Books

ARC Book Review: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Mexican GothicTitle: Mexican Gothic
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books (Quercus Books)
Publication Date: 30th June 2020
Genre: Gothic / Fantasy
Summary: When glamorous socialite Noemí Taboada receives a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging to be rescued from a mysterious doom, it’s clear something is desperately amiss. Catalina has always had a flair for the dramatic, but her claims that her husband is poisoning her and her visions of restless ghosts seem remarkable, even for her.


I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. Thank you to the author, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and the publisher, Jo Fletcher Books, for this opportunity.

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I’ve tried my best to avoid spoilers in this review but it was difficult because I want to scream about how much I love almost every single aspect of this book. 

In Mexican Gothic, Silvia Moreno-Garcia weaves an elaborate tale of hauntings and family issues. Noemí, a young socialite, receives a letter from her cousin, Catalina, begging to be saved and this sets Noemí on a journey towards a confrontation with a family that doesn’t quite belong. In her efforts to figure out what ails her cousin, Noemí discovers a more sinister plot. As with all Gothic novels, Mexican Gothic offers much more than just a spooky story and, from the very beginning of the book, Moreno-Garcia tackles themes such as colonisation, classism, and many more, all of which perfectly framed within the setting of 1950s Mexico. I should mention that there are references to rape and other disturbing topics alongside strong depicitions of violence within the book. These are fairly common themes in Gothic literature but it doesn’t hurt to warn people about them.

Moreno-Garcia utilises Gothic terror throughout most of the novel with sinister characters and moments of true suspense. You can really feel the tension between Noemí and the Doyles and Moreno-Garcia plays with paranoia and alienation to create an almost claustrophobic atmosphere. The story does move into the territory of Gothic horror towards the end of the book, inciting feelings of disgust and revulsion within the reader, but the slow, creeping development of the plot is what I enjoyed most.

All of the characters are incredibly well-written. They’re complex, multifaceted, and generally unlikable. Noemí was a fantastic main character, strong-willed but flawed, but I’m glad that the novel is in a third-person subjective narrative style because, while it does focus on Noemí’s thoughts and feelings, it doesn’t dwell on them too much. Moreno-Garcia’s writing, in general, is fantastic. It’s not overly complicated or unnecessarily descriptive but every conversation and every detail feels very deliberate and well-placed. There’s a wonderful balance between detail and ambiguity which makes this a very engaging book to read.

The only thing that I didn’t love was the pacing of the novel. There was such a wonderful build-up, filled with uncertainty and tension, but there was so much packed into the last couple of chapters that it felt a little rushed. Perhaps that was an intentional choice, as a way to confuse the reader or maybe even to create a desperate atmosphere, but I just wanted it to be drawn out a little more.

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Mexican Gothic is one of the most intriguing and exciting books I’ve read in a while. It is a wonderful addition to the Gothic genre and I highly recommend reading it.

(Goodreads | Book Depository)


This post does not contain affiliate links.

Thank you again to Netgalley, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and Jo Fletcher Books for providing me with a digital copy of this book.

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4 thoughts on “ARC Book Review: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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