Review Detail

Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0

An enchanting tale of love and loss amid the swirling fog and dark legends of the real Sleepy Hollow

A romantic, female-driven gothic tale of star-crossed lovers with a real-world twist on Washington Irving’s classic ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.’

The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel is an enthralling read for any historical fiction fan—at any time of the year—although this spooky, haunting tale is perfect reading for late fall evenings just as the weather turns cool and crisp. Readers will find themselves reaching for a hot apple cider and a warm blanket as they fall under the spell of an All Hallows Eve from centuries past.

Perhaps the best thing about the novel is the way Palombo captures the gothic tone of a post-revolutionary war America along the banks of the Hudson River, for Sleepy Hollow is also a character just as important as Katrina and Ichabod.
 
The rich—feminist—voice of Katrina Van Tassel breathes new life into an era when America was a young nation of immigrants coming together to build a new world from the roots of their European traditions and legends. 

The heartbreaking love story of Ichabod Crane and Katrina Van Tassel brings Romeo and Juliet to mind. Doomed from the start, these two fight for their love even when the odds are stacked against them as Brom Van Brunt relentlessly pursues the object of his desire. He is her father’s ideal suitor for his daughter’s hand, while poor Ichabod is not. Yet, Brom sees Katrina as a prize he will possess at any cost. Somewhat predictable, their story unfolds almost like a train-wreck. You just can’t look away, even when you know what’s going to happen. 

One can only respect the sheer amount of research and hard work that went into the making of this book. I applaud the author for her attention to detail, not only to the original story, but to the era in which Katrina’s story takes place.

Unfortunately for this lovely book, the title is wildly misleading. The reference to Katrina’s ‘spellbook’ is nothing more than a notebook she keeps of stories and details concerning Ichabod’s dsappearance. However, Charlotte Jansen, Katrina’s best friend and confidant, holds the key to the magic of Sleepy Hollow. With her herbs, potions, tarot cards and visions, she guides Katrina along a journey to find the truth. As a dynamic character all on her own, it leaves one to wonder what The Spellbook of Charlotte Jansen might have been.

The gripping, lyrical tone of the novel pulls readers in with the arrival of the handsome Ichabod Crane and as their love story unfolds, the pages fly. Somewhere around the middle, the story stalls as Katrina falls into a maddening pit of indecision that doesn’t pick up again until the final chapters. And those chapters are a reward for the faithful reader as Katrina finally learns the truth and figures out how to pick up the pieces of her life again. 

The legend of the Headless Horseman plays a pivotal role in the story—as a metaphor and, ultimately, as a self-fulfilling prophecy for the tale’s three main characters. While new readers might anticipate a genuine ghost story with supernatural elements, one must remember this is a real-world retelling of a legend. Katrina’s story is as it should be—an in-depth look at how myths are rooted in truth, and how those legends can shape the lives of a people. 

Historical fiction fans of all ages will enjoy this enchanting tale of love and loss amid the swirling fog and dark legends of the real Sleepy Hollow. 

Was this review helpful to you? 

Comments

 
 
Ordering 
 
Already have an account? or Create an account
 
 
 
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

The Leading Edge of Now
Just when Grace is beginning to get used to...
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
9 FROM NINE WORLDS
The Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard trilogy...
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
I Do Not Trust You
Memphis "M" Engle is stubborn to a fault, graced...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
RIPPED- a Jack the Ripper Time-Travel Thriller
When a museum trip turns funky, Katie Lennox is...
 
