mexico of the 1950s.
We’re introduced to Noemi, a vivacious, smart, stubborn, flirtatious young woman who is still looking for her place in life, as well as the direction she wants that life to take. Her father, who is a little tired of her escapades in the city has a bit of a task for her.
It seems he’s received a letter from Noemi’s cousin Catalina, who hadn’t really been heard from since her marriage to Virgil Doyle, and relocated to their country house, a mansion near an abandoned silver mine known as High Place. Her letter makes claims of the home being haunted, that there are voices in the walls, and Noemi and her father worry about Catalina’s health.
So, Noemi sets off, and meets the residents of High Place, the Doyle family, from the troubling patriarch Howard to Catalina’s charming but frightening husband, Virgil, and the rest of the family, none of whom seem happy to have her there.
Catalina is almost catatonic, though with brief reappearances of her former self, and Noemi begins to worry for her cousin even as her outspoken behaviour clashes with the strict guidelines of the family and their household.
There are secrets in the walls, something walks the halls, and perhaps Catalina’s letter wasn’t that far off from the truth, but in a way that neither she nor Noemi could be prepared for.
This lush, haunting story is a fascinating read, I love how Moreno-Garcia invites us on the journey with Noemi, and the things we discover alongside her are troubling, horrifying, and scarier than any of the ghosts that may or may not walk the halls of this shut-up mansion.
Moreno-Garcia embraces the tropes of the genre while also marrying them to Mexican culture and history, transposing, much like High Place, the traditional English form to a warmer environment and making it at home there.
Mexican Gothic leans into the lush, romantic, and secretive angles of the Gothic story and ferments them into something unique and worthy of exploration. Haunted cemeteries, dark family history, a brave heroine whose abilities are strained to the breaking point in the search for truth, it’s all here, and it’s a fantastic read.
If you are looking for a new entry into a beloved subgenre of horror, this is a very worthy read, and I enjoyed it immensely. Check it out!