Spellcrossed by Barbara Ashford
June 5, 2012
Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “If the Archangel GABRIEL had touched down on that stage tonight, he’d complain it wasn’t Jesus CHRIST.“
Maggie Graham had come originally to Dale, Vermont to find her place in life and ended up acting in summer stock theatre and falling in love. When her lover leaves, Maggie decides to stay in Dale and help fulfill the dreams of other lost souls who come to the Crossroads theatre. Spellcrossed picks up two years after the events in Spellcast ended. Maggie took over as director of the Crossroads and is busy preparing for summer stock. Between theater divas and a nosy board of directors, Maggie is up to her eyebrows in drama. When her past comes back to collide with her present, Maggie once again will have to rely on the Crossroads and it’s magic to help guide her down the right path.
This was a hard review for me to write. One; because there is so much going on, I had to be VERY careful not to spoil. Two; because it took me awhile to get into this story. I adored the first book Spellcast. A modern day fairytale that swept us up and carried us down a river of turbulent emotions. Spellcrossed is good but I would be lying if I said it held the same intense magic as Spellcast. Even though the storyline is continuously mobile, it’s calmer and more sedate here. I felt we circle the objective because the ending is presented early on and the rest of the story is the journey towards making the ending less a promise and more a foregone conclusion. Once again, this story is blessed with love, laughter, heartbreak, second chances and forgiveness. I found this installment wasn’t as heavily character driven as the last one. We don’t focus as much on the theater and its troop or the needs of the troop this time around. The story focuses heavily on Maggie and I found I missed the deeper interactions we had with the cast in Spellcast. Not to say we don’t interact with the staff. These eccentric, quirky people offer up advice, laughter, and shoulders to cry on. They are still an integral part of the story and a delight to revisit. However, while reading, I felt more like an observer than a participant this time around. Mei-Yin is still my favorite with her exaggerated speech, over the top dialogue, and general scary nature.
“Who’s asking for PROMISES? I’m asking you to TRY. Maybe it’ll work. Maybe it won’t. How the hell should I know. You think I have a crystal BALL up my ASS?”
Maggie continues to excel in her snarky humor and internal dialogue. She has come far in the last two years though her heart will forever belong to Rowen. She has learned to open up and her emotional fears aren’t as apparent. She lost Rowen and survived-she now knows she can survive anything. Her relationship has improved with her mother. Maggie has learned she can’t please everyone and Maggie’s mom has learned that she can’t save everyone. Maggie does push though for her mother to “settle down” with her live in lover which makes for some hilarious conversations.
“When are you going to stop shacking up with that nice man and accept his offer to make you a respectable married woman?”
“When you stop referring to an adult relationship as ‘shacking up.’”
As I stated earlier, the story started out slow for me and it wasn’t until past the halfway point I found myself once again able to reconnect with Ms. Ashford’s wonderful world of magic and theater. Serious issues that were left unresolved are addressed and handled. As we near the end, decisions are made that may not be what was wanted, but are what was needed and that is the foundation that the Crossroads is built on. It gives you what you need. Ms. Ashford leaves us with a sweet yet somewhat bittersweet epilogue that gives both the reader and her characters some rest. There is enough left open though to ensure that this world can be visited again and I for one hope Ms. Ashford does.
Overall Rating: C