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Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow

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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. Twenty years after those storied events, the village is a quiet place. Fourteen-year-old Ben loves 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. Twenty 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 sinister 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?


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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. Twenty years after those storied events, the village is a quiet place. Fourteen-year-old Ben loves 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. Twenty 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 sinister 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?

30 review for Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ~ Bantering Books

    Be sure to visit Bantering Books to read all my latest reviews. I don’t cry over horror novels. Squirm, yes. Feel repulsed, yes. Sleep with one eye open, yes. Leave all the lights on in my house and raise my electric bill, yes. But cry tears of sorrow and awe from the emotional resonance of the writing in a horror novel? Nope. Never. Christina Henry brought forth my tears, though. And they spilled over. Because her latest release, Horseman, is a mesmerizing, creepy, and (surprisingly) poignant cont Be sure to visit Bantering Books to read all my latest reviews. I don’t cry over horror novels. Squirm, yes. Feel repulsed, yes. Sleep with one eye open, yes. Leave all the lights on in my house and raise my electric bill, yes. But cry tears of sorrow and awe from the emotional resonance of the writing in a horror novel? Nope. Never. Christina Henry brought forth my tears, though. And they spilled over. Because her latest release, Horseman, is a mesmerizing, creepy, and (surprisingly) poignant continuation of Washington Irving’s classic tale, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Henry picks the story up 30 years after the Headless Horseman chased Ichabod Crane from town and introduces us to 14-year-old Ben Van Brunt, grandson of Brom Bones and Katrina Van Tassel. Ben spends his days helping Brom on the farm and playing games in the woods, living quietly in the Hollow. Until he happens upon a child’s headless body while out exploring, and he and the villagers are forced to wonder whether the fabled Horseman has returned. Part of my joy in reading Horseman comes from the nostalgia of revisiting Sleepy Hollow and its characters. But what Henry adds to Irving’s legend is clever and entertaining in its own right. The story is darkly atmospheric and fairy tale-esque, while also brutally gruesome, befitting the genre. But where the novel truly shines is in its closing scenes when Ben has aged to 24. Henry slows the story’s pace and digs powerfully into the narrative, opening Ben like a wound. She lays bare his anguished emotions, his torturous unrest. And this is why the tears streamed from my eyes, only to then gush when I reached the novel’s hopeful final passage, the sheer beauty of it nothing short of perfection. Horseman gives way more than I ever expected it to give. And it taught me something quite important. A good horror novel can make a girl cry. Profusely. Bantering Books Twitter Facebook

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Ain’t no rest for the wicked witch a.k.a me drowning in my own tbr screaming nonstop after reading this most intense, darkest, unique retelling of Sleepy Hollow! I think I will have nightmares about Horseman for a long time and disturb everyone with my painful night terrors! Christina Henry knows how to scare the living daylights out of you! This is short, scary, tremendously spin tingling, blood freezing story! Please don’t read it at nighttime and if you don’t tend to wear adult diaper, never Ain’t no rest for the wicked witch a.k.a me drowning in my own tbr screaming nonstop after reading this most intense, darkest, unique retelling of Sleepy Hollow! I think I will have nightmares about Horseman for a long time and disturb everyone with my painful night terrors! Christina Henry knows how to scare the living daylights out of you! This is short, scary, tremendously spin tingling, blood freezing story! Please don’t read it at nighttime and if you don’t tend to wear adult diaper, never plan to start reading! The results can be so humiliating ( I know from the first-hand) We’re returning back to Sleepy Hollow where is famous with Horseman’s tale is still haunting townies’ souls. Is it urban legend? Is it dark fairytale you tell your children before they go to sleep? According to Brom Bones: Horseman is the one who chased Crane out of town. What happened to Crane? If Ben Van Brunt’s grandfather is telling the truth, Horseman might be still lurking around to chase his enemies out of town! After 20 years later, Ben is 14 and he is still haunted with his grandfather’s stories he told about Horseman and finding a headless body of a child in the woods near the village makes him rethink the bloody Horseman’s existence! This gory, jaw dropping, fast pacing story is truly worth to read in one sit and your longest loudest screams! I highly recommend this to the genre lovers who are addicted to the real taste of blood freezing horror stories and all time favorite classics. Special thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Paromjit

