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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Book Review: Spells at the Crossroads (Maggie Graham #3) by Barbara Ashford

Spells at the Crossroads (Maggie Graham #3)
by Barbara Ashford

Paperback, 848 pages
September 2nd 2014
by DAW

Maggie Graham was having a very bad summer. First, she lost her job. Then the bathroom ceiling in her Brooklyn apartment collapsed. That was when Maggie decided it was time to run away from home for awhile. On the road to Vermont for her weeked away, she impulsively took the exit for a town called Dale. For some reason, the area felt familiar, especially the big white barn she passed on the way to town.

What came next was the biggest adventure in Maggie's life. Her experience as an actor landed her a job in the summer stock company of the Crossroads Theatre, housed in that same white barn, but none of her professional credits could prepare her for the magic that happened on this stage. Or for the theatre's unorthodox staff, especially its moody and mysterious director.

That staff and stage will soon become family to Maggie, but all the magic in the world might not be enough to keep them safe—with threats ranging from interfering board presidents to imprisonment in the realm of Faerie.

Maggie Graham lost her job, her apartment is coming apart, and she received a letter that her 10 year reunion is right around the corner. What does she have to show for the last 10 years, Nothing! She needed to get away for the weekend and regroup. Scraping up what little money she had, headed out, ending up in a little town called Dale. The next thing she knew she was auditioning for a play at the local play house. Lucky for her she'd done some acting a long time ago. But what in world was she doing? Auditioning for a play in the middle of nowhere when she had to look for a new job and get her life back in order. Of course she got the part. She barely had enough money to get by, but she felt she needed to stay. In fact for some reason she felt compelled to stay. Something was amiss however with the theater and she was determined to find out just what that was, and it pointed right to the Director Rowan.

SPELLS AT THE CROSSROADS happens to be two books in one, Spellcast and Spellcrossed and very large, 834 pages in all. When I first received it I put it down thinking I will get back to this one, that it most likely would take me a while. I decided to bite the bullet and dive in, 5 hours later Spellcast was done. I enjoyed it very much. It was different than your regular Fae stories, and had an intriguing concept.

The characters were creatively written. You felt their doubts and their successes even their failures in each of their performances including their lives. Barbara Ashford without a doubt has given readers a personal view of what it takes to put on a great performance and at the same time making this a fantastic magical fantasy. It was not all about performing, in fact she only gave snippets of the actual plays themselves only focusing on relevant scenes to the story. This was more about getting to that point of putting on a show and the lives of the characters themselves and of course the magic around them. What kind of magic? Well you definitely have to read to find out. The romance and all the in between that transpired between the mysterious Rowan (The director) and Maggie I think is what really what made the story that much more.

Spellcrossed is a different matter. It took longer to get through. Coming off of the high with Spellcast and the romantic interlude it gave, made Spellcrossed harder to get into. Spellcrossed did try to bring some closure with certain characters; however, Spellcast was so well written that closure really was not needed. Do not get me wrong, Spellcrossed all in all was fun and I enjoyed it. I personally just enjoyed Spellcast better.

Overall I loved the characters it brought, the romance and the magical fantasy throughout. I definitely recommend Spellcast but I don’t think you would be disappointed with Spellcrossed.

4.25 Spell Performing Sheep

Tammy K

About the Author:
A lot of my life ended up in the pages of SPELLCAST. Like Maggie Graham, I grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, began performing at an early age, and – after a series of jobs in educational administration – ran away to the theatre.

I worked all over the place, including the Southbury Playhouse (a converted barn), Fort Salem Theatre (a converted church) and the City Line Dinner Theatre (a converted used car showroom). I met my husband while performing opposite him in the comedy Bedroom Farce. I attacked him with a table lamp. He threw me onto the floor. We’ve been together ever since.

I gave up acting to write for the musical theatre, starting with song lyrics for children’s shows and eventually, book and lyrics for two full-length musicals. Meanwhile, I worked as a retail store clerk, an accounts receivable manager, a merchandising director, and a temp, eventually landing at a non-profit organization that ran a telephone helpline. (Shades of Maggie again.)

Eventually, I returned to fiction. It was Sheila Gilbert, my editor at DAW, who suggested I draw on my theatre background to create the novel that became SPELLCAST. God forbid I think of it myself.

1 comment:

  1. I love a taste of something a little different and this certainly sounds like it has it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, going to check this out :)