A few months ago, the hold request I had at my local library—the hold I had been waiting months for—finally came through. After months of hearing the hype, I finally got to dig into Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic. It was the perfect book for people who love a little scare without the intense gore and horror. And I’ve spent just about every day since craving the chilling atmosphere that I read there, so I’ve compiled this list of eight books that I think are the perfect follow up novel to Mexican Gothic.
If you were drawn into MEXICAN GOTHIC’s lush and atmospheric setting, with a touch of the supernatural, then you should check out Zoraida Córdova’s THE INHERITANCE OF ORQUÍDEA DIVINA. This enchanting new novel follows the Montoya family, who are all summoned back to their family home by their matriarch, Orquídea Divina, in order to be present at her funeral. As the family arrives to say goodbye, Orquídea bequeaths them all unexpected and very strange gifts. Years later, the family starts getting killed off one by one by a mysterious figure, and four of Orquídea’s descendants are tasked with returning to Orquídea’s homeland in Ecuador to figure out who is hunting them down, and how they can stop them. It’s a beguiling new book and I can’t stop recommending it to everyone.
Perfect for fans of Alice Hoffman, Isabel Allende, and Sarah Addison Allen, this is a gorgeously written novel about a family searching for the truth hidden in their past and the power they’ve inherited, from the author of the acclaimed and “giddily exciting” (The New York Times Book Review) Brooklyn Brujas series.
The Montoyas are used to a life without explanations. They know better than to ask why the pantry never seems to run low or empty, or why their matriarch won’t ever leave their home in Four Rivers—even for graduations, weddings, or baptisms. But when Orquídea Divina invites them to her funeral and to collect their inheritance, they hope to learn the secrets that she has held onto so tightly their whole lives. Instead, Orquídea is transformed, leaving them with more questions than answers.
Seven years later, her gifts have manifested in different ways for Marimar, Rey, and Tatinelly’s daughter, Rhiannon, granting them unexpected blessings. But soon, a hidden figure begins to tear through their family tree, picking them off one by one as it seeks to destroy Orquídea’s line. Determined to save what’s left of their family and uncover the truth behind their inheritance, the four descendants travel to Ecuador—to the place where Orquídea buried her secrets and broken promises and never looked back.
Alternating between Orquídea’s past and her descendants’ present, The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is an enchanting novel about what we knowingly and unknowingly inherit from our ancestors, the ties that bind, and reclaiming your power.
If you loved the tense, creeping feel of MEXICAN GOTHIC, then you have to check out Jennifer McMahon’s THE DROWNING KIND. This novel follows social worker Jax, who is returning to her family home after her sister’s mysterious death in the swimming pool. As Jax searches through Lexie’s personal belongings, she learns that her sister was researching their family house’s history. Simultaneously, the reader follows the story of newlywed Ethel in 1929, whose husband brings her to a natural spring in Vermont that is rumored to grant wishes. But as Ethel wishes for her deepest desire, she fails to consider that everything comes with a price. It’s a haunting tale that will be sure to keep you turning pages—though maybe not late at night.
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Invited and The Winter People comes a chilling new novel about a woman who returns to the old family home after her sister mysteriously drowns in its swimming pool…but she’s not the pool’s only victim.
Be careful what you wish for.
When social worker Jax receives nine missed calls from her older sister, Lexie, she assumes that it’s just another one of her sister’s episodes. Manic and increasingly out of touch with reality, Lexie has pushed Jax away for over a year. But the next day, Lexie is dead: drowned in the pool at their grandmother’s estate. When Jax arrives at the house to go through her sister’s things, she learns that Lexie was researching the history of their family and the property. And as she dives deeper into the research herself, she discovers that the land holds a far darker past than she could have ever imagined.
In 1929, thirty-seven-year-old newlywed Ethel Monroe hopes desperately for a baby. In an effort to distract her, her husband whisks her away on a trip to Vermont, where a natural spring is showcased by the newest and most modern hotel in the Northeast. Once there, Ethel learns that the water is rumored to grant wishes, never suspecting that the spring takes in equal measure to what it gives.
A haunting, twisty, and compulsively readable thrill ride from the author who Chris Bohjalian has dubbed the “literary descendant of Shirley Jackson,” The Drowning Kind is a modern-day ghost story that illuminates how the past, though sometimes forgotten, is never really far behind us.
ONCE UPON A RIVER by Diane Setterfield is an enchanting and suspenseful novel that is set along the Thames in the late nineteenth century. One night at the local inn, a mysterious man barges in carrying the body of a young girl. Unexpectedly, many hours later, the child wakes up, mute, and everyone becomes determined to figure out where she came from, who she belongs to, and how she rose from the dead. Much like MEXICAN GOTHIC, this novel is filled with intrigue, anticipation, and twists that are sure to keep you hooked.
If you loved MEXICAN GOTHIC, but want to ramp-up the horror a notch, I highly recommend T. Kingfisher’s THE TWISTED ONES. This absolutely chilling novel follows our protagonist Mouse as she returns to her (not beloved) dead grandmother’s house in order to clear it out. But among the hoarded mess inside the house—including newspapers stacked high, hangers piled into every room, and a collection of baby dolls—Mouse discovers a journal filled with horrific descriptions of the things that live in the woods behind the house. Mouse thinks it’s all nonsense. That is, until she starts to see these things herself.