    Christina Henry picks up the classic novel two decades later, at Sleepy Hollow, an isolated village rife with gossip, superstitions, folklore, legends of the headless horseman, a place that doesn't like outsiders or those who are different. 14 year old Ben van Brunt, born a girl, sees himself as a boy, having been raised by his loving grandparents on their farm after the loss of his parents, Bendix and Fenna. He hero worships his larger than life grandfather, Brom Bones, a man who gets his own w Christina Henry picks up the classic novel two decades later, at Sleepy Hollow, an isolated village rife with gossip, superstitions, folklore, legends of the headless horseman, a place that doesn't like outsiders or those who are different. 14 year old Ben van Brunt, born a girl, sees himself as a boy, having been raised by his loving grandparents on their farm after the loss of his parents, Bendix and Fenna. He hero worships his larger than life grandfather, Brom Bones, a man who gets his own way, whatever it takes, and is both feared and admired in equal measure by locals. He has a trickier relationship with Katrina, his grandmother, who is insistent on getting him to behave and dress as a girl, and acquiring the appropriate skills, such as sewing, resulting in anger and regular clashes of will. Ben is playing Sleepy Hollow Boys with his only friend, Sander, in the woods where the mutilated body of a boy has been discovered, without his head and hands. This will not be the only victim of a evil and terrorising presence that grows stronger in the haunted woods, that includes parts where no human ventures, and there is talk of the return of the headless horseman. Brom does not believe in any of this folklore, although an apprehensive Ben can feel and hear the presence of a horseman, and its protective connection which he cannot quite grasp or understand. As it becomes apparent to Ben that the truth of his parents death has been kept from him, he begins to become aware that there are many aspects of his family history he had no knowledge of. Will Ben be able to survive the increasing dangers and horrors that are set to come his way? This is a atmospheric and creepy novel, with Sleepy Hollow a village that vibrates with a magic woven into its very being, a place that accepts the price of living in such a beautiful location is the horror and demons that go with it, including the loss of children. Henry goes on to portray a Sleepy Hollow that changes in the space of another decade when Ben is 24 years old, it has grown with more outsiders and become a more thriving and bustling place, although a poison still lurks. This is a wonderfully dark and engaging read, of family, love, loss, grief, of what one will do to protect loved ones, identity, being true to who you are, and acceptance. Many thanks to the publisher for an ARC.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    Once, a long time ago, I’d stepped off the track close to the deep part of the forest. I remembered Sander going mad with anxiety, calling for me to come back, but I only wanted to know why nobody in the Hollow went any farther than that point. I hadn’t seen any witches, or goblins, or the Horseman. But I had heard someone, someone whispering my name, and I’d felt a touch on my shoulder, something cold as the wind that came in autumn. I’d wanted to run then, to sprint terrified back to the fa Once, a long time ago, I’d stepped off the track close to the deep part of the forest. I remembered Sander going mad with anxiety, calling for me to come back, but I only wanted to know why nobody in the Hollow went any farther than that point. I hadn’t seen any witches, or goblins, or the Horseman. But I had heard someone, someone whispering my name, and I’d felt a touch on my shoulder, something cold as the wind that came in autumn. I’d wanted to run then, to sprint terrified back to the farm, but Sander was watching, so I’d quietly turned and stepped back on the track and the cold touch moved away from me. Washington Irving’s short story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, (there is a link to the full text of that in EXTRA STUFF) has been read by Americans since it was first published in 1819. What we remember most about it is the image of The Headless Horseman. There is some question about who this very un-pedestrian equestrian might be, a late Hessian, perhaps, whose cranium had had a close encounter with a cannonball, who was eager for revenge, and searched relentlessly for his lost noggin. Or maybe a canny wooer (one Abraham “Brom Bones” Van Brunt) of a local lass looking to frighten the superstitious competition out of town with a bit of over-the-top theatrical horseplay. The story about the horseman had predated Brom and Ichabod vying for the hand (and property) of Katrina Van Tassel, so, was it a real ghost story or just a hugely successful prank? Christina Henry - image from her Goodreads page In Christina Henry’s Horseman we are brought back to Irving’s one-horse town, Sleepy Hollow, two generations on. Brom and Katrina are grandparents now, managing their land, doing nicely with their farm. Brom remains a big man, both literally and figuratively, a powerful figure in local affairs, as well as someone still able to take on conflict kinetically when needed. Ben, our first-person narrator, Brom and Katrina’s fourteen-year-old grandchild, admires Brom completely, would like nothing more than to grow up to be as much like him as humanly possible. The Headless Horseman Pursuing Ichabod Crane by John Quidor, l858 – image from The Smithsonian American Art museum Ben and a friend are playing in the woods one day when they hear a group of riders pass, Brom in the lead. Ben is desperate to see what’s up, even though the group is headed to a part of the woods that is considered way too spooky to venture into, with good reason. Just beyond the circle of men was a boy—or rather, what was left of a boy. He lay on his side, like a rag doll that’s been tossed in a corner by a careless child, one leg half-folded. A deep sadness welled up in me at the sight of him lying there, forgotten rubbish instead of a boy. Something about this sight sent a shadow flitting through the back of my mind, the ghost of a thought, almost a memory. Then it disappeared before I could catch it… Both the head and hands seemed to have been removed inexpertly. There were ragged bits of flesh and muscle at the wrist, and I saw a protruding bit of broken spine dangling where Cristoffel’s head used to be. Image from ClassicBecky’s Brain Food And the game is on. Had this bully of a teen been cut down by a violent spectre or was there a more flesh-laden killer on the loose? There is a second mystery, as well. What’s the deal with the “ghost of a thought, almost a memory” that Ben experiences while witness to the carnage? But wait, there’s more. There were mysteries left over from Washington Irving’s original story, such as was it a ghostly headless Hessian who had driven Ichabod Crane out of town, and what had actually happened to Crane after he fell off his horse and vanished? Image from Deviant Art – from Kanaru92 Irving makes a point of the superstitious bent of the locals in the Hollow. …the place still continues under the sway of some witching power, that holds a spell over the minds of the good people, causing them to walk in a continual reverie. They are given to all kinds of marvellous beliefs, are subject to trances and visions, and frequently see strange sights, and hear music and voices in the air. - from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow A belief in the supernatural, justified or not, prompts the locals to believe the worst (including the W-word) about any they find outside the norm, as defined by their constricted minds. They see dark forces and conspiracies where none exist, well, probably. And seek to blame someone, usually someone perceived as different. I know that reminds me of mindless seekers after blame and conspiracy who roam the planet today, but maybe that’s just me. Feeding the blame-and-conspiracy machine, there is a gender identification seam that permeates as one of the characters contends with being seen one way, while feeling internally entirely other. Other is not an entirely ok thing to be in early nineteenth century small-town America. Image from Classic Becky Brain Food - by Jurei-Chan Family has a lot to do with who we are, who we become, what we might be capable of, for good or ill. Ben’s love for Brom is manifest and a serious source of strength. Ben’s relationship with Katrina is more conflictual, yet with strong underpinnings. But what about other family? There is connection and help to be had in the household, with one of the staff providing a solid core of support. And what about community? Sander is clearly a bff, although not necessarily the best able to offer support in all circumstances. Ben does not seem to have much beyond that. Thus the need for Brom’s strength. Thankfully, Ben has internalized that, so has at least a chance to engage in battle without being entirely over-matched. We trot along by Ben’s side as dangers present, whether it is obvious or not that they are perilous. Ben does get tingles about certain people, internal red flags of distrust. Are they valid or paranoid? Image from Deviant Art – by Ochreface The book is not marketed as YA, but it felt like a YA title to me. Henry has written several books that take a new look at classic children’s stories, tending toward a younger readership. Most serious violence remains off screen, although we do get to see its aftermath. Profanity is absent. There is a piece in here about people, not all people, but some people, being susceptible to manipulation by an outside force encouraging the dark piece that resides deep within to come to the surface, to take over, even if only for a time. I had a problem with this, as it exempts some from having that bit. Certainly, some people are better than others, more ethical, more moral, kinder, smarter, more empathic, more honest, more responsible, but even the best of us harbors at least a sliver of darkness. This sort of not-quite black-and-white, but maybe charcoal-gray-and-white view of human potential for unpleasantness added to the YA feel. That said, there are a couple of tough physical battles and issues of sexual attraction and predation are raised, which gives it a bit more bite. Image from Art Abyss – by Gabriel Williams In literature, The Woods is generally a symbol of the challenges facing young people on the cusp of adulthood. Ben’s adventures fit quite nicely into that, passing through the fires of challenge to reach maturity in a very different and interesting way. Ben, gifted with considerable horse sense, meets those trials head on. I found Ben’s playtime activities, though, a bit off for a child of fourteen, ten maybe. Perhaps Henry was looking to make the distance Ben travels from this to that seem longer than it really was. Image from Disney But fret not. Though I am well past the YA demo I found this an engaging, fun, creative take on an old favorite. Ben is an appealing lead, struggling with the choices life presents, a dark horse to root for. There are adventures aplenty, head-scratcher mysteries to be solved, clues to be followed, warmth and family love to be appreciated, and a new, quite surprising interpretation of an old mystery. Is it scary? A bit. I am particularly immune to getting the creeps from books, and have a simple metric. Does anything in the book make the hair on my arms stand at attention? For what it’s worth, my pelt remained at ease. But it is clear that there is plenty of creepy material to be had in Horseman, and it is likely that many readers will get more of a frisson from those than might an old oater like me. Image from Sleepy Hollow wiki – from the film Headless Horseman Horseman is a perfect read for the Halloween season. But you might not want to head off to a favorite outdoor reading spot if it is more than just a little way into the woods. The dark silhouette seemed to unfold—no, unfurl, sinuous and soft—and I thought how can an animal stand like a man? My breath seized inside my lungs because just for an instant I thought I saw eyes looking back at me, eyes that could not be there because no human was there, no human could possibly have eyes like that—eyes that glowed, eyes that pulled, eyes that seemed to be tugging on my soul, drawing it out through my mouth. Review posted – October 1, 2021 Publication date – September 28, 2021 I received an e-ARE of Horseman from Berkley, via NetGalley in return for not losing my head writing a review. This review has been cross-posted on my site, Coot’s Reviews. Head on over and say Hi! =============================EXTRA STUFF Links to the author’s personal, FB, Instagram, GR, and Twitter pages Items of Interest from the author -----from her site - excerpt -----from her site - Seven Short Stories Items of Interest -----Gutenberg - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow -----Wiki on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow -----History.com - What Inspired ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’? by Lesley Kennedy -----Classic Becky’s Brain Food - Legends of the Headless Horseman - Sleepy Hollow’s topless performer was far from the first -----One cannot possibly read the The Legend of Sleepy Hollow or Horseman without recalling one of the greatest tabloid headlines of all time, of April 15, 1983, from the always-classy New York Post Songs/Music -----Argent - Hold Your Head Up -----Paul Anka - Put Your Head on My Shoulder -----The Rollingstones - Wild Horses

