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

Review

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

Alyssa Palombo’s third novel, THE SPELLBOOK OF KATRINA VAN TASSEL, blends magical mystery, a secret love affair and female friendship in a beautifully written and bittersweet tale exploring the legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Katrina Van Tassel, the heiress to her father’s successful farm on the outskirts of Sleepy Hollow, prefers to spend her time reading and singing in the forest’s clearing with her faithful dog, Nox. When Ichabod Crane, Sleepy Hollow’s handsome new school master, arrives to stay with Katrina’s family, she finds herself thoroughly distracted from her usual routine of books and chores. As Ichabod and Katrina bond during their music lessons together, they quickly begin a passionate and reckless affair, sneaking into the woods at night to be alone.

"THE SPELLBOOK OF KATRINA VAN TASSEL is bewitching, as Palombo’s beautiful and eerie imagery spellbinds the reader with a vivid account of Katrina’s haunting Sleepy Hollow."

However, Katrina’s father throws a wrench into her plans to marry Ichabod, insisting that she court her childhood friend turned enemy, the wealthy but vile Brom Van Brunt. Haunting dreams of the Headless Horseman besiege Katrina at night, which soon involve Ichabod in danger in Katrina's once charming forest. Charlotte Jenson, Katrina’s best friend with witchy inclinations, warns Katrina to be cautious, sensing an unnamable coming tragedy. On All Hallows’ Eve, Charlotte’s warning becomes reality, as Ichabod disappears without explanation. With Charlotte’s help, Katrina desperately searches for her missing lover, finding herself in a precarious situation…

THE SPELLBOOK OF KATRINA VAN TASSEL is bewitching, as Palombo’s beautiful and eerie imagery spellbinds the reader with a vivid account of Katrina’s haunting Sleepy Hollow. The romance between Katrina and Ichabod is devastating yet enchanting, forcing the reader to hope for a joyous conclusion.

Although the novel’s central theme is the romance between Ichabod and Katrina, the friendship Palombo develops between Katrina and Charlotte is no less satisfying. The relationship between the two women holds multiple layers of complexity, allowing readers to examine and appreciate Katrina and Charlotte's friendship on a deeper level.

The necessity of Katrina’s marriage drives the plot of the novel, revealing the historical context of New York right after the American Revolution. Even as the magical elements of the novel make little attempt to be an accurate historical reflection of the time period, Palombo represents the societal limitations placed upon women of the time interestingly and thoughtfully.

THE SPELLBOOK OF KATRINA VAN TASSEL’s mingling of constant suspense with tenderness will catch readers’ attentions, satisfying those searching for the perfect blend of romance, magic, and spookiness to celebrate the month of Halloween.

Reviewed by Janine Chouinard on October 16, 2018

The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow
by Alyssa Palombo