A worrisome letter from her cousin Catalina brings Noemí to a remote place called „High Place“. Only a year ago, Catalina married Virgil Doyle and moved with him in the mansion close to a former mine where the British family made a fortune. Even though it is 1950, there is still no electricity in the house and Noemí feels like being in a British novel of the 19th century. Her cousin is in an awful state, not only physically, but also mentally and she does not only rely on the medication of the family doctor but also got some tincture from a local healer. Strange rules make it difficult for Noemí to adapt to life in the house and it does not take too long until she herself feels that something strange is going on in there. She has very lively nightmares and cannot get rid of the impression that the walls are talking to her. Is she also going mad like Catalina?
Quite often you open a novel and while reading you have the impression that the title and the plot do hardly have any connection. In Silvia Moreno-Garcia‘s book „Mexican Gothic“, however, the title perfectly announces what you will get: a wonderful Gothic horror story in the style of the 18th and 19th century. A spooky old mansion in a remote place without any available help close by, a mysterious cemetery whose inhabitants seem to wander about, nightmares, terror and morbidity accomplish it.
Noemí is presented as an educated yet a bit shallow young woman who cares more about partying and having fun than worrying about her family. Therefore, she only reluctantly follows her father‘s orders to put an eye on Catalina‘s situation. When she arrives at High Place, she continues her slightly contemptuous behaviour towards the Dolye family. Only after having talked to Catalina is she moved a bit and willing to help her cousin. Her stubbornness prevents her from being absorbed by the strange activities in the house.
Soon, however, the fine line between reality and insanity becomes more and more blurry, not only is neither the protagonist nor the reader sure if Noemí‘s dreams are only very vivid or if there are frightening things under way. And then, the horror show really begins.
I totally adored how the author gradually drags the young woman and the reader into this story which oscillates between fascinations and abhorrence. Even though you are well aware that most of what happens cannot be real, it is easy to imagine that in such an old house, ghosts could roam and walls could talk. A magnificent read which transports you to a time long gone and a world where much more is possible.