  5. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    "There was a contagion in the very air that blew from that haunted region; it breathed forth an atmosphere of dreams and fancies infecting all the land." - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving The Horseman is not a re-telling of Washington Irving's Sleepy Hollow but a tale which takes place twenty years after the events of that book. Those who live in Sleepy Hollow know about the Horseman, but they don't believe in his existence. Ben Van Brunt's grandfather, Brom Bones was there w "There was a contagion in the very air that blew from that haunted region; it breathed forth an atmosphere of dreams and fancies infecting all the land." - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving The Horseman is not a re-telling of Washington Irving's Sleepy Hollow but a tale which takes place twenty years after the events of that book. Those who live in Sleepy Hollow know about the Horseman, but they don't believe in his existence. Ben Van Brunt's grandfather, Brom Bones was there when Crane was chased out of town. He will tell you it's just a legend. Nothing to concern yourself with. Ben Van Brunt, born a female declared "No one was ever going to make me be a female.... Once I was old enough, I was going to cut my hair and run away and be a man in some place where no one had ever heard of me." Ben loves his grandfather more than anything and wants to grow up and be the man that Brom is. Ben is brave, he is strong, and big for his age. He is the target for some in town but proves time and time again that the Van Brunt’s are not to be messed with. When Ben and a close friend come across the body of a headless child near their village, Ben begins to question everything the adults in Sleepy Hollow have ever said. Is the Horseman real? Is there something more sinister in the woods? "Sleepy Hollow strange things were true, and sometimes those strange things reached out their claws. If wasn't that people didn't care; it was that they accepted horror in exchange for wonder." Those in town would tell you to watch where you go in the woods. To beware a certain area. There is a magic there, something that haunts the far woods. If you are quiet, if you listen closely, you can hear the whispers. Be still, and you can almost feel the invisible hands reaching out to grab you. There is a part of the Hollow that no one dares enter. You wouldn't want to lose your head, would you? "But the woods near Sleepy Hollow were not the same as other woods. There were places deep and dark that no one dared go. No one dared go there because it was known that those places were the haunts of creatures not of this earth. To go there was to invite their notice, and these were not things that you wanted to notice you." I loved this dark tale that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I could hear the horses thundering hooves. I could feel the tingles up my spine. There is an urgent sense of danger, dread, and doom in this book. Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow has a dark and sinister feel to it. The atmosphere brings forth feelings of fall, cooler nights and darker skies. But this book is not all scary. Sure, there are some chilling and dreadful scenes. But this book is also about family, about loving someone, about being true to yourself, about acceptance, about bravery and friendship. That is what makes this book even more powerful - the relationships of Ben, Katrina and Brom. It's quite lovely to read their scenes and be witness to their love, to root for them, to be moved by them. This book was a five-star read for me for most of the book but it lost me a little toward the end. Mainly because it slows down slightly and felt a little stretched out before another major scene occurred at the end. Having said that, this was such a great book. Those silent hands reached out and grabbed me pulling me into the pages of this book. Gripping, dark, tense and oh so deliciously wicked! Thank you to Berkley Books and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own. #Horseman #NetGalley Read more of my reviews at www.openbookposts.com

  6. 4 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    **3.5-stars rounded up** The Headless Horseman is back in this cleverly-imagined Historical Fiction Horror novel from Christina Henry!! Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow is set twenty-years after Ichabod Crane's run-in with the infamous Horseman. The legend is still told in town, but with that many years separating the incident from reality, people's belief in the accuracy of the story, and the Horseman himself, have begun to dwindle. Even Ben Van Brunt's grandfather, Brom Bones, who was there on th **3.5-stars rounded up** The Headless Horseman is back in this cleverly-imagined Historical Fiction Horror novel from Christina Henry!! Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow is set twenty-years after Ichabod Crane's run-in with the infamous Horseman. The legend is still told in town, but with that many years separating the incident from reality, people's belief in the accuracy of the story, and the Horseman himself, have begun to dwindle. Even Ben Van Brunt's grandfather, Brom Bones, who was there on the night in question, passes the story off as village gossip. Nevertheless, Ben still enjoys playing Sleepy Hollow Boys in the local woods with his only friend, Sander. Ben, born a girl, has never seen himself that way and chooses to live the way he feels, as a boy, regardless of how much his grandmother, Katrina, fights him on it. It's on one of these occasions, playing in the woods, that the first body is discovered. A local boy, missing his head and hands. Ben feels a dark energy permeating from the woods; could the Horseman be back? When more victims start to be discovered, Ben doesn't understand how people can continue to deny the ominous presence lurking just outside the village. Discovering his own parent's deaths may not have occurred how his Grandparents said, Ben now realizes he has a mystery to solve. Something evil is happening with the town and he needs to do whatever he can to stop it. Horseman sets a spooky tone from the very start; perfect material for this time of year, I have to say. If you are a fan of previous Sleepy Hollow content, including the original tale, I really feel this one is worth checking out. I am always impressed by Henry's dark imagination. While this is a bit of a slow burn, I had a great time reading it. In my opinion, the story was original and fresh. The paranormal/spooky elements were well-constructed and I enjoyed getting to know Ben as a character. As a 14-year old, Ben was strong-willed and courageous. Spurred on by the mysteries circling the town and his family, Ben was willing to do anything to get to the bottom of it all. I was definitely able to get behind that level of determination. This is the perfect type of tale to pick up as we get closer to Halloween, but really, aren't spooky stories perfect all year-round? Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I truly appreciate it. Horseman releases today, Tuesday, September 28th!!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte May

    Christina Henry strikes again! 4 stars ⭐️ “But the woods near Sleepy Hollow were not the same as other woods. There were places deep and dark that no one dared go. No one dared go there because it was known that those places were the haunts of creatures not of this earth.” Ben Van Brunt has lived in Sleepy Hollow his entire life. He knows there are certain parts of the woods no one goes in. The town is full of superstition, in particular the story of the Headless Horseman. When young boys in th Christina Henry strikes again! 4 stars ⭐️ “But the woods near Sleepy Hollow were not the same as other woods. There were places deep and dark that no one dared go. No one dared go there because it was known that those places were the haunts of creatures not of this earth.” Ben Van Brunt has lived in Sleepy Hollow his entire life. He knows there are certain parts of the woods no one goes in. The town is full of superstition, in particular the story of the Headless Horseman. When young boys in the town start to go missing, the town try to brush over it. Better that than admitting there is something truly insidious in the forest. I don’t actually know a lot about the original Sleepy Hollow story so I was able to go into this pretty much blind. Christina Henry, as usual does a great job of building tension and unease. (view spoiler)[ I liked that the monster wasn’t entirely explained. That it is just ‘evil’ that simply exists and can’t always be destroyed. The idea that the Horseman becomes someone new every generation. That Ben never truly fit in the town, and after losing everyone he loved he becomes the new protector of the forest. (hide spoiler)] Overall, a spooky tale with a host of characters to love and hate. “Sleepy Hollow and the people of the hollow believed in ghosts and goblins, believed in spooks and haunts.” ****************************** My favourite thing to see on the library app: ‘In Transit’ The only thing better is ‘on hold’ 😂 😀🙌🙌🙌 can’t wait for this!!!!!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Gabby

    I’m not really familiar with the original Sleepy Hollow story, but I really enjoyed this retelling! Ben was a really complex and interesting character to follow in this story and I loved the atmosphere of this sleepy village town. There were some truly creepy scenes in this, the writing is so well done! I’m becoming quite a fan of this author 😍🙌

