There is a lot to like in J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults, and except for a tendency to capture the nuance of character in a charming way, little that will remind you of the Harry Potter series.
A casual vacancy is what happens when a council member passes away, leaving a seat vacant. This is what happens at the beginning of the novel. A seat becomes vacant on the town council of Pagford, a charming little village in England that is just as much a political hotbed as London itself would be. You see, many years ago adjacent to Pagford they built an estate called The Fields, low income housing that tended to attract the long-term unemployed and drug addicts who used the local methadone clinic. Residents of Pagford fell into two categories, those who believed they had some responsibility and belief in The Fields, and those who want to sever all ties.
The adults in the town scramble for the seat, each with their own agenda in regards to The Fields, while the teenagers are living their own secret lives, harbouring malices and in possession of secrets about those who want to stand. And those malices are about to come to a head.
Both quaint and serious, I hope Rowling finds a whole new readership with this novel.