5.0
 
4.8 (5)
Queens (The Wielders of Arantha Book 2)
A cosmic game of chess is underway, and the...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Pride
Pride and Prejudice gets remixed in this smart, funny,...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
The Story of B
The Story of B combines Daniel Quinn's provocative and visionary...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Dark Tales: Beauty and the Beast: A Modern Retelling
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. ...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Dark Tales: The Snow Queen: A Graphic Novel
Follow Gerda on an adventure to find her friend Kay,...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
DARK TALES: THE CALL OF CTHULHU: A Graphic Novel
In this Dark Tale, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming... ...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Dark Tales: The Hound of the Baskervilles: A Graphic Novel
Eliminate the impossible, and whatever remains, however improbable, must be...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Time Jumpers: Escape from Egypt
This series is part of Scholastic's early chapter book line,...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
NOTES FROM MY CAPTIVITY
Adrienne Cahill cares about three things: getting into a great...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
#Murdertrending
@doctorfusionbebop: Some 17 y. o. chick named Dee Guerrera was...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Unstoppable Moses
Moses and his cousin Charlie were best friends, wisecracking pranksters,...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
51HTvQF3B2L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
Alien meets Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds in this thrilling...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

These Broken Stars (Starbound #1)
 
5.0
""These Broken Stars" is an interesting YA sci-fi that follows two young people after a space shuttle crash. Lilac LeRoux..."
This Shattered World (Starbound #2)
 
3.3
""This Shattered World" follows Jubilee (Lee) and Flynn, who live on a planet that has failed terraforming, leaving it with..."
DARK TALES: THE CALL OF CTHULHU: A Graphic Novel
 
4.0
"This vibrant retelling of H.P. Lovecraft’s short story has been artfully adapted into a beautifully illustrated graphic novel that captures..."
Dark Tales: The Hound of the Baskervilles: A Graphic Novel
 
4.0
"The Hound of the Baskervilles is one of Arthur Conan Doyle's finest Sherlock Holmes novels, written years after “The Final..."
Time Jumpers: Escape from Egypt
 
3.0
"Time Jumpers: Escape from Egypt offers lengthier chapter book reading, while still offering delightful illustrations more familiar to young readers..."
NOTES FROM MY CAPTIVITY
 
4.7
"Adrienne Cahill finds herself on an expedition to remote Siberia looking for the fabled Osinov family with her stepfather, Dan,..."
9 FROM NINE WORLDS
 
3.7
"Fans of Riordan will find lots of familiar faces from the Magnus Chase series in this clever collection of short..."
#Murdertrending
 
4.0
"A gory, dark thriller with all the things we loved about Hunger Games plus a delightfully creepy twist of something..."
Unstoppable Moses
 
5.0
"Feedback I am going to admit that I would have never picked up this book if I wasn’t provided a..."
Sanctuary
 
3.0
"X-men Gen X (i.e. the teen version) meets Aliens-lite in this survival-in-space story. Told in first-person past-tense from..."
Thief of Happy Endings
 
4.7
"‘Thief of Happy Endings’ is a young adult contemporary with a huge twist. The story centers around, Cassidy. Cassidy..."
Timekeeper (Timekeeper #1)
 
4.3
"Feedback I thought this was an interesting concept. The clocks themselves really control the time. There are days where..."
Chainbreaker (Timekeeper Book 2)
 
5.0
"Feedback What a change from book one! While I enjoyed Timekeeper, it took me a while to truly engage..."
Confessions of a High School Disaster
 
3.7
"Confessions of a High School Disaster is the first installment of the Chloe Snow series. I read the second installment..."
I Do Not Trust You
 
4.0
"I DO NOT TRUST YOU by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz is a young adult thriller that follows Memphis..."
 
5.0
CJCJ
"Strong characters Great romance Epic adventure Magic Elements of north mythology"
Light Years
 
3.0
"Sporting a diverse ensemble cast, this book is rife with themes of team-building; and not simply setting aside differences but..."
The Color of Lies
 
3.7
"The Color of Lies relies heavily on its interesting characters, not-so-original plot, and captivating writing to keep its reader--but as..."
The Reader
 
4.0
""The Reader" is an intriguing YA fantasy that follows a girl named Sefia. Her parents hid her in a secret..."
The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow
 
4.0
" "The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel" is a retelling of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow from the point-of-view of..."