Review – Mexican Gothic

Posted November 5, 2020 by Nicky in Reviews / 4 Comments

Cover of Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-GarciaMexican Gothic, Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I’ve been meaning to read this forever, and in fact I originally had an advance copy of this. As often happens when I get a much-anticipated book as an advance copy, I actually bought it as soon as it came out, since it didn’t feel fair to read the ARC anymore. So… Mexican Gothic follows Noemí Taboada, a girl from a rich Mexican family, living in the city and hoping to go on to study more, enjoying her life as a socialite. Her cousin recently married, but it seems that something odd has happened to her — she sent home an almost incoherent letter, raving about the awful things happening to her — and Noemí’s father decides to send her to see what’s happening.

Noemí goes, partly out of affection for her cousin, partly out of curiosity, and partly to prove herself. She immediately finds that Catalina’s new family are rather odd, with oppressive rules and a rather awful house. And Catalina is ill: tuberculosis, the doctor says, and yet Noemí doesn’t think it seems to fit. When she snatches a moment along with Catalina, her cousin sends her to get a remedy from a local woman, and yet it seems to make her even more ill…

I won’t say too much more about the plot: it settles in to be nicely Gothic and weird. I don’t know if it was because of the books I’ve been reading lately (I shouldn’t name them, in case it’s too much of a spoiler), but I figured a good chunk of the plot out through noticing a recurring motif. I found that I wasn’t as riveted as I’d hoped to be, because it took me time to really connect with Noemí — – her confidence in her own intelligence, beauty and charm was a bit too much toward overconfidence, and though I can’t say that I’d fall in with the traditions of Catalina’s new family(!), it also seemed weird that she was so unwilling to respect simple things that are asked of her as a good guest, like not smoking in the bedroom. (Sure, different era and all, but… being a good guest hasn’t changed that much.) She just seems quite entitled.

However, as we got to see more of Francis, and as Noemí worked things out, it started to work a lot better for me — and the last third/quarter of the book, ish, is pretty nail-biting. Naturally, it doesn’t end in a terribly comfortable way, leaving a few questions and horrible possibilities hanging…

Really enjoyable, all in all, though I didn’t get into it as much as I’d expected to until later.

Rating: 4/5

Tags: , , , ,


4 responses to “Review – Mexican Gothic

  1. Entitled is the perfect description of Noemí. I appreciate that SMG draws me into her characters’ situations and struggles even when I don’t much like them (a recurring theme for me across her books). In this case, everyone else is even less likeable of course, but it gave me a little space to pretend they might not be so awful as she was making out as she was clearly being unreasonable herself in a few ways. It wasn’t much of a pretence though, I’ve read too many Gothic novels not to engage full Crimson Peak mode from the second she got off the train 😉
    imyril recently posted…Six Degrees of SFnal Separation… with Peter F HamiltonMy Profile

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

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