Librarian Reads: October 2020 Book Review and Recommendation

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Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

As a teen I was enthralled with horror stories.  I grew up reading HP Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe, Shirley Jackson, Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, Anne Rice, and more.  I left the horror story stage behind and haven’t really read the genre for years.  Well, it seems this is a good year to revisit it.  I recently spent a Saturday reading this tale from beginning to end – everything else was put on hold.

Mexican Gothic is full of mystery and intrigue surrounded by the supernatural and unknown – a classic gothic novel.  It’s more psychological horror than gore.  In 1950s Mexico, Noemi Taboada is a glamorous debutante more interested in her own independence than being settled.  After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging someone to save her, Noemi travels to rescue her cousin Catalina, with the promise from her father that she can attend the university of her choice if she will only do this one thing.

Arriving at the husband’s remote old family mansion in the mountains, Noemi has a true mystery to unravel.  Catalina is kept secreted in her bedroom and Noemi roams the mansion and grounds trying to deduce what’s really going on.  Noemi is a tough cookie; she’s not afraid of her cousin’s new husband who is both intimidating and alluring or the husband’s forbidding father or sister.  She uses the husband’s young nephew to escape to the nearby town to send letters back to her family and to seek advice from both the town doctor and local wise woman.  The family seemingly has a strange hold over the town and the mountain full of some dark ancient knowledge.

With plenty of menace, this tale evokes the atmosphere of the horror movies from the 1930s and 40s, where violin music would play in the background of the foggy craggy scenery.  The story starts a little slow, but builds to a surprising crescendo.  I thought I had it all figured out only to discover a truly unexpected ending.  I couldn’t put it down.

Tina Hubert, Executive Director Six Mile Regional Library District

Mexican Gothic is available from the Six Mile Regional Library District in hardback, as an e-book and an e-audiobook.  For more information, visit elibrary.smrld.org or call 618-452-6238 ext. 730.

Ever wonder what your SMRLD librarians are reading? Well now you can follow along at smrld.org/librarianreads with some of their recommendations.

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