RETURN OF THE GULLS "...allows me to enjoy a wonderful suspense (or more accurately a contemporary gothic) by a writer of distinction. It's her second book, and, after reading it with increasing speed, a few gasps, and sitting on the edge of my chair, I know I have found a new author to add to my list of "hafta-read-everything-they-write" authors. Ms. McMahon goes on the list with Mary Stewart (who just happens to be her heroine as far as writing is concerned). Yes, she's that good.
"In Ireland to write articles for a magazine, Stacey Christian meets Peter Mansfield, an old love (one that can still kindle sparks). He invites her to go with him to visit his aunt--the one who lives in haunted Faoilenn Marrach, or Gull's Castle. Intrigued by the idea, and knowing there had to be a story there, Stacey agrees.
"Is the castle actually haunted? The locals all think so--Stacey doesn't believe it for a moment. Determined to prove her point, Stacey stays at the castle when Peter leaves to go to Dublin and try to untangle his aunt's snarled finances. That's when things start happening, really unusual things--and Stacey can't stay out of it.
"I'm a fan of gothics--especially if they stand above the crowd in the genre--and HAUNTING PASSIONS certainly does that. Well fleshed, interesting characters, all with quirks and warts, a truly evil antagonist, a legend that comes to life, and a plot that meanders, twists, curls back on itself, and refuses to allow the reader a chance to escape.
"Mary Stewart mentored Ms. McMahon, at least in spirit, and this book shows how apt a pupil the author has proven herself to be."
Rating: Four out of four crescents
Reviewer: Patricia Lucas White