It’s getting darker and colder in Finland so it really is the perfect time to enjoy reading. And what suits autumn evenings better than reading something that’s both creepy and enchanting? Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia was the perfect book for these gloomy evenings when rainy, shadowy evenings will feed your imagination!
One could conclude this was a case of three silly, nervous women. Physicians of old would have diagnosed it as hysterics. But one thing Noemí was not was hysterical.
I don’t usually read horror books but Mexican Gothic was a pleasant surprise. One of the more memorable books I’ve read this year for sure.
Mexican Gothic offers us 1950s Mexico, a creepy mansion mystery and a lovely heroine: Noemí Taboada. The setting is simply intriguing for someone who loves historical mysteries. The grand but deteriorated mansion called High Place hosts a weird family. The remote, rural location seems hostile and Noemí’s cousin is stuck in there with a gorgeous but menacing husband. Worried about her cousin’s sanity, Noemí with all her wits and fearless nature heads to High Place to look into the situation. And then things start to happen and it gets very creepy. And I can’t really say much more without spoiling the story. 🙂
It was very enjoyable to read a horror book that felt more like a traditional, historical mystery for most of the book. The story kept you guessing that is there really something wrong in the house or is it just a matter of “female hysteria”. This tension and doubt was very entertaining for a reader. And there were definitely modern, feminist vibes happening in this very patriarchal setting. Noemí fights the limits that have traditionally held back women and she actively thinks of her options e.g. her finishing her studies in the university instead of getting married and staying home. There are also interesting moments where she is forced to encounter a mix of unwanted sexual desire mixed with fear and horror. Something that seems to raise questions still in our modern time when there is discussion of what is sexual abuse and what is not. My opinion is quite clear about this: if you don’t want it, it is sexual abuse no matter what your physical reaction might be. The book raises this theme through somewhat supernatural situations, but it is still a relevant matter and awareness to it can be brought in different ways through fiction too.
Mexican Gothic gets my full recommendation and I think I will read more from Silvia Moreno-Garcia in the future.
Mexican Gothic fills these prompts from the two reading challenges I’m doing this year:
A book published in 2020 (Helmet Reading Challenge)
A medical thriller (Popsugar Reading Challenge)
Yes, I know it’s not exactly a medical thriller, but there is medical focus in the story and it’s a mix of horror/mystery/thriller so it’s close enough. Also I’m running out of available challenge prompts. 🙂