The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

Standalone Book - No Series

In the secluded Dutch territory of Sleepy Hollow, nebbish schoolmaster Ichabod Crane competes with the town hero for the hand of Katrina Van Tassel, the 18-year-old daughter and sole child of a wealthy farmer. As Crane leaves a party at the Van Tassel's farm one autumn evening, he is pursued by the Headless Horseman, an apparition said to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper snuffed out by a stray cannonball during the Revolutionary War.

“If ever I should wish for a retreat whither I might steal from the world and its distractions, and dream quietly away the remnant of a troubled life, I know of none more promising than this little valley.”

Let's get the rotten parts out of the way first - the story has flaws. Painful to admit, but it's long-winded and rambling, too much focus and writing concentrates on irrelevant scenes and parts and character trails, drawing out the wrong things. Sometimes it's for clarity, at times for snuck-in humor, but just maybe it was either because the author was writing without pre-planning or trying to pad. Irregardless, pacing is inconsistent besides the strong beginning and unforgettable ending, so sometimes the attention wilts.

But really who cares, because this is the epic 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow'.

Where else do you get the inventions of wicked trails in foggy forests with undead Pumpkinheaded legends on top of black, hell-driven steeds? Small town with a small-minded but lovable schoolmarm with a name as cool as Ichabod Crane. Yes that may be an insult of a name now if invented in these modern times, but associated with the story and our memories it's now considered a groovy name.

I like the additions to the story that have come over through the years in cinema form -- I'm actually a fan of the Johnny Depp comedy version, even if reviews were mixed on the Burton production. I think it's my favorite version, but all that aside, the book is beautifully written in a flowing style and humorous with character description.

I'm not an Audiobook fan, but this one worked well with the voice of the actor from the show, Sleepy Hollow, Tom Mison. His voice suited the story perfectly, and I enjoyed the music at the beginning and conclusion.

Recommended for all.

Book Quotes

“and he would have passed a pleasant life of it, in despite of the Devil and all his works, if his path had not been crossed by a being that causes more perplexity to mortal man than ghosts, goblins, and the whole race of witches put together, and that was—a woman.”

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