Published by St. Martin's Griffin on October 2, 2018
Genres: adult, retelling, supernatural, Romance
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. In Alyssa Palombo's The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel nothing is as it seems, and love is a thing even death won't erase.
THE SPELLBOOK OF KATRINA VAN TASSEL: A Story of Sleepy Hollow by Alyssa Palombo. The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel is a retelling of the tale of Sleepy Hollow, but this time it is being told from the point of view of Ichabod Crane’s love interest, Katrina. I loved this switch in point of view because it offered a lot of great new insight and perspective into a story that I was already familiar with. Katrina breathed new life into the tale of the headless horseman. The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel is a perfect read for Halloween. I loved the gothic atmosphere vibe, paired with all of the supernatural elements of the story. It was a great combination for a mysterious and spooky read, but don’t worry, it also has plenty of romance woven in, which I also loved.
Katrina Van Tassel and Ichabod Crane meet when Mr. Cranes comes into town as a new teacher. Watching him and Katrina meet and eventually fall in love was my favorite part of the story. I loved all the magical elements and, of course I love the Legend of Sleepy Hollow aspects of the story. We also get to meet Brom and Charlotte, who is one of Katrina’s friends. I loved Charlotte’s addition to the story. I thought she was a wonderful companion to the feisty and independent Katrina.
I will say that the first half of the book felt more focused on the romance development and the magic and legend aspects did not fully manifest until the second half of the book. Because of this , it took me a little while to become fully invested in the story, but once I fell into the story I was fully immersed. I really enjoyed this novel. It was fantastic to be able to see this story from a female point of view. I feel like there are many stories, TV shows and movies from Ichabod’s point of view, so this was a nice change of pace and insight. Alyssa kept several parts of the story the same from the tale we all know, but she did put her own spin on things. That is my favorite part of reading a retelling. I love to see how an author is going to twist or change details to make the story feel fresh. Alyssa certainly accomplished this goal.
Overall, if you are looking for an atmospheric read full of gothic romance, magic and Sleepy Hollow and the headless horsemen, then The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel will be a fantastic book for you to check out this fall season. I really enjoyed this story. Alyssa Palombo does a fantastic job creating a wonderfully rich world. She writes beautifully detailed scenes, and makes it easy for the reader to feel like they are right there in the middle of it all. This is a great novel.