When I was in high school I used to watch a lot of horror movies. I also used to go to any Halloween or county fair haunted house I came across. My favorite scary movie was “The Changeling” which involved a house haunted by the ghost of a boy who drowned there. I can’t remember the rest of the plot, but I do remember it scared the bejeezus out of me and yet I loved it.
Fast forward many years later and you could not get me to watch a horror movie if you paid me. I tried to watch a Netflix series last year and stopped about 3 episodes in (I was super proud that I made it 3 episodes. Ok, 2 1/2). The only haunted house I will go into these days is the Haunted Mansion at Disney, which, if you have not been, my kids at 5 and 7 years old said “this isn’t scary!” (I still kind of get the creeps going through parts of it).
Anyway, the book. It was amazing. It was beautifully descriptive. The author used gorgeous prose. Poetic, almost. The story was sexy and seductive. I was engrossed and could not put it down. And yet, I hated it. It had that horror element that no longer works for me. I no longer wish to be scared or creeped out. Also, the ending left me with too many questions about what happened next. I was invested in the characters in a love/hate kind of way and I just needed to know.
A short summary of the plot: the glamorous, elegant debutante from Mexico City, Noemí Taboada, is sent by her father to check on her cousin, Catalina, who recently married an Englishman, Virgil Doyle. They are living in the Doyle family home in the remote Mexican countryside. Catalina is writing weird letters home. Noemí, one of the best female characters I have come across, initially comes off as just a rich party girl, but we quickly learn that she is also whip smart, tough and determined. The Doyle family, and their house (which is most definitely haunted but in a way you will not expect), are hiding an awful secret. It is up to Noemí, with the help of the youngest Doyle son, Francis, to find the secret and save Catalina and herself.
If horror is your jam, then this book is a must read. If you think you want to try horror, then this book is so beautifully written it is worth delving in. But if like me, you have moved on from your high school days of scary movies, then give this one a miss.