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The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story…
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The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow

by Alyssa Palombo

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7311257,404 (3.75)2
In the village of Sleepy Hollow, Katrina Van Tassel is instantly drawn to new schoolteacher Ichabod Crane through their shared love of books and music. Romance gives way to passion, Ichabod and Katrina embark on a secret love affair, sneaking away into the woods after dark to be together. When Ichabod disappears All Hallows's Eve, Katrina is left alone-- and pregnant. Her father plans to marry her to Brom Van Brunt, the suitor he favors. With the help of her friend- and rumored witch- Charlotte Jansen, Katrina must find Ichabod. But she begins to wonder if the Headless Horseman is perhaps more than just a story after all. -- adapted from jacket and perusal of book.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
I will admit, if someone told me a week ago that I would like this book more than I liked A Blade So Black, I wouldn't have believed them. But, here we are! I saw this book pop up on a friend's Goodreads feed and was intrigued (shout out to Kate, who has the best spooky book recommendations of anyone I know!). A retelling of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow that gives Katrina Von Tassel more agency and adds more badass female characters to a spooky story I love? YES, PLEASE!

Story- Katrina Von Tassel is the only child of a wealthy farmer living in Sleepy Hollow. Her father wants her to marry Brom Van Brunt, her former childhood friend who she now hates because of how he treats her best friend Charlotte. When the new school teacher Icabod Crane shows up in town, he and Katrina hit it off right away. Soon, a flirtatious friendship turns into a passionate forbidden romance. They sneak away for some sexy alone times and try to work out a plan to get married, despite differing social statuses. On Halloween night, Icabod disappears. It's rumored the Headless Horseman took him away. Devastated at the loss of her love, Katrina makes some difficult decisions to protect her reputation. She and Charlotte work together, using witchcraft and visions, to figure out what exactly happened to Icabod Crane.

I loved Katrina in this book. No offense to Christina Ricci, who did what she could with the role, but it needed MORE. This is the more the character needed. Spunk, realism, intellect, determination and ambition are all characteristics this version of Katrina has. Seeing her have some agency in her life and what happened was refreshing, especially compared to her character in the original version, which was just "pretty girl with a big inheritance."

The author, Alyssa Palombo also adds two other fantastic ladies to Katrina's inner circle. Charlotte, Katrina's best friend, works with her mother as an doctor and apothecary, mixing up herbs for medicines. Her and Katrina's friendship is wonderful and refreshing and was my favorite thing about this book. Other books with female friendships, take note. This book is a great example of how to write a female friendship.

Nancy, her nursemaid, is also a wonderful addition. She's a great ally and second mother to Katrina. Her backstory made my heart ache and she truly cares for Katrina.

Katrina's romance with Icabod is also more rewarding here than it is in the original story. He's not just a guy after her father's money. He loves her for her character, too. The story does follow the original story with Icabod's disappearance, which is heartbreaking here instead of just a creepy conclusion in the original.

Even the golden boy of the town, Brom Bones, gets some complexity added to his character, which was refreshing. He still sucks, as he does in pretty much every version he's in, but it was great to read more about what makes him tick. His character is also an interesting send up of toxic masculinity.

Let's not forget about that spooky Headless Horseman, who is worked into the plot of this story very well. No spoilers for how he plays into the narrative, but it works for the story being told here. I adore both the Disney and Burton Headless Horsemen, so this one had a lot to live up to.

Palombo's research into 1700's New York is also fantastic. When reading this book (and I highly recommend you do, if you're looking for a great Sleepy Hollow adaptation or for something spooky), make sure you find one with Author's notes. I had a blast reading this book, an adaptation done right.

( )
  rkcraig88 | Jul 15, 2019 |
I was drawn to this book because of the subject matter being the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Written from from a woman's perspective. It was very well written and the characters were very well developed. It was a tale that many women could relate to on some level or other. I look forward to reading more of this author's books. ( )
  marysneedle | Jun 23, 2019 |
I have never read THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW by Washington Irving. I have seen Tim Burton's movie Sleepy Hollow and parts of the TV series Sleepy Hollow. So, my knowledge of the story of Sleepy Hollow is based on that. Which made this story feel pretty different and slightly less paranormal from what I expected. Not that the story lacks a supernatural angle, for which I'm grateful since I love some magic in a story.

READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION! ( )
  MaraBlaise | May 19, 2019 |
This is the retelling of Washington Irving's Legend of Sleepy Hollow, told from the point of view of Katrina Van Tassel. This is a sweeping tale of forbidden romance and devastating loss. This story is set in America soon after the American Revolution. There is a little bit of history mixed in with fantasy, magic and legend. Katrina is a head-strong, intelligent, avid reader who is not afraid of expressing her opinion. She is a devoted friend, talented musician and singer, and an excellent storyteller. Being from a wealthy and prominent family she is expected to marry Brom who is the son of a wealthy farmer but when she begins to receive music lessons she immediately falls head over heels in love with the handsome new schoolteacher and the trouble begins. Interwoven in this forbidden love story are the spooky legends of the surrounding area. There is love and loss, murder and deception but there is also friendship, joy and kindness. I liked this retelling of this story, it is a much more tender and beautiful experience as told from a strong female point of view. If you are looking for supernatural horror this is probably not the book for you but if you like a good romance mixed with tragedy then this will fill the bill. The only complaint I have is with the title. I wouldn't really call Katrina's book a spellbook, it is more like a journal. Thank you NetGalley and author Alyssa Palombo for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. ( )
  bm2ng | Apr 9, 2019 |
Like many people, I was introduced to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving at a young age, mostly thanks to Disney. I had read this Gothic classic before, but I couldn't really recall my initial impression of the story. I remember being terrified of the Headless Horseman. I remember thinking Ichabod was kinda ridiculous. I remember Katrina was the prize to be won. So I reread The Legend of Sleepy Hollow to refresh my memory of this classic, and now reading this story as an adult, I found I wanted more. Irving gives us a great characterization of Ichabod and Brom, but not so much about Katrina.

Alyssa Palombo's The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel is the answer to my bookish request. Palombo explores the inner life of the woman at the center of Irving's story. Palombo gives Katrina her own unique voice. She's smart; she's feisty; she's forward-thinking; she's brave. And she's in love with Ichabod Crane. I have to admit I had a hard time seeing Ichabod as a romantic lead. I blame Disney. Truly I do. I had this preconceived notion of what Ichabod looked like stuck in my head, and I'm afraid that image was hard to shake off. Palombo's Ichabod would have any girl swooning. It just took me a few minutes to adjust my thinking.

I was intrigued by the storyline of this book from the get-go. This Gothic story told from Katrina's point of view was more interesting than the original story--sorry Irving. There were a few twists and turns that kept this story fresh and exciting. The characters felt more fleshed out than in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and the story felt more complete. I love that Palombo was able to capture the romance without losing a bit of the mystery.

The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel is a great fall read. In fact, it's great any time of the year. Whenever I think of Sleepy Hollow from now on, Alyssa Palombo's The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel with be the first thing that comes to mind. And if you get the opportunity, you might want to pick it up. Be sure to clear your calendar for a day or two, you won't want to put it down.

Read more at https://www.toreadornottoread.net/2018/11/review-spellbook-of-katrina-van-tassel... ( )
  mt256 | Dec 12, 2018 |
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