  9. 5 out of 5

    karen

    NOW AVAILABLE! JUST IN TIME FOR SPOOKTOBER! ...it was a foolish thing, a childish thing, to think that monsters only showed their teeth at night. even though my brain knows that The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is set in new york, it FEELS like such a new englandy story, and growing up, whenever the wretched summer finally ended, making way for the cozier fall; the leaves flaring before crisping, the scent of autumnal spices on the air, there you would find young karen, sipping warm cider on a horse-d NOW AVAILABLE! JUST IN TIME FOR SPOOKTOBER! ...it was a foolish thing, a childish thing, to think that monsters only showed their teeth at night. even though my brain knows that The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is set in new york, it FEELS like such a new englandy story, and growing up, whenever the wretched summer finally ended, making way for the cozier fall; the leaves flaring before crisping, the scent of autumnal spices on the air, there you would find young karen, sipping warm cider on a horse-drawn haunted hayride, listening to someone read aloud the tale of ichabod crane and the headless horseman. because of this, i've always had a nostalgic fondness for the story, so i was over the moon excited to read this book—the cover gave me full-body shivers, and i loved henry's Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook and was excited to see where she'd take this material. i didn't...love this one. there's not much retelling going on here. it's more of a "what came after" story that checks in on sleepy hollow twenty years later, when brom and katrina's fourteen-year-old grandchild ben starts questioning what she's been told about her parents' deaths and the legend of the horseman. it started off so well, giving me vibes like The Village Very little about Sleepy Hollow had changed since its founding. It was like the Hollow was caught inside a soap bubble, or maybe a spell—always the same, never growing or changing. There weren't even that many visitors, generally—people sometimes passed through, but they rarely stayed. Any newcomer was like grit in the Hollow's eye, and the people of the village would rub at it until the grit was removed. but there's no big payoff-reveal here, no revisionist slant taking what we thought we knew about sleepy hollow and refracting its light in another direction, the way she subverted our good/evil assumptions of Peter Pan in Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook (and, presumably, in her other retellings, all of which i have bought and are still sitting here unread.) this village-as-isolated-snowglobe scenario is simply establishing the scene—an outsider-wary village whose people accept magic and the supernatural as a fact of life. Sleepy Hollow believed in spirits and demons, because they lived side by side with those beings. The people of the town believed in magic. And why wouldn't they? Magic was woven into the fabric of the Hollow. It drifted in the air. It rode through the night on a fast horse. the headless horseman does indeed ride through these pages, but the more immediate, kid-chomping threat is...something else, so the story is less a reimagining of the source material than henry taking the original and tacking a narrative branch onto it. there are actually two horsemen here—the one that ichabod crane encountered, whose story has become part of the village's mythos (and it confirms what washington irving insinuated about the horseman's identity in the original tale), but there’s also an enigmatic quasi-spectral horseback'ed figure who seems fixated on young ben, his intentions a combination of sinister and protective. more than anything else, this is ben's story. ben is an orphan being raised by her grandparents. she idolizes brom, and is impatient with katrina, specifically with katrina's insistence on her dressing like a girl, keeping out of the mud and being ladylike, when ben has never felt like a girl, preferring boy's clothing and pursuits to the suffocating expectations of smalltown womanhood. but ben's destiny lies elsewhere. and as far as that goes, this is a very good book about yearning, and becoming, but the indifferent scaffolding of the horseman tale makes this pretty flimsy, storywise. people who accept magic’s existence don't necessarily embrace it with open arms, especially when their children start dying, and ben's otherness soon becomes a liability. In little villages like ours, those who don't fit in were cast out. this didn't have to be a sleepy hollow-rework. it could have been set in any small town where "different" means "dangerous," it could just as easily have been a retelling of The Crucible. in fact, one of the best parts is ben's slow-dawning realization about what, specifically, all of katrina's dismay over ben's gender nonconformity and her attempts at behavioral adjustments have been trying to prevent. I recognized that grief had driven him mad. I also knew, with a deep uneasiness, that any accusations of witchcraft might be taken seriously by the people of the village. as a headless horseman adaptation, this missed the mark for me, but the guts of the story are sound, and i really enjoyed the character relationships and ben's whole achin' to be struggle. i'm flickering between 3 and 4 on this, but if we're judging a book by its cover, it's an easy five. come to my blog!!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    I usually enjoy Christina Henry's story retellings. This one just didn't do it for me though. It was too "young adultish" and really should be listed as a young adult book, not adult. It was so surface level with a lot of repetition that often made for tedious reading. I couldn't wait to finish it. I did like that Christina Henry gave the story a transgender protagonist. If the book hadn't sounded so juvenile I would have really liked it. I think her fans who also love young adult books will enj I usually enjoy Christina Henry's story retellings. This one just didn't do it for me though. It was too "young adultish" and really should be listed as a young adult book, not adult. It was so surface level with a lot of repetition that often made for tedious reading. I couldn't wait to finish it. I did like that Christina Henry gave the story a transgender protagonist. If the book hadn't sounded so juvenile I would have really liked it. I think her fans who also love young adult books will enjoy this more than I did.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    Listen for me. I am the legend of Sleepy Hollow. I am the Horseman. Saying this was my most anticipated spooooooooky read for October is the understatement of the year. I was sooooo bummed when I was denied an early copy. But then I read it and really all I have to say is . . . . Horseman takes place in Sleepy Hollow twenty years after the infamous Headless Horseman wreaked his havoc. Ichabod Crane apparently hightailed it out of town pronto, leaving his intended betrothed Katrina beh Listen for me. I am the legend of Sleepy Hollow. I am the Horseman. Saying this was my most anticipated spooooooooky read for October is the understatement of the year. I was sooooo bummed when I was denied an early copy. But then I read it and really all I have to say is . . . . Horseman takes place in Sleepy Hollow twenty years after the infamous Headless Horseman wreaked his havoc. Ichabod Crane apparently hightailed it out of town pronto, leaving his intended betrothed Katrina behind where she married Bram Bones and had a son who eventually died (along with his wife), leaving his child Ben to be raised by the grandparents. Now the townsfolk fear the Horseman may be back as another child has been found murdered – and sans head and feet, no less. Then it happens again. Either it’s the Horseman or . . . . . Ben????? Because Ben found the kid? Yeah, that’s about as much sense as this plot makes. Mainly because all focus regarding amping up the creep factor or developing any sort of story that flows gets thrown waaaaaaay far out the window while Ben beats us over the head that he’s a boy not a girl. I realize I’m running the risk of being “cancelled” for complaining about this plot point, but please be very aware I take no issue with the subject itself. The problem is nothing about it is relevant to the tale at hand. Also, this book takes place like back in the dark ages and these folks are in a teensie little town who see Ben’s long hair and dresses and have no clue what all the chatter is about. I actually was waiting for a little twist that it was perhaps modern times and this village was maybe Amish or something to explain away the olde timey clothes and horseriding mixed in with the modern theme of sex and gender, but alas that did not happen. Apparently it was simply a vessel to sell more books and that, my friends, is a gross sort of moneygrab. I’ve been the gal to sing Henry’s praises multiple times. I highly recommend both Lost Boy and Alice if you are in the mood for a dark retelling. This one, though????

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shai

    3.5-4 As with other Christina Henry works, you get a sense of the unique or the extraordinary about the main character. Here, it is Ben, or Bente Van Brunt. You can just call her, Ben. She is no ordinary girl and she doesn’t care to be one. She looks up to and wants to be just like her Opa, Brom Bones of Sleepy Hollow. The Brom that married his sweetheart Katrina van Tassel and took over the family farm. She lives to run and climb, learn how to defend herself, ride horses, and do and learn things 3.5-4 As with other Christina Henry works, you get a sense of the unique or the extraordinary about the main character. Here, it is Ben, or Bente Van Brunt. You can just call her, Ben. She is no ordinary girl and she doesn’t care to be one. She looks up to and wants to be just like her Opa, Brom Bones of Sleepy Hollow. The Brom that married his sweetheart Katrina van Tassel and took over the family farm. She lives to run and climb, learn how to defend herself, ride horses, and do and learn things from her larger than life Opa. Katrina and Brom raised Ben and so far they have let her run wild in the forests and play and even wear breeches. As we come into the story, she is going into her early teens; however, and Katrina sees it as her duty to teach Ben how to be a lady and prepare her for marriage. Brom is the opposite and says it is not for a long time. The two ended up raising their grandchild after the death of their son and daughter-in-law; Bendix and Fenna. Brom is larger than life and so are the stories that surround him. He is a gentle giant if he is your friend and a fearsome adversary if he is your foe. His laugh is a deep rumble in the mountain and no one dares go against him or they feel his fist. Heh. When a killer begins taking the heads and feet of young children, this brings stirrings of the storied Headless Horseman alive again, though Brom laughs it off. Something really is wrong. Something evil has come to Sleepy Hollow and it is taking heads. What is it? Is the horseman back ? What about ole Ichabod Crane anyway ? How is Ben going to get by In this town dressing as a boy and how will she get the respect she wants; the respect Brom has, in the village ? Ben wonders what really happened to his parents. There are so many secrets in this Sleepy Little Hollow and after some of them come out things will never be the same. I loved parts of this so much. I felt angry, sad, and overwhelmed at others. The very end did agree with me. It was just some of the steps along the way that were painful. The writing was a pleasure to read and I could really put myself in the story. I got attached to these ppl here as if they were my own. Each character that you get a glimpse into has their own special “larger than life “ attribute to them. The Van Brunts are just amazing. Recommended. I received this copy to review in a Goodreads giveaway and I am freely posting my thoughts of it. Thank you Goodreads for the opportunity.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin Theroux

    Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC. The opinions expressed herein are mine alone and may not reflect the views of the author, publisher, or distributor. The more I think about this book, the pissier I get. A lot of spoilers coming up, so brace yourselves and bow out now if you're not into them. HORSEMAN starts off with a grisly murder being discovered in the woods of Sleepy Hollow. The grandchild of Brom Bones is out playing with his friend when the body of a kid their age is discovered dead in the f Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC. The opinions expressed herein are mine alone and may not reflect the views of the author, publisher, or distributor. The more I think about this book, the pissier I get. A lot of spoilers coming up, so brace yourselves and bow out now if you're not into them. HORSEMAN starts off with a grisly murder being discovered in the woods of Sleepy Hollow. The grandchild of Brom Bones is out playing with his friend when the body of a kid their age is discovered dead in the field, lacking his head and hands. This kicks off a whole rigmarole. People start blaming the Horseman, but Ben knows it can't be him. The Horseman isn't cruel. Then people are like, "Whatever happened to Ichabod Crane, anyway?" And only one person in town knows: Ben's banana-pants maternal grandfather. When two more kids drop like flies, the investigation gets more serious. Lol just kidding. It totally doesn't. Everyone blames Ben for the deaths because he's the one who finds the bodies. Listen. That's the summary. Boom, done. Now we get into what made this book a mess. The Plot Or lack thereof, because the mystery only takes up bits and pieces of the story. I cannot describe to you what a huge chunk of this book was Ben fawning over his grandfather. The strongest, biggest, loyalest, most perfect-est man in the entire world. That's Brom Bones. And Ben wants to be just like him when he grows up. Paragraphs and paragraphs of this, even well past the halfway mark. Come the heck on, Ben, we get it. Fawn over someone else for a minute. Gracious. And made worse by this is the fact that Ben was born as a girl, so the transgender commentary is questionable at best. It's brought up every single chapter that "I'm not a girl, I'm a boy" and that people always think Ben is weird, and Brom always refers to Ben as a boy because of how he and Katrina lost their son Bendix, and on and on and on. It's never expounded, never explored, and never wrapped up until the end--which I'll get to, cuz hoo boy. Wouldn't you think that teen boys having their heads and hands bitten off, and their bodies literally melting shortly after, would cause the entire town to bring up pitchforks and torches 18th-century style and bang down doors in the dead of night? Nope, not in Sleepy Hollow! Apparently everyone's cool with throwing around accusations and then forgetting they need to look for some of the OTHER missing people from years before, too. I'm sorry, what? Small-town upstate New York doesn't raise a stink over this? I'm surprised that there wasn't an entire witch hunt and people being dragged into the street to be flogged. Small-town Maine in the freaking 21st century is a nosy man's paradise. It would be even worse before crap like Facebook and Twitter. Three-fourths of the plot is Ben running around the woods, arguing with his grandmother Katrina, telling us about the history of Sleepy Hollow and showing us next to nothing, refuting people who call him a girl, and finding corpses in the woods. And there weren't even that many corpses! I'm so disappointed that there wasn't a bloodbath. The Conflict Ben's banana-pants maternal grandfather is a creepy old dude who pretends to know exactly what's happening, and guess what! He totally does. But he's also a mean old codger who hates literally everyone and everything, so he keeps to himself and no one bothers him to get information. Again, small-town mobs would burn down his house if he locked himself inside it if they even suspected he might have something to do with the murders. Some of the townsfolk raise a beef with Brom because of the guy's inaction and protection of Ben when everyone thought it was "that little witch" who was killing the boys. And to be fair, I'd suspect Brom too. He tries to calm everyone down and constantly defends his family instead of saying, "Hey, so we should find out what's actually happening so that my family isn't the main suspect pool here." But he doesn't! He just says, "Nah, not my little Ben. C'mon, little Ben, and let's go home and forget this happened." Like...dude! Your grandchild's other grandfather is under zero suspicion, and he's crazier than a shithouse rat! Approximately zero percent of the people in Sleepy Hollow trust him, and you're worried about just going home for dinner??? How is brushing this off a good idea?! And does BEN, the one who's found most of the bodies, even attempt to find out what's killing the boys? Yes, and it's really stupid. Which leads us to: The Reveal Hey, remember that little issue with the original legend of Sleepy Hollow? That one guy who kinda up and disappeared and no one bothered to look for him? Yeah, that guy. Ichabod Crane. Turns out, he didn't die. He just got turned into a shadow monster with a thirst for blood, and how did he get turned into that? Oh, that banana-pants shithouse rat, of course! Schuler, Ben's grandfather, is actually a mystical creature from the Old World, and in order to pass on his legacy he needs a son. Whoops! His wife produced a daughter, cuz women are definitely capable of controlling that, amirite? Dang-flabbit, you useless female! How dare you only carry X chromosomes! But then Bende renames herself Ben and becomes a boy, and Schuler is like, "I can work with this." And then they have one interaction a hundred pages before the final conflict. So...last I checked, in order to train someone to take on your mantle, you need to befriend them and then actually teach them to use the powers they inherited from you. Call me crazy, I'm not a Danish warlock capable of creating shadow monsters who lust after blood. How would I know what I'm talking about? The worst part about Ben finding out about Crane and all that is the incessant monologuing that happens before and after. First Brom goes on and on and ON about how he was the Horseman who scared away Crane, and no one is the wiser about it. Pages and pages of him and Ben riding back home in the woods, and Brom will not shut up and cut to the chase. Then Ichabod Crane reveals himself to Ben, and CRANE starts in! Paragraph on paragraph of exposition that reads tonally indistinguishable from Brom. I skimmed and missed nothing. Why do only hands and heads get eaten? Because Crane started to eat Katrina's son Bendix, and when he saw Katrina, his love for her overwhelmed him and he ran away before he could eat the whole body. So now he's stuck eating those parts, I guess. Why was Bendix going after Crane? Because Schuler told his son-in-law that the only way for the fever in the town to break was for Bendix to sacrifice himself to the Kludde, the Old World monster in the woods. So Bendix is like, "Sure, cool, I'll totally do that." No cross-referencing this information with his mom, who's ALSO DUTCH and would know about anything called the Kludde. Just jumping headfirst into self-sacrifice like it's noble or something. Why did Schuler tell Bendix about the Kludde? I don't even remember, as it was never elaborated enough. So Crane gets done monologuing and Brom shows up to find Ben, and a scuffle ensues. Crane touches Brom's chest, which starts melting away the flesh and exposes Brom's heart, and Brom gets in a single slash before he falls. That single slash is somehow enough to do in Crane, a nefarious shadow being who feeds on human blood. Okay. The very last standoff takes place ten years after Brom's death, and it's Ben v. Schuler for the title. Ben hears the Horseman calling his name and takes off into the deeper woods to find him. Surprise! Horseman is being held in some kind of suspension by Schuler, who (GASP) is actually the Kludde! What does that mean! What does he look like! Up yours, reader, Christina Henry will never tell! Like...no, seriously. We're told that he has terrible eyes, looks darker than shadows, and has giant wings. For all we know, he could be a literal fruitbat. Naturally, a dangerous bloodthirsty cryptid from the Old World needs to monologue. He came from the Old World (we know) to pass on his legacy, and created Crane to torment the Hollow! Commence evil laughter! But Ben wouldn't let his grandfather teach him his ways--like the old man ever offered--and is down diggety to take this guy out once and for all. Because of Ben's inherited powers, the Horseman has been real all along because Ben believed that he was real. I'm surprised Ben didn't try to revive the Horseman's power by closing his eyes, clapping, and shouting, "I do believe in Horsemen! I do believe in Horsemen!" After the fight where the Kludde is defeated somehow (?) Ben becomes the Horseman. Listen... Don't ask me to explain, because I don't know how that works. The system of inheritance for magic is never elaborated upon and never even brought up until this last quarter of the book. We're told to believe all of this, but the narrative never lays down rules for how magic works in this world, or even that it exists in the first place. Monster does not always equal magic. But here, we're supposed to believe that it does and then not question why exactly zero percent of it makes sense. It's more upsetting than the "magic system" in Once Upon A Time, which is basically the Fight Club of magic systems. First rule: don't talk about the magic system. Second rule: you do not talk about the magic system. Third rule: someone yells "Well, hello, pretties!", waves their hand, steals an object, you can't do the same thing to get it back cuz reasons. Fourth rule: True Love is a magic cure-all. I'm so disappointed. Hopes were so high for this book, but it just...crashed and burned and got eaten by Ichabod Crane. Gracious me.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Terry

    I finished this a few days ago, and have been spending some time trying to figure out what I was going to say. When I saw this book first cross my updates on Goodreads, I was immediately drawn to it. Just like many others, I’ve loved The Legend of Sleepy Hollow forever it seems. I remember seeing the animated version every year as a kid, and looking forward to it every time. It was the perfect Halloween tale that never failed to scare and excite me for the season. I didn’t actually read the book I finished this a few days ago, and have been spending some time trying to figure out what I was going to say. When I saw this book first cross my updates on Goodreads, I was immediately drawn to it. Just like many others, I’ve loved The Legend of Sleepy Hollow forever it seems. I remember seeing the animated version every year as a kid, and looking forward to it every time. It was the perfect Halloween tale that never failed to scare and excite me for the season. I didn’t actually read the book until a few years ago, but was just as thrilled with it. So, the idea of a sequel was very exciting. Without really reading anything else about it, I preordered it and patiently waited for the season, and the book to get here. So, did it live up to my high expectations? I think it did. When I started it, I immediately felt the same excitement that I did for the original. The setting, the characters, the storyline, the legend, all felt so familiar, and were just what I was hoping for. I truly connected with Ben Van Brunt, our main character in this tail, as well as Brom and Katrina - they were exactly as I expected them to be. I can’t ask for more than to feel like I’m immersed in the story, like I’m there in the woods right along with our main characters. That’s how I felt the whole time, and for a little while, I was in Sleepy Hollow. And I loved that. Now, is this book without faults? No. Are there parts of the story that were not perfect? Maybe. I’m not going to say that this is a book for everyone or that there are not things that can be picked apart, as many other reviews have. However, for me, it was a great reading experience. I was emotional when I started the book, and even more so when it ended. I for one, loved my time revisiting Sleepy Hollow. If you’re looking for a little more time with the headless horseman of your childhood, then I certainly recommend reading this book. It was the perfect fit for this Halloween season.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Corey Woodcock

