Release date: 30th June 2020
Publisher: Quercus Books/Hachette Au
Blurb: 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 and smart, with 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 Noemí’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.
My honest opinion – this could have been half as long and would have been twice the quality. Was it a ‘good book’ overall? Yes. Did I almost give up multiple times before I hit the 60% mark where it stopped being swoony, whiny and annoying? Yes. I. Did.
Let me start out by saying, this had potential to be absolutely, mind-blowingly amazing. It could have had the same effect as the cactus things in THAT NOVEL (yes this is kind of spoilery but literally everyone makes comment about the *organism* in reviews). It could have pooped all over its competition. But instead, it was vague and kind of boring for a long time. I get it, it’s a period thing. Women were meant to be seen and not heard, yada yada yada. I get it ok. But it just dragged so much that I feel like the first 60% could have been chopped in half and then, while shorter, it would have been so punchy.
So, Noemi goes to the house to save her cousin Catalina after her father insists and threatens to cancel her tuition. Off she goes and then she realises that shit just got weird. It’s all cult-y and there’s so many rules that just seem completely irrelevant and OTT. Everyone is kind of creepy and secretive and there’s a doctor who literally only deals with the family living in High Place. It starts off well and I was well and truly intrigued. But then it does that thing that Gods of Jade and Shadow did where it just kind of slumps in the middle and I had to force myself to keep going (I literally used this book to put me to sleep for almost a week). Once it hits around 60%, It goes full throttle and then suddenly everything is a whirlwind of action right until the end.
The potential this could have had is up there with the greats and their haunted houses. Think the calibre of Shirley Jackson, Darcy Coates, and Dawn Kurtagich’s The Trees Crept In. Alas it failed to deliver for so long, I am forced to give it a kind of mediocre rating. Was the creepy house a character in itself? Yes, but it sort of didn’t seem like it until at least half way through. Also, the whole ‘we cannot leave’ didn’t seem to become a thing until later on. The thing with the fungus was a genius twist but it came a little too late for my liking.
What I’m trying to say is, yes, it is a ‘good’ book for all intents and purposes and all the building blocks are there but its kind of like when someone builds their own cabin in the woods rather than letting a builder do their thing – yes it will keep you dry in a shower but if it storms, you may lose your roof and various internal walls. If you like the whole cults and haunted houses thing, than this would probably be great for you. It just failed to launch for me and that’s ok too.
Until next time lovelies xo