Barbara Ashford / Feb 20, 2020

Spellcast When Maggie Graham lost her job and her apartment fell to pieces she decided to flee New York City for a while and hide in Vermont at the Crossroads Theatre She hadn t planned to audition yet soon

  • Title: Spellcast
  • Author: Barbara Ashford
  • ISBN: 9780756406820
  • Page: 239
  • Format: Paperback
  • When Maggie Graham lost her job and her apartment fell to pieces, she decided to flee New York City for a while and hide in Vermont, at the Crossroads Theatre She hadn t planned to audition, yet soon found herself part of the summer stock cast But her previous acting experiences couldn t prepare her for the theater s unusual staff and its handsome, almost otherworldly diWhen Maggie Graham lost her job and her apartment fell to pieces, she decided to flee New York City for a while and hide in Vermont, at the Crossroads Theatre She hadn t planned to audition, yet soon found herself part of the summer stock cast But her previous acting experiences couldn t prepare her for the theater s unusual staff and its handsome, almost otherworldly director.Read Barbara Ashford s blogs and other content on the Penguin Community.

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      239 Barbara Ashford
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      Posted by:Barbara Ashford
      Published :2018-010-27T19:20:08+00:00

    About "Barbara Ashford"

      • Barbara Ashford

        Barbara wrote her first novel Cherokee the Wild Pinto when she was eight years old and prepared the final manuscript on her Tom Thumb typewriter She discovered the joy of performing when her sister dressed her up as a Pilgrim and had her sing Over the River and Through the Woods for Thanksgiving After that, she was hooked on theatre, performing in shows ranging from Guys and Dolls to Greek tragedy She abandoned a career in educational administration to pursue a life in the theatre, working as an actress in summer stock and dinner theatre and later, as a lyricist and librettist She s written everything from cantatas to choral pieces, one hour musicals for children to full length ones for adults Her musicals have been performed throughout the world, including the New York Musical Theatre Festival and the Edinburgh International Festival Barbara lives near New York City with her husband whom she met while performing in the play Bedroom Farce They have bookcases in every room including the bathroom with an eclectic collection of leather bound classics and beat up paperbacks, reference books and play scripts, nonfiction books on religion, philosophy, and crime, historical fiction and fantasies, and cookbooks that Barbara consults whenever she has to make anything complicated than spaghetti.SPELLCAST is her first contemporary fantasy and is inspired by her years as an actress The sequel SPELLCROSSED will be published by DAW Books in 2012 Her short stories appear in the anthologies After Hours Tales from the Ur Bar and The Modern Fae s Guide to Surviving Humanity.


    1. You know when you’re having one of “those” days, well Maggie has it worse. Not only does she lose her job, but while in the bath the ceiling collapses. Maggie takes this as a sign to get out of Dodge & goes on a road trip. She ends up at the Crossroads Theatre, something seems to pull her there.It couldn’t have come at a better time, Maggie decides to take it as a sign & revives her acting career. Then she meets Director Rowan Mackenzie, he’s oddly appealing to her but he’s h [...]

    2. This is an "I don't know what to say" sort of review. After picking up and putting down copies of "Spellcast" in multiple bookstores, I finally bought it at a Borders closing sale. It then spent a while on the TBR pile, as book after book moved in front of it. I finally took it along on a business trip, and ran out of other books to read. Not exactly a stirring endorsement, so far, is it?This is not an "I couldn't put it down" sort of book. It's the type that slowly works its way under your skin [...]

    3. One of the best discoveries of 2011! I finished Speelcast and I'm still speechless. I got curious about this book when I saw some reviews stating wonders about this novel by Barbara Ashford. I have to admit the title and the cover did some convincing too but how could I resist to such marvellous reviews? I don't normally buy books because of fantastic review. At least when I'm not certain the book can meet my expectations. But in this case I was enthralled by various factors and I couldn't resis [...]

    4. A very charming story about redemption, love and friendship all wrapped up in a musical theater setting. I love stories that can be described as dwelling on the magical realism theme, stories where the fantastic mingles with everyday life. And this one sure delivered. I had a little trouble at the beginning of the book, with the introduction of so many characters. Some of whom took me awhile to be able to followbut all of them were necessary and vital to this tale. Maggie and Rowan, were amazing [...]

    5. Originally Posted at thespinecracker/After hours of having a completely quiet and catatonic wife, my husband had to interrupt and ask, "Must be a really good book huh?" He said I looked up with this look of awe on my face and said, "It's like nothing I've ever read before." And that's exactly how I felt; how I still feel even days later. To be completely honest, when Ms. Ashford asked me to read her book I was nervous that I would find it hard to connect with the story -being that I'm not a thes [...]

