• Horseman

  • A Tale of Sleepy Hollow
  • By: Christina Henry
  • Narrated by: Em Grosland
  • Length: 8 hrs and 45 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (121 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 30 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?

©2021 Christina Henry (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“Fans of gothic horror will be eager to follow Ben into the woods.” (Booklist)

"With visceral visions of nightmares, creepy prose and a pace as fast as the rush of horses’ hooves, Henry’s take on Irving’s classic story is a one-sitting read, a chilling romp into the forest that will remind readers that sometimes the scariest monster in the room is human nature." (BookPage)

What listeners say about Horseman

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Misleading Description

I have alot I'd like to say about this book, but I'll do my best to keep it short. For context, just know that I am a Sleepy Hollow junkie. I read the original story every year, I watch the adaptations, and my wife and I try to make it to Sleepy Hollow / Tarrytown, NY every autumn. I love the history and folklore of the area, and the fictional world Washington Irving created, and I was very interested to see how someone else would play in that sandbox... Having read it, it's a really mixed bag.

There are some really good concepts and moments here, some fun twists, and a solid fleshing out of characters and relationships only teased at in the original story. I liked those aspects alot. But then there's another side to this story, a side the publisher's description and marketing blurbs deliberately leave out... This story is the most overbearing, heavy handed, in-your-face Trans-Identity agenda piece I've ever seen. It's not subtle, and it's not realistic, especially given the time period it takes place in and how it plays out. This was really clunky, and unneeded, and not only didn't serve the story, but held it back; constantly retreading the same ground, and repeating the same lines verbatim again and again.

Ultimately it has it's moments where it shines, but it's also woven so heavily with the author's trans-propaganda it doesn't feel fun at times, but like a lecture from someone with purple or blue hair. The later portion of the book feels very sloppy to me, especially compared to the more tightly constructed first half. It feels like it has three different endings, and I kept thinking, "oh, there's more?"

And without saying too much, what the author does to the legendary Headless Horseman Washington Irving created is absolutely shameful. A complete slap in the face to one of the most famous ghosts in literature in an effort to earn woke points.

16 people found this helpful

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Story ruined

Story ruined by heavy-handed preaching of transgender movement. Thought this story would focus on the headless horseman not a girl wanted to be a boy.

2 people found this helpful

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slow but good ending

I really enjoyed the 3rd act of this book. The first 2 were really slow. Some things that could have been left out all together and not have changed the story at all. This book does do a good job at making you care about the characters. The climax of this book had me sobbing. It really makes you feel the characters loss and grief. I give this book a 3.7 stars. Any fan of sleepy hollow should give this book a chance.

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Perfect for Halloween

A fun, atmospheric, tale with a plucky protagonist. Not a retelling of Sleepy Hollow but using that story as a jumping off point into a completely different story.

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A Horror Story Wrapped up in a Mystery

If you like a good scare, read this book. If you like a good mystery, read this book. If you like surprise twists, you know the drill. It's a great story. Give it a try.

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A unique retelling with a saccharine ending

I really wanted to like this story and I did for about 75% of the book. However, When our protagonist started to fight the big bad of the tale, the dialogue became long-winded and was super-cliched for me. There was literally a Darth Vader - esque “Nooooooooo!” uttered by a villain. I was disappointed because I loved Henry’s book Lost Boys.

On the plus side, this narrator does a lovely job of telling a trans person’s story with authenticity and sincerity. Read it for their telling of Ben’s story if nothing else.

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Fun Ride

So, I finished my #SpookyReads for October with Horseman by Christina Henry. I absolutely loved the reinvention of this tale. Without giving anything away, I will say the new take on this beloved ghost story was so creatively conceived and so perfectly brought to life through Henry's really exceptional writing talent, that I have to give this book high praise. She really creates the spookiest atmosphere and a very endearing young protagonist in Bente. I found myself dreading every time that kid went into the woods. The book also starts off with a (fairly shocking and gruesome) bang and pretty much maintains it's suspenseful momentum to almost the end. I also give high praise to the author for weaving the gender identity theme into the story with deft but bold hands. I applaud that Bente's identification as a boy/a grandson was not just nudged out into the open but was firmly placed on the table of this tale as a component worthy of such attention. You just do not see that happen in fiction that is not specifically written for that intent! My only tiny critique would be at the end I sort of felt like the author fell into the trap of "explaining" a bit (how the villain came to be and why, etc.) I see that so often in ghost stories and it's unnecessary and even a bit boring. It was not so prolonged or overt that I didn't enjoy the book but it was enough that there was noticeable pause in my compulsive reading right at the very end. I still highly recommend this book. It's creative. It's fun. And, it's so awesome to see a character exploring their gender as part of the story. Huge kudos to Henry on that.

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Thoroughly enjoy this

Couldn't wait to get in my car every day and see where the story was going

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  • C Frost
  • 01-08-22

Started great… didn’t really go anywhere

I enjoyed the narration and the characters, but the storyline lost momentum for me. About 2/3 of the way through I was losing interest. I found the ending disappointing, and I’m not really sure what point the author was trying to make on certain issues (if at all) such as transgenderism / gender nonconformity, family expectations, love, women’s independence. She sort of introduced these ideas but never really went anywhere with them. I preferred her other book, The Girl in Red, although that fell flat at the end too.

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