He is trying to poison me. You must come for me, Noemí. You have to save me.
After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed 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, smart, and has 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.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley for an honest review, and can confirm all opinions are my own.
Ok if you know me then you know I am a self confessed wimp and this book creeped me out, but in allll the right ways. Will I have to sleep with the light on for a few nights? Possibly. Was it worth it to read this intense and surreal book? Absolutely.
Noemí is living the life, attending party after party with a line of suitors. So when her father asks her to visit her cousin, after receiving a slightly worrying letter, she is reluctant to give up her social life in Mexico City. After reading the letter, Noemí is understandably worried and agrees to head to High Place and find out exactly what is going on. She arrives to find a house in disrepair, a family far from the one she left behind with strict rules and a cousin who seems to have lost her mind. Her only solace is Francis, the family’s youngest son and someone Noemí see’s as an ally in this strange and mysterious house. Determined to find out the cause for her cousins illness Noemí starts digging, into the town, into the family and into the house, only she discovers far more than she bargained for and by the time she realises how deep she is in it may be too late.
This book is dark, gritty, mysterious, chilling and immersive in all the best ways. The perfect blend of fantasy and Gothic suspense Moreno-Garcia had my mind working overtime trying to work out the mystery of High House and the peculiar Doyle family, but no amount of guessing could have prepared me for what she had in store.
Noemí is a fantastic perspective to read from. Strong headed, quick to judge and slow to forgive. She comes to High House looking to find out the mystery behind her cousins disturbing letter not knowing the dangers that lurk, not just in the Doyle family who live there but in High House itself. As a reader, following Noemí’s journey we are just as much in the dark as she is, and come to the same revelations as her at the same time. Because of this she is such a relatable character and you feel her emotions right alongside her, her wariness of the Doyle family, her fear for her cousin and her revulsion when she finds out what exactly is happening.
The Doyle family are a reserved lot, living in the shadow of their former glory as silver miners in a house that they can no longer afford to upkeep. Howard, Virgil, Florence and Francis made for some intriguing characters, you cant quite work out who you can trust, but you know that there is something deeply wrong with them all. High House can almost be classed as a character itself, with its mould ridden walls and all the secrets it keeps hidden. We don’t find out until later in the book exactly the true purpose of the house, but throughout the book, even though I could’t put my finger on it, I knew something was off.
I fell in love with Moreno-Garcia’s writing after reading God’s of Jade and Shadow last year and this book blew me away all over again. She manages to make a standalone seem like a 3 book series with all the character growth, plot twists and terrifying outcome’s that keep you glued to the pages. The first part of the book is slow going, however the set up makes the ending that much more powerful. Her descriptive writing manages to bring the book to life in your hands and you feel yourself in 1950’s Mexico, the glamorous lifestyle and beautiful clothing drag you back in time effortlessly, and the dankness and chill of Hill House have you clutching for a blanket.
If I wasn’t already a huge fan of the author then this book would have cemented that for me. If you enjoy a good mystery, one that’s impossible to figure out but keeps you guessing all the same, one with a fantasy element that hits you out of nowhere, filled with gorgeous descriptions and some edge of your seat moments, then this is the book for you.