An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic aristocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets. . . .
From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes a novel set in glamorous 1950s Mexico.
After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find – her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.
Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.
And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.
This is a gothic horror story that was perfect for the spooky season and delivered on creepiness, atmosphere, and twists.
This story takes place in 1950 Mexico City as Noemí travels to her recently wed cousin new house since her father has received a letter from said cousin that might imply she needs help. Therefore, Noemí goes to see how she’s settling into her new life and how much of the horrors she has written in her letter are true.
What I liked
I loved Noemí. She’s such a determined, stubborn and proud girl that was the perfect contrast to the family she’s about to meet in this creepy, old house. I loved how she questions everything, investigates for herself, values knowledge and takes nobody’s shit. She was such a sharp contrast with the situation she finds herself in, which made for a main character easy to root for.
I’ve read some reviews saying that this is kind of slow, but it is gothic horror so I feel like it’s supposed to be slow. It uses the slow pace to focus on the ambience, setting and atmosphere. You can really see how much care is put into writing the time setting, the creepy house, the family that lives in it, the town, the weather, the cemetery. All of the little details added so much to the story, not the plot, but the overall picture of this soffocating haunted house that you can’t escape.
I loved the commentary this had on colonialism and white supremacy. I loved how it played with your mind so that you keep guessing until the very end if it’s paranormal or not. I loved how white, entitled men can be the real monsters , how reminiscent this is to our world, even without the haunted house.
What I dind’t like
My only complaint would be the romance. It felt a bit force to me and I think the impact would have been the same and as meaningful if they had stayed as friends and celebrated the importance of a great friendship.
This was the perfect book to pick up if you want something spooky. I had a great time and I will defintely read more from this author in the future.
Have you guys read this? What is a spooky book you’d recommend? Let me know!
Until next time,