Review, Uncategorized

Creep factor

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.
Cover design by Faceout Studio and Tim Green

This week on #TheBookshelf we delve into the deliciously creepy Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

I loved everything about this book. From the exceptional cover design by Faceout Studio and Tim Green, to the wonderful sense of dread that grows with every moment spent within its pages.

Warning: this book is un-putdownable.

At first glance, you might mistake 22-year-old Noemí Taboada as nothing more than a party-going socialite. But it soon becomes apparent that there’s a lot more to Noemí than meets the eye. Fiercely intelligent, she is determined find a way to further her education, despite her family’s reluctance.

Fate steps in when Noemí’s father, a wealthy industrialist, makes her an offer: he will allow her to attend the master’s program she has her sights set on, if she is willing to first travel to the remote mining town of El Triunfo and check on the well-being of her cousin, Catalina. It seems that Catalina, recently married to Virgil Doyle, in a match that doesn’t quite sit right with the family, has sent Noemí’s father a desperate and somewhat garbled letter that makes it pretty clear that all is not well with her. Out of concern, and (perhaps more so) in the hopes of avoiding any family scandal, Noemí’s father dispatches her to High Place, the ancestral home of the Doyle family.

The plot is insidiously clever, drawing you in even as a claustrophobic sense of dread blooms–only to then sink under your skin, spreading deeper and deeper until you grasp the true horror of High Place.

Noemí shines as a brilliant hero: smart, open-minded, brave, and with a big heart. Almost from the outset, you feel the impact of her victories and her setbacks as if they were your own.

Photo credit: Alex Iby, Unsplash

As for the setting, it’s almost a character unto itself. High Place, damp and neglected, perched on its lonely mountain, is overflowing with horrors inside and out–from the devastating history of English mining operations in the area, to the deadly cliffs and deep crevasses hiding in the mist. As truly isolating as any desolate moor.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s writing is wonderful, putting you into each scene without getting in its own way. If you’re a fan of gothic horror and/or fiercely intelligent, beautifully human heroes, don’t miss this brilliant book!

Spoiler alert! (select the rest of this line to view): you will never look at mushrooms the same again.

When you’ve read the book, check out this great interview with the author.

(Featured image credit: Pixabay)

Review

The Kids Are All Right

On #TheBookshelf this week is the wonderfully weird and slyly compelling Nothing to See Here, by Kevin Wilson.

Twenty-eight-year-old Lillian is stuck—and seems destined to stay that way. Resigned to her fate, she lacks the energy to fight her way out of the hand she’s been dealt, comprising two dead-end jobs and her sweltering attic room in the house she shares with her coldly indifferent mother. A letter from her high school best friend, containing a job offer and money for a bus ticket to Tennessee, might be just the jolt she needs to change her life. And for once, Lillian decides to jump.

The job? Governess to her friend Madison’s stepchildren. The catch? The ten-year-old twins spontaneously combust when they are agitated. Madison and her husband need to keep the kids out of the limelight, so their “condition” doesn’t disrupt the carefully crafted trajectory of his political career.

What follows is a laugh-out-loud funny, heartwarming story about finding your weirdos and making them your family…about discovering what matters most and deciding to fight for it—glorious flaws and all.

(Featured image: Pixabay)