    Somewhere between 3-3.5/5. I’ll call it 7/11 stars just to make things more complicated and difficult for myself. Horseman is part sequel, part “reimagining”, of Washington Irving’s classic story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It takes place about 30 years after the events of that story and contains many of the original characters. The main character is Ben Van Brunt, a transgender boy, grandson of Katrina Van Tassel and Brom Bones. Ben and his buddy Sander like to play “Sleepy Hollow Boys Somewhere between 3-3.5/5. I’ll call it 7/11 stars just to make things more complicated and difficult for myself. Horseman is part sequel, part “reimagining”, of Washington Irving’s classic story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It takes place about 30 years after the events of that story and contains many of the original characters. The main character is Ben Van Brunt, a transgender boy, grandson of Katrina Van Tassel and Brom Bones. Ben and his buddy Sander like to play “Sleepy Hollow Boys” in the woods outside of town, where they reenact the events of thirty years earlier. Until one day a local boy is found dead; missing his head and his hands. This begins the story…is the Headless Horseman back? Was he real to begin with after all? And just what the hell is in those woods? There is a lot that I really enjoyed about this book. First off - the pacing is spot on. The book moves really quickly, and doesn’t necessarily sacrifice character development. Ben’s struggle with gender identity, his relationship with his grandparents Brom and Katrina, and the characters of Brom and Katrina themselves are all done pretty well. No, it’s not the character building you’re going to get in a 700 page book from someone like Stephen King, but for what this book is, and it’s size, I’d say it’s pretty well done. They’re also all pretty likable, despite a few characters feeling a bit cookie cutter. The horror elements in the book aren’t as consistent. There are some parts of the book that are genuinely creepy, with good descriptions and builds. There are some other aspects of the horror that didn’t work as well for me, even to the level of being a bit over the top and cheesy. The dialogue also has some moments that just aren’t very believable. Unfortunately the book does contain a bit too much of: Bad guy: “I am the evil demon guy! Here are my reasons for being so evil laid out conveniently for you! Bwahahaha!” Good guy: “Oh yeah? Well I am on the side of good, and here is why I shall defeat you and your evil minions!” Bad guy: “Nooooooooooooo!!!!!!” That’s not to say the whole book is like this; it’s not, but it does have a few moments that made me roll my eyes. I myself can be a bit jaded at times though so this could ultimately be more on me than the book itself. The social aspects here are done well. Ben’s struggle with gender identity and search for acceptance in a 19th century traditional town is handled with compassion and understanding. There’s no doubt the author was making a statement here, and I think she did it well. She doesn’t beat you over the head with it, but it comes up enough to make a point. And to that I say, bravo, Christina Henry! Overall, it didn’t knock my socks off, but I did enjoy it and I do plan to check out more of what this author has to offer. It seems she’s written a few reimaginings of classic stories that look interesting. This book never steps on Washington Irving’s toes, and their are plenty of homages to his story throughout. I appreciated the way she portrayed the bewitched, dreamy atmosphere of the town that Irving himself went on (and on, and on, and on, and on, and on) about. Recommended to fans of the original story as well as fans of these kinds of reimaginings in general.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    I have always loved the thought of and characters in Sleepy Hollow. Christina Henry did a marvelous dark retelling of the classic in her new novel Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow. By integrating characters that you will know with ones that you haven’t been introduced to yet, Henry continues the suspense building in the not so Sleepy Hollow town. My favorite by far is Henry choosing to make Ben, her 14 year old protagonist in this novel, carefree, rambunctious, rough and tumble, all mud covered I have always loved the thought of and characters in Sleepy Hollow. Christina Henry did a marvelous dark retelling of the classic in her new novel Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow. By integrating characters that you will know with ones that you haven’t been introduced to yet, Henry continues the suspense building in the not so Sleepy Hollow town. My favorite by far is Henry choosing to make Ben, her 14 year old protagonist in this novel, carefree, rambunctious, rough and tumble, all mud covered and scraped up typical boy, a girl who has always felt she was a boy. Talk about bringing the hollow up to modern speed. Whoa! And it works so well with this telling! All I could hear was the TH-THUMP, TH-THUMP, TH-THUMP of my heart racing as I was turning pages… or was that the Horseman I heard?! I’m sure you all know the classic… but wait until you see where the Horseman came from!! And how she ends it!! Ahhh!! I can’t say much more because I don’t want to ruin the experience for you, but needless to say… This is one you HAVE to read!! Thank you so much to #NetGalley, #BerkleyPublishing and of course, the talented tale twister herself, Christina Henry for providing me with an electronic ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. You can find my reviews at http://www.oceansofbooks.com and please feel free to leave a comment there or here. Tell me what you thought of this twisted retelling. Say hi or recommend a great read to me. Books are meant to be shared! Enjoy reading this one my friends!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Juli

    Prequels, sequels, retellings.....most of the time they are hit or miss for me. I've had a few revisits to classic stories that I loved, but most are just disappointing, to be honest. I decided to take a chance on this sequel to Washington Irving's Legend of Sleepy Hollow because the premise really sounded interesting. It was a good decision -- I really enjoyed this story! The Basics: 20 years have passed since Ichabod Crane disappeared from Sleepy Hollow. Brom Bones married Katrina Van Tassel a Prequels, sequels, retellings.....most of the time they are hit or miss for me. I've had a few revisits to classic stories that I loved, but most are just disappointing, to be honest. I decided to take a chance on this sequel to Washington Irving's Legend of Sleepy Hollow because the premise really sounded interesting. It was a good decision -- I really enjoyed this story! The Basics: 20 years have passed since Ichabod Crane disappeared from Sleepy Hollow. Brom Bones married Katrina Van Tassel and life went on. Strange things happen in the woods around the little village though. Bente Van Brunt, Brom's grandchild, ignores the legend, except for running through the woods with his friends playing Sleepy Hollow Boys. Bente - who prefers to be called Ben - just wants to be like Brom. Then one day, while running around in the woods, the boys find the body of a child....and the head is missing. Is the Horseman back? Or is there another evil lurking the woods around Sleepy Hollow? I loved Ben as a character. Born a girl, but a boy at heart, Ben struggles to make his grandmother understand him...and to become the person he wants to be. Brom is larger than life, of course, just like in the original story. This tale is definitely written for a YA audience, but at 50+ I enjoyed it, too! It was interesting to revisit the story and characters from Irving's tale....this time with a real supernatural feel to it. Definitely a great book to read (or listen to) during Halloween season! It fit right into my spooky reads for October! The audio book is almost 9 hours long, and narrated by Em Grosland. Grosland does a great job of voice acting. She brings the story to life! I got about halfway through my digital ARC of this book and realized I wanted the audio book -- I love listening to spooky stories! And this one had enough supernatural events and suspense that I knew it would be a superb audio book! Bought the audio the minute the book released! So, although at first I was a bit skeptical that anyone could do the original story justice, Christina Henry took the feel of the original and made it her own. Loved it! Now that I've read this book, I want to read Henry's story Captain Hook! And she has a story based on Alice in Wonderland, too! I obviously have a lot of reading to do! Yay! Full stars from me -- this story is spooky and very entertaining! This would make an awesome movie! *hint hint* And the book cover art is AWESOME! **I voluntarily read a review copy (and bought/listened to the audio book) of this story from Berkley Publishing. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

  18. 5 out of 5

    K Marcu

    3.5 stars The initial storyline captured me, then there were weird instances, like a kid sees blood & guts & is all ‘I’d like to eat before I explain anything’ wtf? Yeah, so the lack of true emotional capture by the protagonist had me at a meh moment. The ending was weird. So it just wasn’t my cuppa tea.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Erin Clemence

