This book pays homage to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow while still managing to flesh out a somewhat new story. It adds touches of magic, of love, of friendship. It goes beyond a mere ghost story. Ah, I loved this book.
* Thank you to Alyssa Palombo and St. Martin’s Press for providing an ARC of this book through a Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own *
Published By: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: October.2.2018
Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Retellings
The mysterious and haunted world of Sleepy Hollow is palpable in this book. You can feel the hazy fog surrounding you, as you read Katrina’s version of events.
In Wasington Irving’s original story, Katrina Van Tassel is described as a somewhat shallow coquette. But as this book is told by Katrina herself, we get another side to the infamous legend. And if you’re familiar with the original tale, then you’ll recognize many of the characters and elements that appear.
At its core, the story is about love. Katrina and Ichabod are passionately in love with one another (providing the reader with a slew of steamy scenes). But he is a schoolteacher, dependent on the generosity of his pupil’s families. Katrina, is sole heiress to the successful Van Tassel farm. On All Hallows Eve, Ichabod asks for Katrina’s hand in marriage but is denied by her father. That night, Ichabod disappears and is presumed by the townspeople to have been taken by the headless horseman.
The story is also about magic and female friendship. Katrina’s best friend is Charlotte, a healer and witch. Because of Brom Van Brunts accusations of witchcraft, Charlotte is looked upon with fear. But Katrina defends her, and sticks by her. And through her, discovers her own gift of Sight.
This is also a story of loss. When Ichabod disappears, Katrina is heartbroken. She spends a couple of years trying to figure out whether he abandoned her or if something more sinister befell him. If you assume it’s the latter, you’d be right. This is Sleepy Hollow, after all.
This is an incredibly entertaining story. Katrina is a young, modern woman, stuck in post-Revolutionary War America. She is an avid reader, has her own political ideas, and a truly independent spirit. A part of me feels a lot of sympathy for this girl though. My heart broke when she finally discovered Ichabod Crane’s fate.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I hadn’t read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in so long that after I finished this read, I went and listened to the audiobook version. And wow. The original is good. But I was surprised by how faithful The Spellbook was to it. From Ichabod’s physical description, to Gunpowder veering off the main road by the church. I am truly awed by what Alyssa Palombo accomplished.