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Spellcast Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Length: 446 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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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: 1554 KB
  • Print Length: 446 pages
  • Publisher: DAW (May 3, 2011)
  • Publication Date: 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
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #965,701 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Paperback/Paranormal Romance: I wanted so much to like this book more, but it was a struggle to read it for me. This book has everything; fantasy, romance, kookie characters, mystery, and I was in drama club in high school. I started reading this in the summer and still I couldn't fully get into the book.
Maggie finds herself suddenly unemployed and decides to joyride for the weekend because her apartment is too depressing. She ends up in Vermont and joining summer stock. The book goes zero to 80 with interesting characters.
As many plays as I seen or just know about, I have no idea about Brigadoon or Carousel. The novel makes several hints about parallels to Brigadoon, which I of course, didn't get. The book is more romance than fantasy, with magic as the catalyst on why everyone ended up not wanting to leave the plays even though they had commitments on the outside. Even Maggie was suppose to be trying to find a job in between rehearsals.
Again, I really wanted to love the book and I honestly don't know why I barely liked it.
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