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Spellcast [Kindle Edition]

Barbara Ashford
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $5.99
You Save: $2.00 (25%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

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 director.

Read Barbara Ashford's blogs and other content on the Penguin Community.

Editorial Reviews


Four Stars. (Romantic Times Book Reviews)

A surprisingly poignant novel...woven by an author with a deft touch at creating a realistic and emotional love story. (Night Owl Reviews Top Pick)

There's a vast but little known overlap between fans of fantasy and fans of musical theater, and Barbara Ashford hits the sweet spot on both with SPELLCAST. It's warm, humorous, emotional, heartfelt, and full of magic. Curse you, Barbara, for making me cry! And for getting ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ stuck in my head all week.
(New York Times bestselling author Carrie Vaughn)

[A] charming fantasy novel...left me wanting more, in fine theatrical tradition.

One of those rare gems... something completely different... a love story, a fantasy, a mystery, and a theatre book all rolled into one. (New Myths)

About the Author

Barbara Ashford grew up in Wilmington, Delaware and began her theatrical debut at an early age. After performing all over in converted playhouses from barns to churches to used car showrooms, she gave up performance to write musical theatre. Eventually she returned to fiction, using her theatre background to create the novel that became Spellcast. Barbara Ashford can be found at

Product Details

  • File Size: 903 KB
  • Print Length: 446 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 075640682X
  • Publisher: DAW (May 3, 2011)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004XFZ4DG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #897,635 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite books of this year May 9, 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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 behind the curtains nor do I know about the process it takes for an idea to become a reality in a stage. Mrs. Ashford clearly knows her theater and in Spellcast she masterfully brings all her knowledge to the pages making us live and experience the life behind and on the theater.

What I liked about Spellcast? I liked everything, there is nothing I can say I didn't like. Spellcast is a book that made me laugh, cry, hope and wish for more. The characters are diverse and so well written that they felt very real, so real that you can identify them with people you know. They all have their flaws and their good qualities, flaws and qualities you also identify in yourself and others.

Maggie is a great heroine, her life is upside-down and she finds herself in a weird theater, surrounding by unconventional people. She knows there is more to them and the theater even though they are pretending everything is normal. I loved how she was stubborn enough not to let other people's suggestions change her reality.

Rowan is the mysterious hero with a secret past and an aura of sadness surrounding him. He is moody and reclusive but lives to helps others.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best sort of fairy tale May 6, 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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 ourselves we would rather not look at. It also glimmers with wide eyed wonder and rustles with restless energy. It is impossible to put down.

Ashford's love of theater is apparent and will touch everyone who has had the luck to walk across the stage, and everyone who has ever wanted to. She captures the camaraderie of the theater perfectly, with all of its dysfunctions and drama. Her descriptions of things I enjoyed so much when I was younger, my time spent engaged in summer theater, tickled a smile onto my face and marched goosebumps down my arms. It was perfect. And I didn't realize I had enjoyed theater as much as I had, or that I missed it. It is an amazing author that can appeal to memories that are almost 20 years old and get me to recall them so vividly.

And it isn't just theater. It is family, and friends, relationships and work and all those little and not so little things that fill our lives and make us who we are.

Spellcast can be a very personal read, if you let it. And I encourage you greatly to do so.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Do You Like Showtunes and Plays? September 28, 2011
By Judah
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If you have immersed yourself into the amateur acting sub-culture, this novel is exactly what you want to read. It's filled to the brim with inside jokes (I didn't get) and theater references. The magic is subtle, not as big a part of this novel as the emotional transformations of the cast. The magic is more an explanation for why these normal people can act with the minimum rehearsal time.

So why aren't I cheering along with the other reviewers? The book was more romance than fantasy, with character transformation, showtunes, and theater jargon being the whole thing. The author makes an effort at mystery (Director Rowan), but it turns into a veneer/delivery vehicle for the romance. The Crossroads Theater in Vermont feels more like rural America in the 1960's than the rural town I live in, and I found the hospitality of the townsfolk more a 'fantasy' than the rest of the book. The author assumes the reader knows the plots for musical theater; "Carousel", "The Elephant Man", "Into the Woods", and others are all referenced by page twenty-five. If you aren't familiar with theater (like me), the book loses a certain something and becomes merely 'OK'.

If you did tons of plays in college and high school and still have lines from them memorized, then add a star. If romance if your favorite kind of book, add another star. On the other hand, if you only like fast-paced actiony fantasy with combat and flashy magic, subtract a star.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fantasy-romance May 20, 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Spellcast is a wonderful fantasy-romance with enough mystery and suspense to keep readers guessing until the last page. A mysterious director beckons people from all over the country to his theater to perform musicals based on what they "need" to learn. The 32-year-old heroine begins to delve into the director's secrets while (naturally) falling in love with him.

The narrative voice tends toward chic-lit side rather than epic fantasy, and it worked marvelously well. I loved getting the inside knowledge of theater that Barbara Ashford obviously brings to the tale.

Despite being lifelong lover of fantasy, I have found most fantasy romances to be largely unsatisfying (the books of Juliette Marillier being an exception). Spellcast won't disappoint.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A Fresh Twist on the Literal and Metaphorical Magic of Live Theatre
Although she ditched professional acting for a more stable desk job, New Yorker Maggie Graham is miserable. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Liz W.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonder !
Such a magical, enchanting story ! It will make you laugh, cry, fall in love with the characters. You will wish that it never ends ! Wondrous !
Published 12 months ago by Jacqui Bradshaw
5.0 out of 5 stars By far one of my favorite fantasies to date...
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. Read more
Published 16 months ago by MyBookishWays
3.0 out of 5 stars I wanted to love it, but....
Paperback/Paranormal Romance: I wanted so much to like this book more, but it was a struggle to read it for me. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Brave Warrior
4.0 out of 5 stars Paranormal romance in a contemporary theater setting
This is an unusual novel in that it combines contemporary fantasy and a highly realistic account of what it takes to put on musical theater in summer stock. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Carol Holland March
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and idiosyncratic "urban fantasy"
This is the first novel, and it has an equally good sequel. However, I'd recommend reading this one first, because the sequel expects one to know the intricate relationships... Read more
Published on December 26, 2012 by Cissa
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a grabber!
I totally enjoyed this book! It brought me back in time thinking of my theater days. The humor and wit that Barbara uses completely captured me and I couldn't put this down. Read more
Published on August 4, 2012 by Maureen Ross Gemme
5.0 out of 5 stars An enchanting read
4 3/4 stars!
"Spellcast" by Barbara Ashford is a sweetly fantastic book that conjures up the highs and lows of summer theater as it tells the tale of Maggie Graham who ends up... Read more
Published on July 16, 2012 by Elf2060
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful & Subtle
In SPELLCAST, Maggie Graham's life is a bit of a mess. And then it gets worse. She's not the sort of heroine who packs a sidearm and looks good in leather; she finds her strength... Read more
Published on April 22, 2012 by Kate
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Enchantment
For those of us who love to be in control of all things - our jobs, our personal lives, our reputations, SPELLCAST is a wonderful tale of what happens when fate has other plans... Read more
Published on April 22, 2012 by R. C. Fitzsimmons
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More About the Author

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 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. Her years as an actress inspired her to create the Crossroads Theatre series - "Spellcast" and "Spellcrossed." Barbara lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband whom she met while performing in the play "Bedroom Farce." Visit her at

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