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Mexican Gothic
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October 2020: Other Books > Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia -- 3.5 stars (round down to 3)

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message 1: by Nicole R (last edited Oct 09, 2020 05:08PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7783 comments Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
3.5 (round down to 3)

Mexican Gothic has gotten rave reviews and gushing praise since even before its release date. Based on the blurbs I read, I was expecting a suspense novel in the vein of Rebecca--suspenseful, purposeful, and a bit creepy.

And, the first 70-ish% of the book was exactly that. Noemi is a young woman living in Mexico City in the 1950s. She is beautiful, rich, privileged, and a little insubstantial. But then she receives a cryptic letter from a favored cousin, Catalina, who had impulsively gotten married to the charming yet poor Virgil Doyle and moved to the countryside to live with him and his family. The cousin claims that her husband is trying to kill her and to please help her.

So, of course, our unlikely heroine packs herself out to High Place, the Doyle family manor, where we instantly know that creepiness abounds with this crew. The elderly Howard Doyle is on his death bed, his screams permeating his dilapidated home. Catalina’s husband Virgil is smarmy at best. A predator more realistically. Virgil’s cousin Francis is a pale shadow of his vital cousin, but seems to be the only person who Noemi can trust. And then there is Catalina, who exists in a frail, catatonic state. Suffering from an unknown illness, and closely watched over by Francis’s mother.

The first 70% of this book or so was wonderful! It was genuinely creepy, with reality and dreams merging together. With ghosts who witnessed cruel and violent acts seeming to walk amongst the living. The reader was deliciously disoriented, questioning reality at every turn. I had a thousand theories.

And then, the big reveal came at about 70% and all I could say was “WTF?!?” Y’all it was weird. Too weird for me. And, honestly, only kind of made sense. At that point, we totally lost the dream-like quality of the story to become firmly rooted in reality, but questioning the motives of every single character. It was exhausting. We finally get the big conclusion, and it wasn’t even a surprise. The author heavily tipped her hand chapters before, leaving no doubt as to what the resolution would be.

Going into this book, I thought it would suspense/southern gothic. It turned out to be kind of horror-light. It reminds me of how I felt about The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires. So, if that book was your jam, then I highly recommend this one! For me though, this one will quickly slip from memory and the last third of the book ensures that I will not remember it overly fondly.

Oh, and the narrator wasn’t great. She was better at 1.25x speed and I got used to her eventually, but I found her cadence grating. I have listened to other books she has narrated and didn’t have that sense, so I feel like perhaps it was her attempt at creating that Rebecca-esque vibe.

Meli (melihooker) | 3449 comments I am reading this currently and find it to be slow up to the 100 page mark when things finally start to get strange.

I might enjoy the latter half more than you did :)

I read Rebecca before this and it was awesome.
I was actually surprised I enjoyed it because I am not always one for atmosphere or slow burn gothic horror.
But I heard comparisons made of Mexican Gothic to Rebecca, so I had to read it first.

I see the similarities, but I am excited to hear that it might be going in another direction.

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7783 comments Meli, I can totally see you liking it more than me!!

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