In 1820, author Washington Irving published a short story called “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” which is still an American classic to this very day.
If you do the math, you’ll see that this story is almost two hundred years old. So, why do some stories continue to be popular generation after generation? Well, aside from Irving being one of the first authors to make it BIG in 19th Century America, so big, in fact, he paved the way for other famous writers, such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and even beloved goth man, Edgar Allan Poe, Irving’s story tells some universal, timeless themes, and here they are in no particular order:
- GHOST STORIES WILL ALWAYS BE COOL – As long as humans have lived on Earth, ghost stories have been around to scare off our knickers. Our fascination with death and what lies beyond is bred from our fear of the unknown, so stories of darkness, things that go bump in the night, and wispy wraiths moaning about unfinished business will always be popular. In “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” the old wives of the town insist that the valley is filled with seen and unseen things, and trust me, you don’t want to mess with the old wives of Sleepy Hollow.
- LOVE TRIANGLES WILL ALWAYS BE COOL – There’s just something about throwing that third wheel into the mix to complicate matters of the heart, and in LOSH, the fair maiden, Katrina Van Tassel, is the center of two hearts’ desires. On one hand, her boyfriend, Brom Bones, is tough, strong, and a big guy on campus, but he still hasn’t asked Katrina to marry him. On the other, a charming schoolmaster named Ichabod Crane has just moved to town and has eyes for her, so this could be her big chance to rile up Brom’s jealousy by flirting with Ichabod, spurring Brom into marital action. Though Irving wants you to believe that LOSH is about the unfortunate Ichabod who loses Katrina’s hand to Brom, any woman will tell you that it’s really about one woman’s tricky plan to get her boyfriend to finally propose. Well played, Katrina. Well played.
- THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN WILL ALWAYS BE COOL – He rides a massive black horse named Daredevil, he rises from the ground at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in search of his head after it was shot off by a cannon in the Revolutionary War, and he laughs like a maniac. Admit it, the Headless Horseman is one badass ghost. Too bad LOSH isn’t really about the fallen Hessian trooper. It’s about three characters embroiled in their comical love battle, but the appearance of the Headless Horseman at the end calls forth the open-ended portion of our story. Was it really the legendary ghost who haunted the region? Or was it Brom Bones trying to scare away superstitious Ichabod so he can finally take the fair Katrina to the wedding chapel? Things that make you go hmmmm….
- NERDS VS. TOUGH GUY STORIES WILL ALWAYS BE COOL – Who doesn’t love to watch an underdog geek go up against a brawny athlete? Something about meek vs. mighty reminds us all about being in high school. And middle school. And elementary school. Fine, all throughout life, wits have battled muscle. But spoiler alert: the underdog doesn’t get the girl in this one. That’s right, brains, a fine taste for the arts, and worldly experience aren’t enough to win over the daughter of Sleepy Hollow’s richest farmer, which is a bummer after we’ve rooted for Ichabod. Then again, Mr. Crane wasn’t exactly marrying Katrina for her brains either. No, his eyeballs reflected dollar signs, so this, my friends, ends up being a cautionary tale—never look at another man’s girlfriend, especially if you want her for her money.
- And finally…HALLOWEEN WILL ALWAYS BE COOL – This is no-brainer. Pumpkins, ghosts, spiders, black and orange, classic tales of monsters, vampires, and all things creepy on the wicked eve before All Saints Day will always be awesome! And the holiday was just as fun in the 18th Century!
So, there you have it, folks. What did we learn here today? If you put a nerd up against a tough guy, make three people fall in love when there can only be two, throw in a headless soldier and a few ghosts into the mix, set the story on All Hallow’s Eve, and you’ve got yourself an instant classic for generations to come. Happy Fall Season!
Tragedy has brought Micaela Burgos back to her hometown of Sleepy Hollow. It’s been six years since she chose to live with her affluent father in Miami instead of her history-obsessed eccentric mother. And now her mother is dead.
But while Sleepy Hollow was made immortal by literature, the town is real. So are its prejudices and hatred, targeting Mica’s Cuban family and the secrets of their heritage that her mother obsessed over. But ghostly voices whisper in the wind, questioning whether her mother’s death might not have been an accident after all, and Mica knows there’s a reason she’s here.
With the help of two very different guys—who pull at her heart in very different ways—Micaela must uncover the hidden secret of Sleepy Hollow before she meets her mother’s fate.
Young Adult Paranormal [Entangled Teen, On Sale: August 2, 2016, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781633753518 / ]