Winner of the RUSA Award for Best Horror
When a young woman clears out her deceased grandmother’s home in rural North Carolina, she finds long-hidden secrets about a strange colony of beings in the woods in this chilling novel that reads like The Blair Witch Project meets The Andy Griffith Show.
When Mouse’s dad asks her to clean out her dead grandmother's house, she says yes. After all, how bad could it be?
Answer: pretty bad. Grandma was a hoarder, and her house is stuffed with useless rubbish. That would be horrific enough, but there’s more—Mouse stumbles across her step-grandfather’s journal, which at first seems to be filled with nonsensical rants…until Mouse encounters some of the terrifying things he described for herself.
Alone in the woods with her dog, Mouse finds herself face to face with a series of impossible terrors—because sometimes the things that go bump in the night are real, and they’re looking for you. And if she doesn’t face them head on, she might not survive to tell the tale.
From Hugo Award–winning author Ursula Vernon, writing as T. Kingfisher, The Twisted Ones is a gripping, terrifying tale bound to keep you up all night—from both fear and anticipation of what happens next.
Oh, so you like reading about families filled with secrets? If that was your draw to MEXICAN GOTHIC, you should check out Andrew Pyper’s THE HOMECOMING. This thriller tells the story of the Quinlan family, returning to their father’s estate after his death in order to claim their inheritance. But the reading of the will comes with a very strange caveat—to get their inheritance, the family must remain together at their father’s remote property for one month without any outside contact. They, of course, agree to these odd terms. As the family settles in for their time together, they are shocked when more people arrive to the estate. Who they are and what they’re doing there shows the Quinlan family that their father had more secrets than they ever knew. And as these secrets begin to unravel, the reader is brought along on a wholly unexpected but engrossing journey.
Instant National Bestseller
Bestselling author Andrew Pyper returns with a riveting psychological thriller about how the people you’ve known your whole life can suddenly become strangers.
What if everything you knew about the people you loved was a lie?
After the death of their absentee father, Aaron and Bridge Quinlan travel to a vast rainforest property in the Pacific Northwest to hear the reading of his will. There, they meet up with their mother and troubled sister, Franny, and are shocked to discover the will’s terms: in order to claim their inheritance they must all remain at the estate for thirty days without any contact with the outside world. Despite their concerns, they agree.
The Quinlans soon come to learn their family has more secrets than they ever imagined—revelations that at first inspire curiosity, then fear. Why does Bridge have faint memories of the estate? Why did their father want them to be sequestered there together? And what is out there they feel pulling them into the dark heart of the woods?
The Homecoming is at once a gripping mystery, a chilling exploration of how our memories can both define and betray us, and a riveting page-turner that will have you questioning your very existence.
THE LOST APOTHECARY tells the story of a secret apothecary in late eighteenth-century London, that dispenses poisons for women to use against the men who have wronged them. But one evening, as a young customer walks into her store, everything changes. Years later, Caroline travels to England after her marriage shatters. While she’s there, she stumbles across an old apothecary vial that leads her on a search to discover its origin and the person who made the vial. Much like MEXICAN GOTHIC, THE LOST APOTHECARY explores the gender roles that women are always expected to adhere to, and both feature fearless women who continue to boldly step outside those norms.
They way that MEXICAN GOTHIC blended a captivating horror story and social commentary was masterful, and if you agree, you should definitely check out Stephen Graham Jones’s THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS. This story follows Lewis, Gabe, Cass, and Ricky—four young Indigenous men who go out hunting one day and end up trespassing onto sacred grounds. Years later, they are being hunted by a force that is seeking revenge and their earlier betrayal against tradition begins to catch up with them.
A USA TODAY BESTSELLER
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
In this latest novel from Stephen Graham Jones comes a “heartbreakingly beautiful story” (Library Journal, starred review) of revenge, cultural identity, and the cost of breaking from tradition.
Seamlessly blending classic horror and a dramatic narrative with sharp social commentary, The Only Good Indians is “a masterpiece. Intimate, devastating, brutal, terrifying, warm, and heartbreaking in the best way” (Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts). This novel follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives. Tracked by an entity bent on revenge, these childhood friends are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in violent, vengeful ways. Labeled “one of 2020’s buzziest horror novels” (Entertainment Weekly), this is a remarkable horror story “will give you nightmares—the good kind of course” (BuzzFeed).
A flagging upper class and a decaying estate? If you were drawn to these creepy plot points in MEXICAN GOTHIC, then you definitely have to check our Sarah Waters’s THE LITTLE STRANGER. This sinister novel tells the story of Dr. Faraday, who is called out to Hundreds Hall for the first time since his childhood, when his mother worked at the estate as a maid. Dr. Faraday becomes close with the Ayres family and supports them as they seek desperately to maintain their old way of life. But as their lives become more intertwined, Dr. Faraday discovers that something far more sinister is beginning to occur at Hundreds Hall. It’s an exploration of class wrapped in a perfectly gothic horror story and it’s a great follow up read to MEXICAN GOTHIC.
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