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Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Penguin Random House)  August 17, 2021

August 12, 2021

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Never judge a book by its cover, right?  I can’t say that any of your first edition book covers (or even later ones) persuaded me to read your work (sorry 🤷‍♀️). However, the words you wrote made up for some wickedly boring covers. I will admit though that I was instantly seduced by the cover of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s newest sensation, Velvet Was the Night.   Luscious lips coated in a sticky pink gloss about to take a drag off of a tantalizing cigarette being gracefully handled by pointy manicured nails with a drizzle of smoke permeating the air!!!    Ummmmm, I had to see what’s inside! And guess what????  I am happy to report that the pages of this historical noir were just as mesmerizing as its cover.   Let’s take a look.

Moreno-Garcia’s latest work of art takes place in Mexico City during the 1970s, the start of the “Dirty War”.  Our leading lady Maite is for all intents and purposes, a bored and lonely secretary who enjoys her weekly romance comics with a small side of kleptomania.  When her neighbor goes missing, Maite is determined (out of sheer annoyance) to find her, which leads us to Elvis.  Elvis is a young gentleman who unofficially works for the government as a member of the HAWKS.  His position is everything he despises…attacking, torturing and basically killing protesters.  Elvis and Maite’s paths get tangled when they discover they are both searching for the same missing woman but for entirely different reasons. Maite is very surprised to learn the depths of this search. Government involvement, Russian spies and a whole lot of danger give this underwhelmed secretary an unexpected run for her money.   

Velvet Was the Night was 100% my cup of tea.  I loved how the setting was smothered in dimness with a heavy sense of danger lurking in the background.  I enjoy sunny stories with blue skies and laughter from time to time.  Who doesn’t? However, being engrossed in a slow burn mystery while drenching myself in inky vibes brings me tons of reading joy. I want to feel like I am somewhere different.  I read to learn, to escape, to bear emotions that are different from those in my own life. Moreno-Garcia invited me somewhere tense and unsettled while occupying my mind with an absorbing tale.  I just adore when my reading expectations are met. 

Maite and Elvis’ are not polished or shining brightly through the pages for that matter. In all honesty though, sparkly characters are not the ones who rock my literary world.  I prefer the dreamers, the characters with jagged edges. While I was wildly entertained with a weary secretary suddenly getting involved in such threatening affairs, I was also thrilled to be engaged in a setting/time period that opened my eyes to a part of history I knew very little about.  Lastly, Moreno-Garcia brings on the noir, lonely hearts and political “riff” with an incredible nod to vinyl and good old fashion rock n’ roll.  Authors who braid in the love of music (forbidden music in this case), always win me over. 

Velvet Was the Night comes out August 17, 2021.  Be sure to grab yourself a copy!  Now, “A Little Less Conversation” and a whole bunch of reading please!

Until next time my friend!

Your Biggest Fan,


P.S. Be sure to check out what I had to say about Moreno-Garcia’s previous book, Mexican Gothic.

Click on this incredible book cover to purchase!

***I received an advance reader copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  My opinions are 100% my own. If I don’t like it…I don’t share it!

Open Your Eyes

Mexican Gothic book cover

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Del Rey)

Mexican Gothic Beauty shot

October 8, 2020

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

I wish I could say that I spent more time in Mexico over the years. Warm sandy beaches, unique landscapes, and scrumptious cuisine continue to call my name during this time of literally no frivolous travel (at least for me). My only recollection of this country is of me sipping lethal cocktails from a three-foot-long plastic cup in Cancun and wandering the bustling streets of Tijuana in search of some bottled water and a pharmacy. Not exactly my classiest moments, but oh…to be young again. I was lucky enough this fall to be transported to the Mexican countryside circa the 1950s in Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s latest book, Mexican Gothic. Gothic horror with a touch of glamour and mystique makes this book an essential fall read. Sink into the depths of your couch with a warm bevy and cozy blanket. Let’s go visit High Place, the Manderley of Mexico!

Noemi receives an urgent letter from her newly married cousin, Catalina.  Catalina is begging to be rescued from her new home at High Place claiming it’s filled with doom. Something is simply not right with this deranged letter. Noemi travels to the Mexican countryside to suss out the situation and rescue Catalina from whatever nonsense is causing such strain.  Alarm bells sound upon arrival to this old and creepy estate. Catalina is in poor health with no understanding of why, while her mental state is in utter shambles. Her new husband and his family are disturbingly odd, and the strict rules of the house do not accommodate Noemi or any other socialite visiting. As she probes the family for more insight, she uncovers unsettling family secrets and a presence that literally resides in the walls of High Place.  Freakish dreams, hallucinations, and a whole lot of gore begin to surface, leaving Noemi not only feeling completely anguished for answers but afraid to go to sleep.  Will Francais, the only somewhat likable member of the family befriend her, or will Noemi have to go it alone getting Catalina out of this terrorizing home?  

It is difficult not to mention Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca while writing this.  Yes, I can see why at first glance one may notion that Mexican Gothic is the “Mexican Rebecca”.  Mysterious houses in the countryside (Manderley and High Point), bewitching love, eerie staff, hair-raising secrets galore…how could one not postulate that reasoning. I am certainly guilty of this AND for naturally comparing the two throughout reading Mexican Gothic.  I guess that is what we readers do. However, Moreno-Garcia and du Maurier wrote two entirely different books which, I believe, have precisely hidden themes throughout their respective stories. A topic to explore for another day. I digress. 

Mexican Gothic released in June 2020.  While the book world devoured this new release immediately, I patiently waited. For me, this book fits the bill for a seasonal tale to be consumed during the haunted months that fall bestows on us (because it is fabulous, you can of course enjoy this any time of year).  Moreno-Garcia’s writing entailed a sublime amount of sinister vibes while captivating a darkly seductive atmosphere. One thing I will say is that I surprisingly reveled in all the gory details Moreno-Garcia put forward in her book.  I am not typically a horror reader, but Mexican Gothic had just the right amount of imagery and fright for me while offering a satisfying backstory and mystery that kept me on my toes until the very end.   

If fall reading is your jam, then grab yourself a copy of this spine-chilling treasure. Keep the lights on while reading this at night and DO NOT stare at the wall for too long…it could be overrun with gloom.

Until next time my friend!

Your Biggest Fan,


P.S. If you have never read Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, now is the time. It is another quintessential fall read to have on your shelf.  Hauntingly gorgeous and utterly gripping, Rebecca is a timeless read. Visit Manderley, smell the salt water air and feel the shadows lingering all around you. You will not regret. You will not forget! A new TV version of this book is coming to NETFLIX this month 🤗.

Click on the book pics below to purchase.

Beauty shot of book, Rebecca
Mexican Gothic book cover
Rebecca book cover

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