Book Review Tuesday: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia #GothicFiction #HistoricalFantasy

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over imageI only have one review to share today. This is a book that lingered on my reading radar for a long time. Then I reached a point where I HAD to read it. I was in the mood for something spooky and gothic, grabbed it from Amazon, and devoured it in days. Surprisingly, I couldn’t give it five stars.


Set during the 1930s in Mexico, this Gothic novel hits all the right notes—a crumbling old mansion with a family cemetery, a dying patriarch, twisted family history, suicide and murders. Socialite, Noemi, travels to High Place, the home of her recently married cousin after her father receives a strange letter from Catalina that includes references to the walls “talking,” among other oddities.  When Noemi arrives, she finds her once vibrant cousin subdued and sickly, attended by members of her new husband’s family. Noemi is uncertain what to make of the handsome and charismatic, Virgil Doyle, but finds his stern and aloof Aunt Florence—Catalina’s primary caregiver—uncommunicative and regimental. Florence’s son, Francis, is somewhere in the middle, a bit timid, even awkward. These characters drive the plot, but revelations come slowly. Although set in Mexico, nothing really marks this as a Mexican mystery. Except for Noemi and Catalina, all the characters are English. For the most part, I was glued to the pages, especially the descriptions of the moldy, depressing mansion and cemetery. The history of the Doyle family, including their ownership of a once profitable silver mine is intriguing, as are glimpses of several Doyle ancestors and the murders and suicide that bind them. As the main character, Noemi is strong, an excellent protagonist.  I give an A+ for all the above, but the horror elements didn’t work for me. I was hoping for a good ghost story, but the “big bad” is something entirely different. That plot thread got tedious, especially in the middle of the book, although the ending is fast-paced and climatic. C+ for the horror elements/plot thread, so 4 stars overall. I did like how everything turned out, and would certainly read this author again.Mexican Gothic
by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Set during the 1930s in Mexico, this Gothic novel hits all the right notes—a crumbling old mansion with a family cemetery, a dying patriarch, twisted family history, suicide and murders.

Socialite, Noemi, travels to High Place, the home of her recently married cousin after her father receives a strange letter from Catalina that includes references to the walls “talking,” among other oddities.

When Noemi arrives, she finds her once vibrant cousin subdued and sickly, attended by members of her new husband’s family. Noemi is uncertain what to make of the handsome and charismatic, Virgil Doyle, but finds his stern and aloof Aunt Florence—Catalina’s primary caregiver—uncommunicative and regimental. Florence’s son, Francis, is somewhere in the middle, a bit timid, even awkward. These characters drive the plot, but revelations come slowly. Although set in Mexico, nothing really marks this as a Mexican mystery. Except for Noemi and Catalina, all the characters are English.

For the most part, I was glued to the pages, especially the descriptions of the moldy, depressing mansion and cemetery. The history of the Doyle family, including their ownership of a once profitable silver mine is intriguing, as are glimpses of several Doyle ancestors and the murders and suicide that bind them. As the main character, Noemi is strong, an excellent protagonist.

I give an A+ for all the above, but the horror elements didn’t work for me. I was hoping for a good ghost story, but the “big bad” is something entirely different. That plot thread got tedious, especially in the middle of the book, although the ending is fast-paced and climatic. C+ for the horror elements/plot thread, so 4 stars overall. I did like how everything turned out, and would certainly read this author again.

4 Stars

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Gothic Fiction > Historical Fantasy


I’d love to hear your thoughts on this book. I was torn on writing the review because so much of the novel was spectacular. Is Mexican Gothic something you’d consider reading?

56 thoughts on “Book Review Tuesday: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia #GothicFiction #HistoricalFantasy

    • It’s good to know I’m not alone in my opinion. It was a decent read but the horror elements were so out in left field (and rather gross) they spoiled what could have been a great read.

      Like

  1. I’ve got this one on my Kindle, but haven’t read it yet. Spooky and Gothic grabs my attention every time. Great review, Mae, but sorry the horror elements weren’t what you expected – which means that part will disappoint me, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Teri, when you get around to reading this one I’ll be very curious to see what your opinion is. Like you, I love spooky and gothic, which is what sucked me in, but the “big bad” was a rather big let down!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This brings back memories of Mary Stewart and TOUCH NOT THE CAT. Such good memories, I went to Amazon and bought it. It will be interesting to see if I love it as much today as I did when I was in my twenties:) I used to read lots of Gothic novels–started with Jane Eyre. Your book sounded like it had all of the right elements, too bad the horror wasn’t right. Now you’ve put me in the mood to hunt up a Gothic again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, Judi, I vaguely remember TOUCH NOT THE CAT. I read that when I was in my teens? Twenties? Somewhere back then. Now you have me very curious, and I’m headed to Amazon. I remember I liked it a lot.
      I do enjoy a good Gothic. With a different horror element, Mexican Gothic would have been/could have been, a five star read!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A thoughtful review, Mae. I do like Gothic horror, and the setting in Mexico, if mixed with cultural and historical detail, is appealing. Based on the title, I might be disappointed too that most of the characters are English. I probably won’t pick this one up, but appreciate the review. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This sounds like an interesting read. I get impatient with lagging middles (could be why so many of my books are on the short side! lol) and the horror thing wouldn’t appeal, but the descriptions you share of the mansion and cemetery tempt me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This sounds like it has great gothic atmosphere! I’ve seen it reviewed a lot but for some reason I haven’t been compelled to read it. Even though there were elements you didn’t care for, glad you enjoyed it enough to devour it so quickly ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I hate a slow middle, and lately, I haven’t had the patience to finish books that don’t keep me captivated. Time is too short to keep going. I enjoy horror, and by your review, I am sure I would be disappointed in that aspect of the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, the horror was definitely horror, just not of the variety I expected. I agree with you Michele, that a book really has to grab me for me to stick with it. Fortunately the gothic side of this one was well done or I probably would have abandoned it at mid point.

      Like

  7. Pingback: Oh, lord…. – Judi Lynn

    • It was a really hard book to review, Robbie, because I LOVED the gothic elements while being disappointed (and kind of grossed out) by the horror elements. I’m glad the way I split things up made it easier for you to judge your level of interest.

      Liked by 1 person

I love comments, so please scribble a thought or two!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.