    6. Totally taken by surprise regarding SPELLCAST by Barbara Ashford! This book was sugary sweet, but deeply introspective all wrapped up in a musical that was laced with a little paranormal tid-bits here and there. I still don’t know why I accepted this review copy, I’m not into musical theater, I guess it was the cover, or the originality, or maybe even the glowing reviews – but I’m so glad I did take it, read it and subsequently highly enjoy it. Don’t judge, just read. You’ll be pleas [...]

    7. It is obviously a sign from above that Maggie needs a change of scene when she is not only fired, but the ceiling of her bathroom collapses on top of her while she tries to take a consolatory bath. She packs a bag and leaves New York City for Vermont, intent on finding a Bed and Breakfast. What she finds instead is the Crossroads Theater and its enigmatic director Rowan.Spellcast is a fairy tale, and like all the best fairy tales it is dark and dangerous, and examines all of the things about our [...]

    8. I tagged this book as fantasy, but that's mostly because I don't use a "romance" tag. It barely counts as fantasy. Barely.Yes, I binged on this book. I stayed up late Saturday night. I read for a huge chunk of Sunday. After a few books in a row that were heavy and dense, the lightness of Spellcast was welcome. That said - what the heck? I'm just at a loss as to how this is going to be a good book group discussion. I can't see that there is much to ponder here.The book is not easy to start. In th [...]

    9. Spellcast by Barbara Ashford could have been written especially for me: a New York City woman (Maggie Graham) has lost her job in public relations (my former field), flees the city and ends up in a small town in New England (my fantasy), just to rest for a few days. However, they are casting a musical (my first, original, and forever love-musical theater) and of course she wins a part.Spellcast has something for everybody-or at least every part of me :) There's theater, magic, escape from city l [...]

    10. I finished this lovely book at 12:45am last night, and I am embarrassed to tell you how emotional I was by the end of the story. It actually kept me awake a long time, as I pondered what might lie ahead for these very engaging and, in the case of Rowan MacKenzie, charismatic, characters. Yes. I admit it. I fretted. Over fictional beings. But isn’t the whole purpose of writing to make the reader care? I think it is. And I think Barbara Ashford did just that, so the book rates very high with me. [...]

    11. 3.5The first few chapters of this were tough to get through, as you get a million characters thrown at you and not a lot of depth and I considered dumping the book at one point, but I'm glad I stuck with it, because I did get sucked in, eventually.I think this is partially due to the fact that I kind of related to Maggie - and it was kind of refreshing to see a size 12 female protagonist - and partially 'cause I'm sort of a sucker for things Fae. I also liked the quasi-magical-realism aspect of [...]

    12. First off, a quick disclaimer: I won this book in a giveaway.That said, this is a beautiful book. I loved it! Perhaps I've become a bit jaded from some of my reading, but it felt so refreshing to read a book where the characters were real people. Good people, but real. Not the idealized versions of people. The conflicts and interactions felt like those I have with others everyday. Even the fantasy elements are handled in a way that makes them feel perfectly possible. I would definitely pick up [...]

    13. Originally posted at smexybooks/2011/06/speFavorite Quote: “Remember that he loves you, that you are his heart, that he will carry you with him all the days and nights of his long life. Remember how much you love him, that it’s not merely an echo of his feelings, but as real as the sun on your back and the tears on your face.”Maggie Graham is having a very bad day. First she lost her job, then the ceiling in her NY apartment collapsed. Believing this may be karma’s way of telling her to [...]

    14. Review from my book blog (wordpress / livejournal)This is a review for a book I received from the publisher/author.The Premise: When Maggie Graham is laid off and her apartment ceiling collapses into her bathroom on the same day, she has a good cry, then dusts herself off and decides she needs to figure out what to do next. So she packs up and drives. She finds herself in Dale, Vermont, next to a tiny theatre holding auditions for their summer program. On a whim Maggie tries out, and gets a smal [...]

    15. Did I like this book? Um. Yes…. But ultimately…. no. Any novel with great, realistic, and funny-to-boot dialogue is always in my good books. I was so desperate for a good fantasy book with a strong female protagonist, and try as I might I have trouble finding a fantasy book that I like outside of Emma Bull, Juliet Marillier and Sharon Shinn. But I saw this at the bookstore and was immediately hooked by the bathtub scene and falling ceiling, then by the witty inner dialogue of the main charac [...]

    16. You may also read my review here: mybookishways/2011/11/32 year old Maggie Graham is having a very,very bad day. First she loses her job,then she watches as the bathroom ceiling in her tiny New York apartment falls down. Determined to get away,she takes her meager savings and heads for the country lure of rural Vermont. Following her gut,she takes a certain exit,that leads to a certain town (Dale),where there is a certain white barn… Sorry for sounding a bit cryptic,but from the beginning,ther [...]

