Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Without giving any spoilers away, as always, we will be discussing a suspense novel by Silvia Moreno-Garcia called Mexican Gothic. Before we begin, I will be placing a big fat trigger warning on this book for disturbing content and violence both physical and sexual. Now, let’s get to it:
Noemi Taboada is a young socialite living in Mexico City in the early 1950s. She is a tenacious woman and when she isn’t spending her free time dancing the night away she is diligently working towards a Masters degree in anthropology. Noemi’s biggest concern is what to wear on a night out but this is all about to change drastically after her family receives a disturbing letter from her cousin, Catalina.
Catalina is a bit older than Noemi and has been married for about a year to the handsome Virgil Doyle. She lives a fair distance away in the remote El Triunfo in the Doyle estate called the High Place. Noemi’s family assumed she was too busy being a newlywed to be in contact often and her letter is the first correspondence they’ve had since the wedding. In her letter, she describes hearing and seeing ghosts and desperately requests Noemi’s presence.
In exchange for checking in on Noemi, her father will allow her to go to a co-ed college to continue her studies. So, she packs her bags and makes her way to the High Place. Noemi’s destination is a looming estate shrouded by mist and an overwhelming darkness. The dark cloud is not limited to the property itself but to those who inhabit it too.
What used to be a flourishing mining community run by the Doyle family is now limited to a handful of zombie like servants and the remaining Doyles. There is Catalina and her husband Virgil, Virgil’s aunt and cousin named Florence and Francis, and Howard who is Virgil’s father. To Noemi, each one seems more unpleasant than the next and she has half a mind to turn around and go home.
The rules of High Place are strict and something that Noemi is not used to. No talking at dinner, no smoking, speak in hushed voices, and not to disturb Catalina because she needs her rest. The longer she is at the Doyle home, the worse Catalina seems to get and Noemi begins to get a taste of what her cousin suffers from.
Noemi starts to have dreadful bouts of sleepwalking, distressing nightmares, and terrifying encounters with the Doyle family. She used to scoff at the idea that there are ghosts lurking in the High Place but begins to see that Catalina might be right. High Place had a dark past and even more disturbing plans for the future of the Doyles. Will Noemi and her cousin make it out alive? Read Mexican Gothic to find out!
Upon finishing Mexican Gothic, I felt rather torn. I liked the book overall but found the plot twist to be extremely farfetched. Then, I began to take it for what it was despite its unlikelihood and decided it was still a very worthwhile read. I am not used to reading books with a touch of dark magic (Which is all I will say about the grand reveal.) and found that I enjoyed it even more after having time to digest it.
Noemi carried this story so well as the only narrator and I loved her sass, determination, and panache for bending the rules. She came to High Place with a mission of protecting her cousin and refused to leave until that was fulfilled. This showed so much strength and perseverance on her end because the easiest thing for her to do was simply leave – especially because the villains were completely despicable.
I will admit that some parts of Mexican Gothic kind of dragged on but it wasn’t as slow of a burn as books I have read recently. It continued to hold my attention until the very end and I will rate it with a seven out of ten stars. This is not a read for the faint of heart but if you dare to visit the High Place, you won’t be disappointed!
What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah