The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow
Love In The Time Of The Headless Horseman
Everyone knows the Legend Of Sleepy Hollow, through Disney animated adaption, Johnny Depp movie, or the pages of a very old book. Taking up the trend on altered classics, Alyssa Palombo offers up a tale that is closer to that of the original text in The Spellbook Of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story Of Sleepy Hollow.
Katrina has lived a privileged life. Her father an important man in the small community of Sleepy Hollow, she is among the few that have been highly educated and loves to read. When a schoolmaster is called to town, it was no wonder that Ichabod Crane was expected to room with the Van Tassel's for several weeks.
In his twenties, Mr. Crane was older than their teenage daughter, but the draw to each other was immeasurable. At first Katrina didn't think the attraction to be mutual until Ichabod began to offer her music lessons before the school year began, something that he would also be doing for several children in the village.
Finding that the young man felt the same, the two quickly became lovers and used their music lessons and a secret spot in the woods as a place to be together.
While Ichabod and Katrina loved each other immensely, she knew that her father would not consent to the match between his daughter and a lowly schoolmaster, although he had taken quite a liking to the young man.
The couple vowed to marry no matter what.
Brom had been a childhood friend of Katrina but now she wanted nothing to do with him. When they were younger, Brom had exposed the truth about Katrina's dearest friend, Charlotte in that she and her midwife mother were using herbal magic in their cottage to heal their patients. When Brom became jealous that Katrina had no romantic feelings for him, he exposed Charlotte to spite her. Now with her intentions towards Ichabod found out, he will do anything to keep Katrina from slipping away.
Spending a great deal of their time in the woods, Ichabod has become well versed on the legends of Sleepy Hollow and its ghosts. Among the greatest, is a tale of a Hessian rider that had been beheaded and wandered the woods looking for new victims to take their heads, hoping someday to be reunited with his own.
Charlotte and Katrina had never believed in the tales of the Headless Horseman, or so they had said to each other. Confessing to Ichabod, like the other ghosts of Sleepy Hollow, Katrina felt they were somehow all rooted in fact.
She had visions that she only told Charlotte about, or were they dreams?
She had seen the Horseman in the woods through a strange mist, on the back of his stallion heading straight towards Ichabod and she remembers screaming out in terror as he is run down. It was only a dream but her fears for her love were always at the center of her mind as they could only meet in the darkness of the woods at night.
As the summer was dwindling, Katrina knew that they had to talk to her family and get permission to marry, especially as her father began to entertain the idea of suitors and gave his permission to Brom to court Katrina even though she wanted nothing to do with him.
Finding out their secret, Brom was a jealous rival with an ax to grind and he swears that any rejection of him he would take the news to Katrina's father and make sure he knew that she slumbered in the woods with her lover each night.
Charlotte had warned them of using a contraceptive remedy she had made from herbs but of course, Katrina had forgotten them one night.
After Brom had been involved in a duel with Ichabod, the schoolmaster had spend a week recovering from his gunshot wound to the shoulder, Katrina had realized that she was expecting.
Nervous but excited, the couple knew now was the time to get the blessing to marry. They had to do so before Brom did something to interrupt their life again.
Finding out that she was pregnant, Katrina knew that she could not rely on her family no matter how much that had loved her. She knew that her parents would expect her to give the baby up and that she would still have to find a suitable husband that would take her in time, but in her heart she wished that they understood that she and Ichabod loved each other and he wanted to marry her from the moment they met. She finally had agreed that this was the time to talk to her father.
Charlotte Is A Witch
Using her knowledge for the good of her patients and friends, Charlotte used the craft to heal what she could. She also had visions of her own.
From a young age, she could see things around her and had feelings about events that had happened or were yet to happen. When Katrina had told her that she wanted Charlotte to consult the tarot cards to find out the reaction of Mr. Van Tassel to Ichabod asking for her hand, Charlotte had to hide her reaction to her dearest friend.
Knowing that Katrina too had the power to see the future in dreams, Charlotte was more frightened by the outcome than the optimism of her friend.
Soon everything falls apart at the annual Van Tassel Halloween Event when Ichabod asks for a word with Katrina's father, only to see Brom lingering in the wings hanging on every word.
Ichabod rushes out of the room in distress and tell Katrina he is not allowed to marry her and he promises to see her soon and send word through Charlotte and he dashes out into the woods.
Brom soon follows after being blown off by Katrina.
Ichabod is reported missing the following day.
Charlotte knows in her heart the first time that she and Katrina go searching. Word in the village is that the Headless Horseman had taken Ichabod and that he and his horse were never found again. Only his hat remained next to the stream.
Wanting the best for her friend, Charlotte eventually consents to Katrina's idea to hide the pregnancy by marrying the first man that would take her without question no matter how vile he was.
Charlotte in this spot in the woods can see what had happens and she hides it in fear for her dearest friend finding out the truth.
What Brom Has Done
He had always had his intentions on Katrina Van Tassel since they were children. Brom never understood how she had taken the side of Charlotte when the entire town had known that she was a witch and turned him away.
Now that the schoolmaster had come to town, Katrina had turned him down again swearing that she would never love him.
But now all had changed two years later and they were locked in a loveless marriage and had a daughter that was born rather suddenly into the relationship.
He never understood why she and Charlotte were still searching for the truth of what had happened to Ichabod that night. He wanted to keep Charlotte was far as possible from his home, knowing that she somehow had known the truth of what he had done to his rival.
When the duel hadn't scared him off, Brom had gone crazy with the knowledge he had intercepted at the party- Ichabod had the nerve to ask for Katrina's hand. Brom was thankful it was denied as he was still technically courting her in the eyes of her father.
Trying to convince the man the schoolmaster must be after the heavy dowry that the Van Tassel's had for their daughter, Brom had made sure that Ichabod would be turned away.
Blinded with rage to Katrina pushing him away again, Brom tore out the door.
Thinking first to scare him, Brom took off on his horse after Ichabod, threatening the man and finally after dismounting him from the saddle, the fight turned physical next to the stream. He punched and jabbed at Ichabod but he kept replying that he loved Katrina and he would fight for her. Many stab wounds later, Brom had silenced him but now had a body on his hands. He pushed the remains into the stream and waited.
It wasn't until the thaw of the next season when the bloated, rotted remains of some man had been found but it was impossible to know now who he was. Brom breathed easy.
But someone had left a pumpkin in the yard.
Eventually between crazy Charlotte and Katrina, they had figured out everything and Brom had to confess.
He says that he didn't mean to kill the man, just that he was blinded by so much rage.
Katrina told him to leave and never come back.
Resolution Yet No Justice
On her own with a young daughter, Katrina forgave Charlotte for not letting her know earlier on that Brom had killed Ichabod understanding her friend was trying to protect her.
Then Brom's headless body was found in the same place as where Ichabod had been killed. The village had believed it was the Headless Horseman once again coming to claim another soul.
The Spellbook Of Katrina Van Tassel is a great romantic read set the backdrop of the Sleepy Hollow story. Where past tales on paper and in movie insinuated the relationship growing between Ichabod and Katrina, this takes the full step to the couple planning to marry and having a child together.
While much of the book was up to question if Ichabod had runoff on his own accord, and if Brom was actually killed by the Headless Horseman as once speculated for Ichabod, this is not a ghost story but a love story in the face of a horror story.
Fantastically written, this is an excellent read.