Mexican Gothic: Book Review

I had already rejoined Book Of The Month Club when my Facebook newsfeed was overwhelmed with ads for this book. The ads didn’t tell me much and the comments just said that it looked like an interesting read that was getting ready to debut. Then closer to July, Book Of The Month started putting up ads that said something like “If you liked Get Out, you’ll want to read this book. When I was able to select my July books, I quickly added this book to my cart.

After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside, unsure what she will find.

Noemí is an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, more suited to cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough, smart, and not afraid; not of her cousin’s new English husband, a stranger who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemí’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Noemí’s only ally in this inhospitable place is the family’s youngest son. But he too may be hiding something dark. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place, as Noemí discovers when she begins to unearth stories of violence and madness.

Mesmerized by this terrifying yet seductive world, Noemí may soon find it impossible to save her cousin- or even escape this enigmatic house.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this book. The characters were so well developed that seemed like they were based on real people. I loved how Silvia Moreno-Garcia created Noemí’s character. At first she comes off as a bored, spoiled socialite that flirts from boy to boy and from project to project but as we get to know her, we get to see that she is a lot smarter and deeper than everyone (including Noemí) thinks. The way she explores the house, the people around her and the small village is more like Belle from Beauty In The Beast than Elle Woods from Legally Blonde. Unlike some air head like characters I have come across reading, Noemí admits that she just plays the part of a frivolous socialite because that’s what’s expected of her.

One of the things that I loved about this book is that while it is a paranormal book it isn’t the traditional type of ghost story. The way the story portrays the spirits it does it in a way that you can’t tell if it is a dream, a hallucination, a mental issue or the real thing. After you read this book, you’ll want to reread it to pick up the clues that you missed the first time you read it. I also loved the sort of slow build there is to the main story. It let the reader feel like they were on the journey with Noemí while she tries to figure out High Place and the family that lives there.

Before I get into any spoilers, if you would like to join Book Of The Month Club please click here to sign up. This is not a sponsored post. I just love this company and I think you will too.

***SPOILER ALERT***

DO NOT READ PAST THIS IF YOU DON’T WANT THE ENDING REVEALED!!!

One issue I did have with the book was the ending. Not so much in the writing but in how Book Of The Month portrayed the heroine. While Book Of The Month claims this is a feminist book, I didn’t find it to be really feminist. Most feminist don’t play into the pretty, air head, party girl that Noemí portrays at the beginning of the book. Just because she wants to go to get a master’s degree or pick a husband based on how he treats instead of how much money he has, doesn’t really make her a feminist in my eyes. Maybe I have a screwed idea of what a feminist is (I don’t consider myself a feminist) but I feel like for a book to be marked as a feminist book, the character that is supposed to be the feminist actually do something for woman kind. Noemí finds out that the family has been turning the workers into mindless slaves and sacrificing babies for eternal life but all she cares about is getting her crush and her cousin out of the house. She doesn’t do anything to make sure that the mushroom is eradicated. She doesn’t do anything to make sure the villagers are safe from being turned into slaves again by someone else. She is just worried about Catalina and Francis getting back to her home. When I hear a book is a feminist book, I think “Handmaid’s Tale” or something like that. Not a poor little rich girl visiting a rundown house dealing with ghosts.

The mushroom thing brings up another issue I had with the book. If it controlled everyone in the mines but didn’t have an effect on the villagers, why didn’t the villagers do something? Why did they continue to send men and women to work in the mines despite seeing they were being possessed in a way? Marta, the town healer, knew what was going on enough to give Catalina and Noemí a tonic that would help the get out of the control of the mushroom. Why didn’t she just tell her what was going on? Why didn’t Marta tell the town’s doctor? Marta was clearly not under the control of the mushroom because she gave the girls the medicine. The very first day that Noemí met Marta, Marta could have been like “Your cousin is being poisoned. Go to the next town and bring authorities.” or “You need to write your family what’s going on so they can come get you.”

Despite these issues, I really did enjoy the book. It was just when I sat back and analyzed it that I had problems with it. Read it. Enjoy the journey. Hold all questions until the end.

Have you read Mexican Gothic? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments below. Also let me know what other books you want me to read or review.

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