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Spellcrossed – Barbara Ashford

Barbara Ashford's Spellcrossed Cover

MY RATING:  5 of 5 Stars

This sequel to “Spellcast,” which I reviewed here last week, was entertaining to the very last page.  I won’t say it captivated me quite as thoroughly as the first book, but that’s probably because it was a continuation of the same story, and I was already familiar with the world and the characters involved.  I can definitely say that I was very glad to have read Book 1 with Book 2 waiting in the wings.  I NEEDED to know how it was all going to turn out, and in that, “Spellcrossed” didn’t disappoint.

For one thing, it was quite clear why Maggie’s “daddy issues” were so much a part of “Spellcast.”  For another, many more questions about the very charismatic and engaging Rowan MacKenzie were answered.  The relationship between Maggie & Rowan continued to build and deepen, yet still remained extremely complicated, with obvious difficulties likely in their future.  In other words, it was believable, with no easy happily-ever-afters attached.  

The book is filled with redemption and hope, with the message coming across loud and clear that Family is about much more than shared DNA .  There’s a great sense of love, connection, and caring for one another pervasive throughout.  And along the way, a little theater!  Literally.  I now know more than I ever imagined about the mechanics behind producing summer stock plays in a small-town, but professional, setting.  Having never read anything about stage productions before, and in spite of my initial misgivings, I found that it really did become quite fascinating.  The sense of camaraderie that develops between cast and crew was an integral part of the overall story, and provided a unique backdrop to the other elements of the tale.

My favorite character remains Rowan MacKenzie.  I will remember him for a long, long time.  My least favorite would be Maggie’s father, Jack.  I doubt anyone could really find him likable, though some might sympathize with him.  Me, I couldn’t work up a single positive feeling for him, try as I might, and had I been Maggie, would have tossed him to the curb early on.  Maggie is infinitely more forgiving than I, apparently.

If you have read “Spellcast,” you simply have to read “Spellcrossed,” or you’ll never get all your questions answered.  If you haven’t yet read “Spellcast,” do.  It’s a story not quite like any other.  And I mean that in the best way.

Spellcrossed

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13 thoughts on “Spellcrossed – Barbara Ashford

  1. Susana on said:

    Hi Marcia 🙂 I have been very curious as to what would be your opinion of this story, and i couldn’t agree more with you.

    I really liked reading “Spellcrossed”, but i absolutely LOVED “Spellcast”.
    Like you, i also think that Rowan is an amazing character, and that he is the biggest achievement of this two stories. Him and the magic he brings to the stories…

    I liked Maggie. I would have liked her even more if it wasn’t for the “daddy issues”….and Jack 😦 i just couldn’t stand him!
    Do you think there’s going to be a third book?

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  2. Hi, Susana! Happy Monday to you! I had a feeling we would probably feel the same way about this book. Jack? *shudder* Ick. Good riddance, and hopefully he never comes back. As for whether or not there may be another book in the series, I think I agree with what you said before. There’s plenty of material if she should decide to continue with tales from the CrossRoads Theater, but no real need to do so. I would be fine with things staying just as they are. But if she did decide to do Book 3, I’d probably read it.

    Having said that, sometimes dragging a series on too long is not such a good thing, and any new books should probably focus on other characters. And that might not be as interesting, since Rowan was the driving force for me, all the way through both books.

    BTW, did you ever read my response to you on GoodReads about Phantom of the Opera and other stuff? I think I stacked 2 replies on top of each other, and you might not have seen the longer one. Or maybe you did, but haven’t had time to read it. Just checking to be sure you got it. No big deal!!

    Thanks so much for commenting here. It’s nice to see old friends when you are doing something brand new. Hope you’ll find other reviews or quotes you enjoy, too.

    Hugs from across the Pond!
    Marcia

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  3. Susana on said:

    Hi Marcia!
    Yes, we do share the same feeling about Jack 🙂 i think the only good thing of the decision he made in the end of the story, is that i’m not” seeing” him, returning to Maggie’s life…if a third book would actually appear.
    Which i really hope it doesn’t. Two books are more than enough for this story.

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  4. Susana on said:

    And, ups, i forgot i’m not on Goodreads and i can’t edit a comment 😦
    I’m sorry Marcia, but no i didn’t see your response on my Goodreads mail. I’m going to investigate it, right away.

    Hugs from Portugal

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  5. Don’t worry about editing here, Susana. We readers will “self-edit” if necessary. We are in total agreement on these two books, I think. More could be overkill. Two is perfect. A first book to enthrall you, and a second one to answer your questions and tie up loose ends. I’m happy.

