Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Review: The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow by Alyssa Palombo

Title: The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow 
Author: Alyssa Palombo 
Format: Paperback
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publish Date: October 2, 2018
Source: Publisher

What's the Story?:

From "When Ichabod Crane arrives in the spooky little village of Sleepy Hollow as the new schoolmaster, Katrina Van Tassel is instantly drawn to him. Through their shared love of books and music, they form a friendship that quickly develops into romance. Ichabod knows that as an itinerant schoolteacher of little social standing, he has nothing to offer the wealthy Katrina – unlike her childhood friend-turned-enemy, Brom Van Brunt, who is the suitor Katrina’s father favors.

But when romance gives way to passion, Ichabod and Katrina embark on a secret love affair, sneaking away into the woods after dark to be together – all while praying they do not catch sight of Sleepy Hollow’s legendary Headless Horseman. That is, until All Hallows’s Eve, when Ichabod suddenly disappears, leaving Katrina alone and in a perilous position.

Enlisting the help of her friend – and rumored witch – Charlotte Jansen, Katrina seeks the truth of Ichabod Crane’s disappearance, investigating the forest around Sleepy Hollow using unconventional – often magical – means. What they find forces Katrina to question everything she once knew, and to wonder if the Headless Horseman is perhaps more than just a story after all."

My Two Cents:

"The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel" is a retelling of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." I've never read the story but am familiar through it from the numerous movies and books related to the story. I was looking forward for a fresh take on the story and that you definitely got. I was also expecting something different, something perhaps more creepier or a little more supernatural. You get a bit of magic but it is subtle. Most of the book had to do with the romance between Ichabod Crane and the title character, Katrina Van Tassel.

Forbidden love stories are always attractive to me. I was interested to see Palombo's take on the Ichabod/ Katrina duo. Much of the book seems to follow a very standard guy and girl meet, fall in love, girl is promised to another but can't let go of the one she loves. Then everything changes one night but it takes us awhile to get there (like a long while). Once everything changes, the book stars moving much faster.

The book isn't scary but does have a gothic feel to it, which I liked. One of the high points of the book was the setting. I was just in New England for vacation and the author really captured the feeling of the location.

Overall, I wish the first part of the book were a little more streamlined but the atmosphere is still worth the trip.


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