Del Rey | 30 June 2020 | 320 pgs
Source: Library 

To begin with, Mexican Gothic was a refreshing read to me in so many ways. A Gothic horror/mystery set in the 1950s in a desolate Mexican countryside and a feisty, opinionated heroine to boot. How could I say no? 

So the book opens with our heroine, Noemí Taboada, heading her way towards High Place (a distant house in the Mexican countryside) after receiving a letter from her newly-wed cousin asking for help. The content of the letter was vague and seemed to be written with a sense of urgency; and most of all, it was so unlike of Catalina's characteristic to be voiced out in that way. Intrigued and also upon insistent nudging by her father, Noemí knew she has no other option but to make the trip to find out herself. 

Now Noemí is a chic young woman who has been living in the city all her life, so she immediately finds herself at a loss once she's set her foot into the countryside; and most especially the Doyle's family (with the exception of Catalina, of course), who sees her more like an annoying outsider who refuses to abide by their house rules. Noemí is not a stubborn and unreasonable woman to begin with, but she does find some of their house rules strange and even ridiculous to some extent. Seeing Catalina in person didn't answer her questions as Catalina appears to be weaker and frailer than she's thought and she couldn't pinpoint the mysterious health condition which implicates her overall well-being. That said, Noemí has reservation regarding Catalina's mental health. After all, the Doyle's family members behave strangely and in addition, the house gives out a creepy vibes that Noemí begins to have bad dreams. Could these be the reasons which affect Catalina's condition and why she reaches out for help? 

I've to say this was very much an atmospheric and a character-driven kind of story and a slow-burn in terms of actions. The author took her time in developing the plot, but the characterisations and the intrigue were quite well executed as the story progresses that it took your mind off of the slow buildup until the big reveal eventually came and hit you in the guts. There are family history and dark secrets surrounding this story, but there are also the creepy house and some weird, bizarre elements which render this as a horror, too. The descriptive writing was another strength of this book and it was easy to get lost in the enigmatic High Place as it exudes both beauty and terror under different circumstances. My only complaint was I wished it was much richer in culture and more history surrounding the countryside village.

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16 Responses
  1. I was on the fence about this one but, decided it probably wasn't for me - if my bookclub chose it, I'd read it - I do love character driven and atmospheric so you have me reconsidering.

  2. Susan Says:

    I still can't decide if I want to read this one. It has some elements that sound really appealing to me, but I've also read mixed reviews. So ... we'll see. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much!

  3. Kay Says:

    I've been on the fence about this one too, though I had heard good things about it. I was waiting until someone I 'knew' read it. And thanks for sharing about it, Melody. I'll watch for it at my library. Think it's very popular right now.

  4. Lark Says:

    I wish we could have read this one together! I'm glad you liked it so much. I look forward to reading it this summer. :)

  5. jenclair Says:

    Like so many others, I wasn't sure about this one, but now I am interested!

  6. Iliana Says:

    I really want to read one in part because it's set in Mexico. So glad to hear you enjoyed it!

  7. I'm glad to read your thoughts on this one. I've had it on my TBR stack for a while. Gothic tales are my favorite, and I love that it's set in Mexico!

  8. I am so glad you liked this one too, Melody! I agree with how you felt about it. It was a slow burn, but worth every minute of it. I am glad I took a chance on it.

  9. Melody Says:

    Diane - I'll be curious of your thoughts if you do read it, Diane.

  10. Melody Says:

    Susan - I've to say the few weird, bizarre elements here might not be a fit for every readers but it was a great escapism to me considering I've been reading mostly crime or psychological thrillers. ;)

  11. Melody Says:

    Kay - I picked this up after reading several positive reviews and I'm glad I did. I'll be curious of your thoughts if you do read it, Kay.

  12. Melody Says:

    Lark - I think this would make a good buddy read, Lark! That said, I can't wait for our next buddy read this week! :D

  13. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - It was a strange story, but still I enjoyed it. :)

  14. Melody Says:

    Iliana - I enjoyed the Mexican setting in this book and wished there's more feature of the culture. Still, it has great characterisations and the story was intriguing.

  15. Melody Says:

    Diana - I can't resist books which have a Gothic theme! Hope you'll enjoy this one if you do read it!

  16. Melody Says:

    Wendy - Glad we shared the same sentiments, Wendy! :)

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