In the Washington Irving classic The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, schoolteacher Ichabod Crane relocates to Sleepy Hollow, where he tries but fails to woo Katrina Van Tassel, the daughter of the town’s wealthiest landowner. Instead, his stay is cut short after a terrifying encounter with the Headless Horseman who haunts the quiet New York village. No one knows what became of the schoolteacher after that, but Katrina went on to marry Abraham “Brom Bones” Van Brunt, her childhood sweetheart and Crane’s rival for her affections, and the legend of the Horseman prevailed.
Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow picks up with Katrina and Brom more than 30 years after Crane’s mysterious disappearance, but is told from the perspective of their sole grandchild, Ben Van Brunt. To the 14-year-old, there’s nothing better than adventuring in the nearby woods playing Sleepy Hollow Boys, a game glorifying Brom’s youthful exploits. But after the decapitated body of a local boy is found there, Brom warns Ben to stay out of the area, much to the younger Van Brunt’s dismay. Ben is drawn to the forest and would rather do some investigating, especially after another victim is found. Is this the work of the fabled Horseman, who Brom maintains is not real, or is there someone else prowling the woods?
Author Christina Henry brings Katrina and Brom back to life with a love story for the ages, and a grandchild who admires the brutish Brom in a way we’d never expect. The family has seen its share of tragedy over the years, the mysteries of which the young Ben hasn’t been fully privy to. But as the current events unfold, Ben learns more about the family’s past and what malevolent forces have been working against them.
This dark sequel, which also fills in some back story of the famous Irving yarn, is aimed more towards the YA crowd, with a teen protagonist whose angst and frustrations are thoroughly and repeatedly projected throughout. There’s also an LGBTQIA+ slant to this coming-of-age tale, which slowly reveals the chilling details of happened in the years after the Horseman’s famed ride against Crane. Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow is a gripping, well-told story that expands upon the original legend, while at its heart is about familial love and acceptance.
In this atmospheric, terrifying novel that draws strongly from “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” the author of Alice and The Girl in Red works her trademark magic, spinning an engaging and frightening new story from a classic tale.
Everyone in Sleepy Hollow knows about the Horseman, but no one really believes in him. Not even Ben Van Brunt’s grandfather, Brom Bones, who was there when it was said the Horseman chased the upstart Crane out of town. Brom says that’s just legend, the village gossips talking.
More than thirty years after those storied events, the village is a quiet place. Fourteen-year-old Ben loves to play “Sleepy Hollow boys,” reenacting the events Brom once lived through. But then Ben and a friend stumble across the headless body of a child in the woods near the village, and the discovery makes Ben question everything the adults in Sleepy Hollow have ever said. Could the Horseman be real after all? Or does something even more sinister stalk the woods?
Book Dimensions: 5.29 x 0.85 x 7.96 inches; 320 pages