    17. One of the things I love best about blogging is discovering books like Spellcast. This is one of those books that I would have passed right over if it hadn't been for the tweets that Jessica from The Spinecracker saying how much she loved this book. As we have similar tastes in books, I went to to check it out. I'm not sure what drew me to the book, but I decided to take a chance on it-and I'm glad I did.Words really can't describe this book. It's sweet, fun, lovable and full of goodness. I lov [...]

    18. When I read the premise of this book - magic in a summer stock theatre company in Vermont - and also Carrie Vaughn's front-cover quote, "Warm, humorous, emotional, heartfelt and full of magic", I was expecting something like Debora Geary produces in her Witch novels. Well it is and it isn't. There are moments where I was moved. There are moments where I laughed out loud, usually at a bit of characterization. But those moments are separated by long stretches which sometimes came very close to ted [...]

    19. I was hoping for some community theatre fantasy fluff when I picked this book up, but what I got was something altogether stranger and more satisfying. This book starts from a very well-trod path but it quickly branches off to explore its own territory, and there is a substrate of bittersweet longing and sinister mystery that stops this story about personal growth and community from being fluff. It's a very hard book to discuss without spoilers, but I think it's important to go into it without k [...]

    20. The book starts off painting with a broad brush-- the kind of scene set up you expect from a short story or a novella. I was left wondering where the story could possibly go from the initial setup. And 3/4ths of the way in, I'm still wondering.It's about 100 pages worth of story stretched out into 430 pages.You get the backstory of every minor bit player-- who still remain cardboard cutouts. So much fat that could be trimmed. The dialog is stilted and unbelievable and-- overacted.Rowan's charact [...]

    21. I found this new UF novel delightful. Maggie’s lost her job, then her bathroom ceiling collapses and she decides it’s time to get out of Dodge (or more accurately, Brooklyn.) She goes for a drive and winds up at a theater holding auditions in Vermont. They’ll do “Brigadoon,” “Carousel” and an original musical, but the Crossroads Theater is hardly a regular theater company, for Rowan Mackenzie runs it. Besides the moody and mysterious director, there’s the “normal” magic that [...]

    22. Spellcast put a spell on me. Barbara Ashford is an amazing author, who reminds me of a young adult author named Richie Tankersly Cusick whose books I used to read when I was younger. I simply had trouble putting the book down the entire time I read it. There are so few authors that can actually have that effect. I can't wait to read another book by her, and I hope there is a sequel to this book.

    23. THIS WAS SO FREAKING GOOD. Everything. Oh my goodness. This book, hands down, is one of my new very favorites. Despite the terribly photoshopped cover, what's inside is total and complete art. I loved it. I seldom reread books, but I almost want to flip right back to the beginning and start again. Two thumbs up and a definite recommendation from me.

    24. I picked this up because it was in at the library when I needed another e-book for the elliptical (with 20 minutes left to go!), and I had enjoyed The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity enough that I looked up every author in there.This starts out as a kind of fluffy-but-charming novel about human encountering fae magic. Fine, I read plenty of books about that. There is a clear romance aspect, which then gets worse, until about 2/3 of the way through it finally becomes the plot. Which I fe [...]

    25. DNF. Tried to get all the way through but the more I read the more I just couldn't stand the main character, Maggie.

    26. Today's post is on 'Spellcast' by Barbara Ashford. It is published by DAW which is an imprint of Penguin Group. It is 433 pages long. The cover has a very nice picture of a barn with theatre curtains in the doorway. The cover did not really draw me to the book it was the title, I just love it. The intended reader is 16+ because of some sex scenes, nothing really bad, but just something you need to be aware of. There Be Spoilers Ahead. From the back of the book- Maggie Graham was having a very ba [...]

    27. After hearing so many good things about Spellcast by Barbara Ashford I knew I had to read it, I was waiting for the perfect moment and it came during my vacation, a vacation in which I vowed not to read (much) or do anything book related. But Spellcast had another idea; after reading just couple of paragraphs I found myself completely surrendered to its magic and wishing for more alone time to read. I like and enjoy theater but if I’m being honest I don’t know much about what’s going on be [...]

    28. Spellcast is about 33-year-old Maggie, who doesn't really know what she wants in life. After her layoff from a help desk job in New York City, Maggie packs her bags for a weekend road trip Away. While wandering through Vermont, she encounters a little theater that is just holding auditions for the summer show season. Minus resume, headshot, etc she tries out and is cast oddly. As she talks with the rest of the new cast, she realizes that the majority of the cast are major misfits for the roles, [...]

    29. Barbara Ashford's debut novel is at once fantastical, realistic, heartwarming, and touching. It begins with Maggie Graham losing her job and having her bathroom ceiling plaster cave in on her while she's taking a relaxing conciliatory bath. Fed up, she decides she needs a break from Brooklyn and her life and heads to Vermont in her car. There, she finds the Crossroads Theater and, reaching back to her original passion before she settled for a 9-5 day job, she "accidentally" auditions for the sum [...]

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