    I am a huge fan of remade fairy tales/urban legends, the spookier the better, and “Horseman” by Christina Henry was everything I hoped for! The legend in Sleepy Hollow tells of the Headless Horseman, who peruses the woods late at night trying to take the heads of the citizens. But Ben Van Brunt’s grandfather, and most of the townspeople, believe it only to be urban legend- although they all stay out of the woods just to be safe. Ben, now fourteen, loves to play in the woods with his best friend, I am a huge fan of remade fairy tales/urban legends, the spookier the better, and “Horseman” by Christina Henry was everything I hoped for! The legend in Sleepy Hollow tells of the Headless Horseman, who peruses the woods late at night trying to take the heads of the citizens. But Ben Van Brunt’s grandfather, and most of the townspeople, believe it only to be urban legend- although they all stay out of the woods just to be safe. Ben, now fourteen, loves to play in the woods with his best friend, Sander, pretending to run and hide from the Horseman. But one night in Sleepy Hollow, everything changes, as a young boy is found dead. Then another. Their heads and hands are town off, and their bodies appear to be decomposing faster than normal. Ben knows who did it- he saw the shadow figure in the woods- but he knows no one will believe him. After all, the Horseman is just an urban legend. Right? Henry is a new author for me, and when “Horseman” came ambling through my Goodreads feed one day, it instantly attracted my attention. The dark, eerie town of Sleepy Hollow, with its creepy forests full of secrets and monsters was the perfect setting for this grisly adventure and was brought to life completely by Henry’s ingenuity. Ichabod Crane makes an appearance as well as the Horseman (of course), and I loved being reunited with these two spooky characters! Ben is an honest and upfront young adult, full of angst and self-doubt, brought up as a boy and longing to avoid the responsibilities of being a young, respectable female of marrying age. Henry makes Ben’s gender part of who he is, without making it a social issue, and she portrays him in every way as a young boy. His relationship with the Horseman is spooky and uncomfortable (in the best way). I couldn’t wait to find out how the novel ended and, as expected, it packed one heck of a punch! “Horseman” is well-crafted, creative and spooky. The novel flows well, and each chapter is more addicting than the last, with a twist on nearly every page. “Horseman” is the perfect October spooky read, and it pays homage to Washington Irving’s original story in a modern and respectable way. I am instantly requesting more of Henry’s novels, and will no longer miss one of her fairy tale retellings!

  20. 4 out of 5

    CYIReadBooks (Claire)

    Horseman is the first novel that I’ve read from Christina Henry. Based on the blurb and the novel’s description, I was excited to start reading the book. The cover is creepy and mysterious enough to pique any reader’s interest. But like most things, you can’t judge a book by its cover. Not to say that I didn’t like the book. I did like it, but I didn’t jump out of my seat or had sleepless nights while reading it. I probably just expected a lot more than a bad dream kind of novel. No doubt the cha Horseman is the first novel that I’ve read from Christina Henry. Based on the blurb and the novel’s description, I was excited to start reading the book. The cover is creepy and mysterious enough to pique any reader’s interest. But like most things, you can’t judge a book by its cover. Not to say that I didn’t like the book. I did like it, but I didn’t jump out of my seat or had sleepless nights while reading it. I probably just expected a lot more than a bad dream kind of novel. No doubt the characters are developed. But I’m not sure if a Dutch-based town was an appropriate setting for a novel as dark as Horseman. Perhaps my reluctance on having a Dutch town is partially due to my being unfamiliar with pronunciations and the daily vernacular (Oma, Opa, etc.) The storyline flows nicely, with occasional surprises sprinkled throughout. But there weren’t enough surprises in my opinion to get that “unputdownable” vibe. Three likable stars. I received a digital ARC from Berkley Publishing Group through NetGalley. The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Will Wilson

    Just the worst . This read like bad YA fan fiction . The author spent way to much time focusing on ben’s gender issues and not enough time actually building on sleepy hollow. I frankly wish I had never read this .

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    3.5 Stars  As a huge fan of Christina Henry, I was incredibly excited to read her newest release.  The best aspect of this novel for me was the main character. Specifically I loved the trans representation. While not an own voices story, I can never get enough queer horror and this is a kind of diversity that seems to be particularly underserved by the genre. I have always praised Christina Henry as an amazing storyteller, but I did not find this one to be her strongest narrative. I absolutely love 3.5 Stars  As a huge fan of Christina Henry, I was incredibly excited to read her newest release.  The best aspect of this novel for me was the main character. Specifically I loved the trans representation. While not an own voices story, I can never get enough queer horror and this is a kind of diversity that seems to be particularly underserved by the genre. I have always praised Christina Henry as an amazing storyteller, but I did not find this one to be her strongest narrative. I absolutely loved the premise, but the actual story did not resonate with me. I just struggled to become fully immersed in the mystery.  Unlike her other retellings, I feel that readers should read the original story in order to fully appreciate this one. That is partially because this novel is not exactly a retelling but something a little different (which I don't want to spoil). The novel begins with a brief overview of the narrative, but it was not enough to replace understanding the nuances of the tale.  Usually retellings modernize the story, but this one is still in the past. For this reason, it read more like the original classic than I expected. I often struggle with the prose in classic fiction,  so it's not surprising that I struggled a bit with the narrative voice. While this one did not completely work for me, I know that this narrative will work better with other readers. I would recommend this one to those that love the original horror classic and love that traditional narrative style. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bill Riggs

    Christina Henry revisits the Legend of Sleepy Hollow in this dark fantasy set 20 years after the occurrences in the original story. Completely enthralling and hard to put down as she explores the legend and delves deeper into the sinister tale. A perfect read for the month of October as the weather cools and the leaves fall.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    Horseman is the haunting sequel to the 1820 novel The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving and takes place two decades after the events that unfolded in the original. We are introduced to 14-year-old trans boy Bente “Ben” Van Brunt, who has been raised by his idiosyncratic grandparents - lively Brom “Bones” Van Brunt and prim Kristina Van Tassel - in the small town of Sleepy Hollow, New York, where gossip and rumour run rife and people are exceedingly closed-minded. He has lived with the Horseman is the haunting sequel to the 1820 novel The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving and takes place two decades after the events that unfolded in the original. We are introduced to 14-year-old trans boy Bente “Ben” Van Brunt, who has been raised by his idiosyncratic grandparents - lively Brom “Bones” Van Brunt and prim Kristina Van Tassel - in the small town of Sleepy Hollow, New York, where gossip and rumour run rife and people are exceedingly closed-minded. He has lived with them on their farm ever since he was orphaned when his parents, Bendix and Fenna, died in suspicious and enigmatic circumstances. Ben and his only friend, Sander, head into the woodland one Autumn day to play a game known as Sleepy Hollow Boys, but they are both a little startled when they witness a group of men they recognise from the village discussing the headless, handless body of a local boy that has just been found. But this isn't the end; it is only the beginning. From that moment on, Ben feels an otherworldly presence following him wherever he ventures, and one day while scanning his grandfather’s fields he catches a fleeting glimpse of a weird creature seemingly sucking blood from a victim. An evil of an altogether different nature. But Ben knows this is not the elusive Horseman who has been the primary focus of folkloric tales in the area for many years because he can both feel and hear his presence. However, unlike others who fear the Headless Horseman, Ben can hear whispers in the woods at the end of a forbidden path, and he has visions of the Horseman who says he is there to protect him. Ben soon discovers connections between the recent murders and the death of his parents and realises he has been shaded from the truth about them his whole life. Thus begins a journey to unravel the mystery and establish his identity in the process. This is an enthralling and compulsively readable piece of horror fiction building on Irvings’ solid ground. Evoking such feelings as horror, terror, dread and claustrophobic oppressiveness, this tale invites you to immerse yourself in its sinister, creepy and disturbing narrative. The staggering beauty of the remote village location is juxtaposed with the darkness of the demons and devilish spirits that lurk there, and the village residents aren't exactly welcoming to outsiders or accepting of anyone different from their norm. What I love the most is that it is subtle and full of nuance, instead of the usual cheap thrills with which the genre is often pervaded, meaning the feeling of sheer panic creeps up on you when you least expect, and you come to the sudden realisation that the story has managed to get under your skin, into your psyche and even into your dreams (or should that be nightmares?) Published at a time when the nights are closing in and the light diminishes ever more rapidly, not to mention with Halloween around the corner, this is the perfect autumnal read for the spooky season full of both supernatural and real-world horrors. It begins innocuously enough to lull you into a false sense of security but soon becomes bleak and hauntingly atmospheric as well as frightening before descending into true nightmare-inducing territory. A chilling and eerie romp, and a story full of superstition, secrets, folklore and old wives’ tales and with messages about love, loss, belonging, family, grief, being unapologetically you and becoming more accepting and tolerant of those who are different. Highly recommended.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sarah B

