When you put the word “gothic” in the title of the book, you can bet your sweet butt I am looking for that book to fulfill some certain things. Some things that are very special to me, because I’m kind of obsessed with the gothic- it was my specialty in grad school, and I even taught guest spots in some of my peer’s classes on gothic novels. Sooooo, does this one make the cut?
First of all, a brief summary: this is the story of Noemi, a socialite from Mexico City who is pulled from her fast city life to go to a small village in the mountains to check on a cousin who sent a very disturbing letter after a too-quick marriage. Catalina dropped away from her family after her marriage to Virgil Doyle and now Noemi’s father is concerned for her. She arrives at the Doyle family home, High Place, which is situated near the defunct silver mine that had made a fortune for the family years ago. But Noemi finds that everything about High Place has gone a bit…moldy.
Now- is this a gothic? Oh, yeah! Not only is it, but it was clearly written by someone who has the same kind of love I have for the genre- respect and even some gentle tongue in cheek ribbing! Here’s the standard way to check if a book is gothic: the laundry list!
Old & maybe haunted house/castle– Check, and the house even has a name!
Subterranean spaces/live burial- There are tunnels under that damn house for sure.
Sublime nature- Moreno-Garcia fills the book with lavish descriptions of the landscape, which at times, can be dangerous (huge ragged cliffs & misty forests)
Females who generally fit into either a virgin/whore stereotype– Noemi vs the somber Doyle women.
Themes of decay, madness, secrets, and persecuted women– This is all over this novel, from the wallpaper to the constant gaslighting of the women.
A Tyrannical older man
A Villainous and usually very handsome younger man
A “hero” who is not as stereotypically manly as the others
“Supernatural” events that can be explained logically– well, it’s a crazy explanation, but…
There we have it! Moreno-Garcia packs this book full with all the classic gothic tropes, and it is beautiful to behold. I loved every moment of it, and I give it all 5 stars. I’m not going to get into the details, because a review spoiled it for me & I don’t want to spoil it for anyone else. But if you love gothic novels, go get this right now!