Mexican Gothic

Del Rey: Ballantine. Jun. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9780525620785. $27. F
When Mexico City debutante Noemí Taboada receives a desperate letter from her newlywed cousin Catalina, she heads to High Place manor in the Mexican countryside to investigate. As a socialite accustomed to the best that life in the 1950s has to offer, Noemí is appalled at the state of the isolated property and the deteriorating health of her cousin. When Catalina’s English husband, Virgil, and Dr. Cummins, the family physician, answer her inquiries evasively, Noemí befriends Francis, the skittish, outcast youngest son who is eager to escape his family’s legacy. As the clues about the manor’s cursed, violent history and its patriarchal powers compound, Noemí’s chances to escape, and rescue her cousin, fade. Do the answers lie within the pulsing walls of the manor, the flora of the grounds, or the cryptic, coded dreams of its inhabitants? As clarity becomes elusive and hope of outside rescue wanes, Noemí confronts the predestined, secretive pathos of the family, hoping to rectify its corruption.
VERDICT This original, well-paced novel from Moreno-Garcia (Gods of Jade and Shadow) has great gothic elements with a little VanderMeer creativity thrown in. [See Prepub Alert, 12/9/19.]
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