Early Review: Spellcrossed by Barbara Ashford

Spellcrossed by Barbara Ashford
DAW/June 5th, 2012
Kind thanks to DAW for providing a review copy


But when Maggie Graham freed Rowan Mackenzie to return to Faerie, she took the first step toward her new life as director of the Crossroads Theatre. A hectic new season of summer stock leaves her little time to moon over the past. She has to balance the demands of her interfering board president and a company of actors that includes bewildered amateurs, disdainful professionals, a horde of children, and an arthritic dog. And while Maggie yearns to give others the kind of healing she found at the Crossroads, even she recognizes that magic must take a back seat to ticket sales.

But magic is hard to banish from the old white barn. Memories lurk like ghosts in the shadowy wings and the unexpected is as time-honored a tradition as the curtain call. And when the tangled spells of Maggie’s past turn her life upside down, it will take more than faery magic to ensure the happy-ever-after ending she longs for….


Hand me a book by Barbara Ashford, and the world around me just falls away. Seriously, things get neglected…laundry, dishes, etc, you get the idea. Spellcast had me spellbound, and Spellcrossed was no different. The ending of Spellcrossed was very bittersweet so I was anxious to dive back into the wonderful world of musical theatre and Faerie magic. Maggie Graham has settled in as director of the Crossroads Theatre. Well, as much as you can “settle in” with this bunch. The Crossroads gang keeps her on her toes constantly, and she misses Rowan so badly it hurts. The theatre is doing well, although getting used to not having the helping hand of Rowan’s magic is sorely missed. Little does Maggie know, the routine she’s worked so hard to settle into, is about to be upturned in spectacular (and of course, magical) ways.

Told in Maggie’s witty voice, Spellcrossed wraps you in warmth like a favorite blanket. Think you have absolutely no interest in musical theatre? I certainly didn’t think I did, but this series changed my mind. Ms. Ashford is a thespian herself, so the lady knows of what she speaks, and it shows! Her talent lies in not only making Maggie a fully developed character, but also giving each person in the supporting cast completely realized roles as well. She’s also very adept at creating tension and holding it without losing her readers, and manages to make the ins and outs of putting together a musical stage show utterly fascinating. Lots of loose ends from Spellcast are tied up in Spellcrossed, but to give those away would be, well, letting the magic out of the bag! Speaking of magic, the love between Maggie and her theatre family is gently and sweetly woven throughout each production of the Crossroads theatre, and is the “magic” that she has to offer the cast in Rowan’s absence. From an utterly charming production of Annie (including an aging Sandy and a gaggle of orphans) to the ethereal Into the Woods, Faerie magic and the magic of musical theatre intertwine seamlessly to create a read worth savoring, and it’s a summer stock season that you won’t soon forget. I can’t recommend this series highly enough!