10 Books to Read if You Loved Mexican Gothic
One of them most popular novels of 2020, Mexican Gothic tells the chilling story of a house that seems to have its own power.
The novel contains many elements of the classic gothic horror genre. It’s a slow paced yet engaging story with vivid imagery.
If you liked this style, then here’s a list of ten other novels you’re sure to love as well.
10 Books to Read if You Loved Mexican Gothic
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
Any of Jackson’s books would work for this list, but this one has a lot of similarities. First published in 1962, this short read tells the tale of two sisters living in isolation after the deaths of their family. It’s also a fascinating exploration of societal judgement. It’s engaging and creepy throughout. I recommend the audiobook narrated by Bernadette Dunne, whose voice is a perfect fit for our unreliable narrator Merricat.
Plain Bad Heroines by Emily Danforth
It’s a slow burn, the suspense builds beautifully with vivid imagery and lots of scares. But it’s so much more than a creepy novel. Our omniscient narrator takes the reader back and forth between two timelines, both focused around the supposedly cursed Brookhants School for Girls. One setting is the school in 1902, the other is the campus in modern day as it serves as a movie set. While it’s obviously about creepy goings-on, it’s also a story about sexuality and genre norms, about relationships, love, and family.
The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
This one is a modern spin on the creepy house trope. The entire novel is a letter written by our protagonist Rowan, to an attorney she is pleading with to defend her. This format suits the story well. The reader knows right away that something big has gone down. It’s a fast paced easy read, Ware is fantastic at building suspense.
Our House by Louise Candlish
Imagine returning home after a few days out of town to discover strangers moving in. This is what happens to our protagonist Fiona. She’s adamant there has been a mistake, but her soon to be ex husband and children are all missing. What follows is the slow unraveling of a complex, twisted story of betrayal, family, and fear. Told from alternating points of view and timelines, Candlish does a fantastic job of making this incredibly complicated story flow smoothly, as the deceptions unfold and all the layers are revealed.
Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller
Set in a crumbling English mansion during the summer of 1969, this story unfolds slowly. Frances is there to research architecture in the manor’s gardens. She finds a peephole in her bathroom floor that allows her to observe the couple living downstairs. As the weeks unfold, the three of them become more and more involved with each other. Eventually Frances sense something isn’t quite right with them and digs to figure it out.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Set in Spain in 1945, this is the story of Daniel, the son of an antique bookseller. Driving the loss of his mother, he peruses the book collection and finds solace in The Shadow of the Wind by an author named Julian Carax. When Daniel tries to find other books by Carax, he makes a shocking discovery – someone seems to be destroying the author’s works and Daniel may be in possession of the last book in existence. Daniel’s quest to find the truth sends him on a journey filled with secrets, madness, and murder.
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
This one’s another slow burn that’s definitely worth it in the end. Vida Winter is a reclusive writer nearing the end of her life. She requests a young writer named Margaret come to her home to write her life’s story. As the two women spend time together, Vida’s stories mesmerize Margaret, who has a painful past of her own. Eventually Margaret suspects Vida isn’t being honest and secrets begin to reveal themselves. This is an atmospheric read that will keep you guessing.
Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice
This is one of my all time favorite reads. Louis recounts her story to a journalist over the course of the novel. He begins with his human life and recounts the tale of his transformation into a vampire and the centuries that came after. Louis is a compelling, endearing character. Rice’s writing is full of vivid descriptions and gothic vibes. The story itself covers not only the concept of immortality, but also general themes of change, loss, sexuality, and power. It’s a fun, creepy read that I’ve enjoyed several times over the years in both physical and audiobook formats.
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
This is one of the original gothic novels. It begins with our protagonist, who grew up an orphan, working as maid being swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter. She can’t believe her luck and accepts his sudden proposal of marriage. It’s not until they move to his massive country estate that she realizes something dark is among them. The memory of his late wife lingers as a sense of evil lurking.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Another of the classic gothic novels. Jane was orphaned as a child and has become a teacher. She finds works as a caretaker for a child on a great estate. While there, she falls in love with the master of the home, Edward Rochester. Jane notices a lot of creepy goings on in the house that are repeatedly explained away from Edward and the other staff. Eventually Jane must decide what she is willing to put up with to be with the man she loves.