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  6. Thanks so much for your reviews of Spellcrossed and Spellcast, Marcia. And for your comments, Susana. I’m so glad you both enjoyed the books. (And yes – Jack Sinclair was a tough character to write and a tougher one to love. Unlike Rowan!) As to a third book…there might be more in the Crossroads Theatre saga eventually. But right now, I’m working on another story set in a small town (a coastal village in Maine this time). This one is about family and relationships, too. And ghosts, some kindly, some malevolent.

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  7. Oh, my gosh! Barbara Ashford??? I can’t believe you stopped by here! How nice!! As you can tell, the entire story line just entranced me, and Rowan joins a small, but wonderful, cast of male characters who will live in my heart forever!

    I hope our ramblings about a possible third book didn’t sound too negative. It’s just that Spellcrossed ended at such a perfect spot, and to me, more sturm und drang with Rowan & Maggie could be pushing it. (But maybe not. I sure don’t know what you might have in your mind. So I will bow to your decisions in that regard. No one knows these people you created like YOU do, for certain!) However, you have created such an interesting and diverse cast of secondary characters that I can see plenty of other opportunities, should you ever decide to revisit the Crossroads Theater in the future. And it would be interesting (to me) to see if they could pull me in as inexorably as the magical Rowan did. Oh, such a lovely man!! Bless you for dreaming him up.

    Coastal Maine sounds like just the place to visit next. There is nothing like a good ghost story, full of shivery mystery, to grab my attention. Happy writing, and I’ll be watching for news on a release date.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to our comments. You’ve made my day!

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  8. Susana on said:

    Hello Mrs. Ashford! 🙂
    I hope my comments about a third book didn’t offend you. It wasn’t meant as that. When i mentioned that i hoped there wouldn’t be a third book, its just because i think, that nothing can compare itself to Spellcast…and i kept comparing Spellcrossed to Spellcast….

    Of course if a third book were to be released, i would definitely buy it. Hoping all the way, that Maggie and Rowan’s relationship werent’t at any kind of danger…Maybe we could read about a baby half fae??? 🙂 lol

    I love your writing, and the characters, and all the scenario. And most of all i love Rowan (sigh, lol) he is an amazing character . And i really want him to have his happy ending with Maggie. Like i had mentioned with Marcia before, i imagine that there’s so much more that can be written about this world, and maybe Maggie can join Rowan in the backstages of the theather, and another set of actors would take their spotlight….(Note to myself: I am rambling a lot…..please pay no attention!)

    And i look forward to read your next series 🙂 maybe it could be translated to portuguese!!
    Thank you soo much for your comments!

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  9. Absolutely NO offense taken at any of the comments. I totally agree about the danger of dragging a series out. I wanted to leave the door open to that possibility, but also give readers a satisfying ending. Spellcast was meant to be a one-shot, but once I wrote the ending (not the one I originally planned!) I wanted to write another book because I just HAD to get Rowan and Maggie together. (And now you know another secret – I write like MEI-YIN. Lots of CAPS!)

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    • Ha! I write with lots of caps, too…and exclamation points. I can’t help it. I suffer from an excess of enthusiasm. And I am so happy you shared more thoughts with us on your creative process. I loved “Spellcast” SO much, as you could probably tell from my review…BUT! If it had ended there, I would have never stopped fretting about them, dreaming up one “what-if” after another. I’m so glad you wrote the second book, and to me, the ending is perfect. It leaves them together, as they NEEDED to be, but as you say, leaves the door open for whatever you might decide to do in the future.

      I have to say (hoping here, that you are still checking this thread), I wept when Maggie drove back after her traumatic experience with Jack, and found Rowan waiting in front of the Bough, terrified she was gone forever. I didn’t tear up, sniffle, or cry. I WEPT. I felt his anguish like a knife to the heart. I don’t want to say more and spoil things for future readers, but it was such a powerful moment, for so many reasons. Well done!

      Oh, and one other thing I loved was that Maggie did not rush off pell-mell into other relationships during that long two years. I appreciated her not being eager to write Rowan off and find someone else. It made what follows all the lovelier.

      I can’t wait to read your next book, and I also added “After Hours” to my To Be Read list yesterday.

      Books make everything better. GOOD books make everything DIVINE! Thanks for adding a measure of “divine” to my world!

      Like

  10. You’re entitled. It must feel wonderful to take an idea from your mind, put it down on paper, and watch the characters become so real that they make people laugh or cry. I think that’s TRUE magic. (Rowan would say it was.) You made them all live for me, and now they have permanent quarters in MY mind, for all time. (It’s getting crowded in there, I must admit, but some of the tenants shine brighter than others, and Rowan is among the very brightest.) Brava!

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