October 14, 2018

Review: The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel by Alyssa Palombo

The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow
Author: Alyssa Palombo
Genre: Historical/Fantasy/Retelling
Release Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin


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 was a wonderful surprise that I hadn't been expecting. Being so near to Halloween and based on the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, I knew I had to read it. I didn't know or expect how much I would end up loving it. It's one of those books where you can ramble on forever about why you love it so much and never really get your point across. For me, I literally loved everything about it. It's basically the Legend of Sleepy Hollow as most of us know it. But in this version, the story is told from Katrina Van Tassel's point of view and it made all the difference in the world. My favorite writing style by far is the first person POV because the reader gets to connect on a deeper level to the narrator of the story and really get to know them. This is precisely what happens in this novel. I loved getting to know every little thing about Katrina - her hopes and dreams, fears, nightmares, friendships, memories, and her love for those around her - especially Ichabod Crane. I don't think I would've had such a great experience with this book if it hadn't been written in the first person, but since it was - I found it enthralling until the very last words.

The characters were all well written, especially our main character, Katrina, and the other major characters of Ichabod, Brom, and Charlotte. Even some of the secondary characters were rounded and complex like Nancy and Katrina's parents. I adored seeing Katrina and Ichabod's relationship begin and grow into a true love romance that meets a devastating end. Well, I hated the devastating end part obviously, but I knew from the original story what was coming. There were some turns in the novel that I didn't see coming and the timeline was a bit different than I expected, which only made for a more enticing mystery and heartbreaking story. The writing was very well done and the author made Katrina's world come to life right before my eyes within the first pages. I think the author's immense storytelling talent and ability is showcased nicely with this novel and I'm adding her other works to my to-read list. I very highly recommend this book for fans of historical fiction, fantasy, mystery and suspense, and retellings - and especially those readers who love the original Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

ALYSSA PALOMBO is the author of The Violinist of Venice and The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence. She has published short fiction pieces in Black Lantern Magazine and The Great Lakes Review. She is a recent graduate of Canisius College with degrees in English and creative writing, respectively. A passionate music lover, she is a classically trained musician as well as a big fan of heavy metal. She lives in Buffalo, New York.

Author Links:
Website: https://alyssapalombo.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/alyssinwnderlnd


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