    Wow... What a story! The ending was a total surprise and not what I had expected at all yet it was perfect! This story is certainly creepy! It's perfect for Halloween and it certainly builds on the original story of the Headless Horseman - but you certainly don't need to read that to enjoy this one. I vaguely remember seeing some animated version of the original when I was a kid (and huge shock maybe but I hadn't cared for it at all) but this...this I absolutely loved! It brings more heart into Wow... What a story! The ending was a total surprise and not what I had expected at all yet it was perfect! This story is certainly creepy! It's perfect for Halloween and it certainly builds on the original story of the Headless Horseman - but you certainly don't need to read that to enjoy this one. I vaguely remember seeing some animated version of the original when I was a kid (and huge shock maybe but I hadn't cared for it at all) but this...this I absolutely loved! It brings more heart into the story. More feeling. Deeper... Passions? And no I don't mean the hanky-panky kind of passion. There are other kinds! Anyway reading this you learn the backstory about Brom and Crane and the original characters. And it's told very well too. And the story now makes more sense to me after I read this, because as a kid it was just a skinny teacher and a scary headless thing riding a horse with a jack-O-lantern... I don't think I had actually understood it? Maybe I had been too young... But magic is real in here. And so are the scary things out in the woods. There is something unique and special about Sleepy Hallow... The people there believe in creatures that go bump in the night. Rumors become fact. But something dark is prowling the woods and people are dying... And somehow Ben is involved in it all. The majority of the story is from the viewpoint of 12 year old Ben. I have always enjoyed stories from the viewpoint of children and this one is no different. The writing is excellent with lots of feeling. And there is action and plenty of scares. Ben is also very much at home in the woods even though that is where the danger lurks. Read this whole thing in less than a day as it was very thrilling! I must say this story kept surprising me over and over. And at no point did it disappoint me. And just when I was sure exactly how things were going to end - it actually did another huge twist and then the actual end was even better! So I am very happy! And yes, this is definitely a horse story! I wasn't too sure if it would be - because it is scary and horror you know - but it is definitely a horse story at heart. And it's something I can relate to at the end too. And so that's why it's perfect. And shall I mention the horse on the cover? Brilliant!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dan Myatt

    Excellent continuation of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Years have past and there are still mutterings about the headless horseman but in the woods something far worse is waiting and watching..... A great story, that had me hooked the whole way through.

  27. 5 out of 5

    VICKI HERBERT

    The Battle of the Two Plots... No spoilers. 2 stars. I fully expected to like this story after reading this author's NEAR THE BONE but this just didn't do it for me... Instead of rehashing the storyline, since many have already done so adequately, I'm going to jump right into what I found to be a problem with this story... I personally found it to be too much work to stay immersed in the plot when the 14 year old transgender main character was on about her sexual identity issues... Her name is Bente The Battle of the Two Plots... No spoilers. 2 stars. I fully expected to like this story after reading this author's NEAR THE BONE but this just didn't do it for me... Instead of rehashing the storyline, since many have already done so adequately, I'm going to jump right into what I found to be a problem with this story... I personally found it to be too much work to stay immersed in the plot when the 14 year old transgender main character was on about her sexual identity issues... Her name is Bente but she wants to be called Ben and she wants everyone else in the village to refer to her as he or him and boy not girl... ... This is where the author has a problem because the story takes place in the early 1800s when people weren't as tolerant as they are today... ... and the dialog, as well as the town and grandparents' reactions to Ben, just didn't ring true... and her spoiled, rude demands were also of today not yesteryear... ... at times I had to remind myself that this was a horror story... ... and not the story of a transgender teen's journey to find herself... the sexual identity subplot kept getting in the way of the horror... ... as Ben continually reminds the reader, especially in Part 1, that she is a boy and she is fearless. Ben's dialog never seems to move beyond those two issues... ... I would've found it easier not to be pulled out of the story if the author had simply chosen to write about either a boy or a girl... So I'm sorry to bring this party down but if you're looking for a tale of the struggles of a transgender teen trying to find her place in the world, this story might be a good pick for you but if you're looking for a good Halloween story, the battle of the two plots might ruin it for you as it did for me.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Irene

    DNF @30% While it was nice to visit with Bram and Katrina after all these years the narrative of their grandchild is slow and draggy. Too much telling, not enough showing. I'm not convinced any horror reader would consider this to be "terrifying" as claimed. DNF @30% While it was nice to visit with Bram and Katrina after all these years the narrative of their grandchild is slow and draggy. Too much telling, not enough showing. I'm not convinced any horror reader would consider this to be "terrifying" as claimed.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Wren (fablesandwren)

    Thank you Net Galley and Berkley Publishing Group for an advanced ebook of this creepy tale! I picked this book up because one of my favorite horror authors is Christina Henry, and that is me rarely diving into the genre and randomly picking up her Alice duology once. I don't even remember much about the book, but I remember loving it and rereading parts that creeped me out so much. I wouldn't say this book is a retelling, but more of a continuation of the original Sleepy Hollow story. This start Thank you Net Galley and Berkley Publishing Group for an advanced ebook of this creepy tale! I picked this book up because one of my favorite horror authors is Christina Henry, and that is me rarely diving into the genre and randomly picking up her Alice duology once. I don't even remember much about the book, but I remember loving it and rereading parts that creeped me out so much. I wouldn't say this book is a retelling, but more of a continuation of the original Sleepy Hollow story. This starts 20 years after, in the same town with no believers. Our main voice is a relative of someone who was there when the legend was born, but doesn't put a lot of stock into it. Until he and a friend comes across a headless child. They start to wonder if something is still lurking in their woods. I loved the atmosphere of this book! There were hints of magic, but in the way of "we don't talk about such things" but everyone know of 'such things," which is what made it super creepy. The characters were memorable and the story was fantastic. There were some slow parts here and there, but over all Christina is still an author I go to when I want the living daylights scared out of me! Highly recommend.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)

    Sleepy Hollow hasn’t changed much in the twenty years since the Horseman chased Ichabod Crane across the bridge and out of town. Brom Bones still smirks anytime someone mentions the old legend. Brom once had his happily ever after: he married Katrina van Tassel after Crane disappeared, their farm made them the wealthiest family in the Hollow, and they had a son and eventually a grandchild. Unfortunately they lost their son and daughter-in-law and are raising fourteen-year-old Bente (who identifi Sleepy Hollow hasn’t changed much in the twenty years since the Horseman chased Ichabod Crane across the bridge and out of town. Brom Bones still smirks anytime someone mentions the old legend. Brom once had his happily ever after: he married Katrina van Tassel after Crane disappeared, their farm made them the wealthiest family in the Hollow, and they had a son and eventually a grandchild. Unfortunately they lost their son and daughter-in-law and are raising fourteen-year-old Bente (who identifies as a boy and prefers to be called Ben). Brom and Katrina are still grieving the loss of their son and Katrina takes it especially hard that Bente will not become the well-mannered lady she hoped for, causing strain between the two. However, Ben adores Brom and spends time reenacting his adventures with a friend in the woods. When the friends stumble on the body of a headless child in the woods, Ben is certain that the legend of the Horseman is real …and maybe something even more sinister haunts the woods too. I adore The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. I re-read the story every fall and love re-watching the Disney cartoon! It just feels like the perfect Halloween season read and gets me excited for all things spooky. Christina Henry has taken the well-loved classic and instead of giving readers a retelling, she has expanded on the legend to consider what happened to Brom and Katrina years after Ichabod Crane’s disappearance. It is atmospheric, mysterious, and entirely worthy of being a companion story to the classic in my opinion! I love that woven into the threads of a gothic mystery, Henry gives readers the tale of a loving family, acceptance, and the lengths we’ll go to in order to protect those we love. Horseman is an incredible read that fills me with spine-tingling anticipation for Halloween! Thanks to Berkley Books and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow is scheduled for release on September 28, 2021. For more reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com

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