The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel by Alyssa Palombo
Time: 13h34 (listen to an extract below!)
Published by MacMillan Audio
Top 3 Genres: Romance, Paranormal, Historical
My rating: Set it on fire/If you have nothing else to read/you need to read it/Run and buy it.
Source: offered by MacMillan Audio
To buy the book: Audible
Add to: Goodreads
Hello my little dragons! I’m back today to talk about a spooky book perfect for Halloween: The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel. If the name sounds familiar, it is because this is a retelling of the Sleepy Hollow Tale, but with the eyes of Katrina.
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.
TW: this book contains mature content
Back in time
My favorite part of this book: the historical one. The way life was at the time, the society, the unfairness of treatment between men and women. I always love a good historical setting and Katrina describes all her life and life in the village very well in her diaries. It was interesting and sometimes heartbreaking to see how her life was unraveling and how her time pushed her to some specific life choices. Katrina also has a best friend who « disappeared » from the original story… Charlotte. Another woman victim of her time but very interesting too, and she really added something to the story, someone with who Katrina could exchange about all the drama in her life and bounce back ideas at her.
Some spooky elements
How could it be the legend of Sleepy Hollow without some magic? without the Headless Horseman? To be honest, I was expecting more of him, but you could still feel his presence and the unease of the characters through all the book. There were also tarot readings, night walks and visions involved!
A missed spell?
My problem with this book? Katrina herself. For the first half of the book, I could not like her or relate to her. Her instant love with Ichabod too felt fake. And as their love story is a big part of this novel, it was quite the bummer. It is only on the second part of the book that I really started to appreciate her and her way to deal with her life.
In a few words
I thought that this book was well built in terms of historical elements and way of life. I also liked the Sleepy Hollow story itself, as it was rebuilt. What really prevented me from truly enjoying this book was how the love story between Ichabod and Katrina was introduced to us as well as Katrina herself for a good part of the book. The end was worth reading, though and I would still advise this book for a spooky Halloween 😉
See you for a cup!