Well Hello Pumpkins!
It’s one of my favourite seasons of the year, and one of my favourite events, HALLOWEEN!
I adore the changing of the season, when the leaves go from green to red and the nights get darker and cosier. I’ve dug out my favourite candles from our packing boxes and have worn a blanket as an over outfit dress when working from my home office more times than I should probably disclose.
We’ve decorated the house ready to welcome trick or treaters later, although we probably should hit the shops later today for more treats since we’ve already eaten half of them in one pre-dinner sitting (oops!) and I have a halloween themed afternoon tea booked with the girls for tomorrow at our favourite haunt (see what I did there ;))! The Artisan Newland Avenue, Hull, HU5.
Last night as I was admiring our handy work, the house immediately attracted the attention of a local black cat, who when photographed appeared as a ghost!
Of course I couldn’t do a Halloween weekend post without reviewing a book thats actually pretty Halloweeny, could I. I read this one in the summer but have been waiting to share my review with you until the perfect moment… that’s now.
MEXICAN GOTHIC BY SILVIA MORENO-GARCIA
“Glamorous socialite Noemi Taboada’s life of parties and entertainment is interrupted when she receives a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin, who is begging to be rescued from a mysterious doom.
Noemi immediately heads to High Place, an estate in the mountains of Mexico owned by the secluded Doyle family, determined to discover what is is troubling her beloved cousin….
She must tread carefully, for there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place, and Noemi may soon find it impossible to leave this enigmatic house behind’.”
DUH DUH DUHHHH! Spooky.
As you may be able to tell from the fact that folks are letter writing and immediately running to mountains to rescue beloved cousins, this tale is set back in the day. The opening chapter describes a fancy dress party in Mexico City that Noemi is pulled from via telephone by her father, which sounded like ‘such fun’ and gave me 1920’s party vibes, although I don’t believe the exact year is ever quite confirmed.
Her father draws her home early to discuss the distressing letter they have received from their cousin Catalina who has recently married a man in El Triunfo, essentially a town secluded in a forest on a hill. Catalina’s father has sadly passed and she does not have a great relationship with her mother, therefore the Uncle and cousins are close.
She had written to say that her new husband is poisoning her, to which her uncle had immediately written to her new husband, Virgil to discuss the matter, man to man. Virgil had assured her uncle that she was not mistreating her, but she was unwell and very distressed, but refused to take her for help. The uncle knows that the Doyle family have financial issues and is concerned that he is continuing his marriage and refusing Catalina help because he wants to keep access to her money. Noemi is sent to investigate.
Immediately upon Noemi’s arrival in El Triunfo, we get gothic horror vibes. The book describes Noemi’s train journey, going through beautiful colourful towns and villages along the way, to arriving in her final destination which is a rocky, mountainous terrain with rough rivers and thin air.
The first character meets at her new destination is Virgil’s cousin Francis.
“He was fair-haired and pale – she didn’t realise anyone could be that pale, goodness did he ever wander into the sun?- his eyes uncertain, his mouth straining to form a smile or a greeting.’
Pale and uncertain, but kind towards Noemi. They pull up to the house, described as a ‘great, quiet gargoyle’.
The descriptions in the novel are spellbinding. They bring a wonderful gothic edge to the story, the sense of place is like reading a goosebumps novel, the characters are creepy and socially awkward and the tension is building. Immediately we feel concerned for the welfare of Noemi and Catalina and this fear grows and grows as the story unfolds.
The story takes a strange and unexpected twists, one I wasn’t quite expecting and honestly, not one I’m sure I can get on board with.
CAN’T PUT IT DOWN RATING: 3/5
Eventually for me, this was a book of three thirds. I thoroughly enjoyed the first 100 pages. We were slowly building suspense, there was magic and strangeness and many scoops of weirdness, but it didn’t really go where I expected and I don’t think I really enjoyed where it did go.
I absolutely loved the horror movie vibe and could imagine this book becoming a weird and wonderful film, but it was all a little bit obvious after half way.
There were some really interesting twists and some great scenes but overall it was only the last 50 pages that got me racing through to read the end.
Strangely though, the end also felt disjointed to the rest of the story. I wasn’t sure if this book was written over different time periods and that was the reason for different influences over where the novel went, but it just didn’t flow for me.
Great spooky read, but with the attention this had, I did feel it was a wee bit overhyped.
Still a solid modern gothic for Halloween weekend to sink your teeth into!
WASHED DOWN WITH:
So last time I reviewed the Taylors of Harrogate Coffee Bags, and so I thought I’d try an alternative! I noticed that whilst the TOH Coffee Bags are incredible, they’re not good for the planet. Only the cardboard box could be recycled.
Lyon’s on the other hand, are made from sustainable packaging and the sachets are sustainable also. Everything is compostible which is wonderful and I was really excited to try these in the hope to reduce my carbon footprint.
I picked up the No 5 Rockadero ‘Dark and Lively’ coffee. However when I brewed I instantly saw that the coffee takes twice as long to brew compared to the other bags, which I did feel was a bit of a downside. The biggest downside for me, was that (although there is a warning) the first time I opened a coffee sachet, I ripped the coffee bag in half. Now I have to be super careful about opening the sachet, but I still find it really difficult to open. I can imagine for people with dexterity issues that this would be a major problem and I dont think this great in terms of accessibility.
The coffee itself is good, but it isn’t the strength I would have liked, even when brewing for 4 minutes. So on the whole for, bit of a 2/5 for me, I’ll be switching back to TOH!
One thing I have been LOVING throughout Autumn is this syrup. Oh My Word. I bought it for £3.99 from TK MAXX and it has been making my coffees taste amazing. I feel like I’m drinking a barista made coffee no matter the quality of the coffee. It’s also 0 calories and 0 sugar WIN WIN WIN!!
What are your plans for Halloween? What are you reading? Are you baking, getting dressed up ?
I hope you’ve enjoyed this review! If you have, please like this post and follow my blog! You can also follow me on my socials, @papyrusandpeppermint I’m on both instagram & FB!
Until the Next Chapter,