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Darlene Marshall, author

I write award-winning historical romance about pirates, privateers, smugglers and the occasional possum.

The Casual Vacancy - J.K. Rowling I'm glad I read it, but it's depressing as hell. Small people with desperate lives, NIMBYism, children falling through society's cracks, local politics, this novel has it all.And yet, I found myself engrossed by the characters, good and bad. Krystal in particular, a coarse, foul-mouthed, uneducated teenager shone through the book as someone who at her center had a moral core more privileged characters lacked. It was painful to see the process unfold of how she'd been betrayed by a society that only saw what it wanted to see, or wouldn't look at all.Another character who's better qualities came through dies in the first five pages, so that should be a clue as to what to expect while reading The Casual Vacancy.