Lost Girls, by Ellen Birkett Morris, first pulled me in with the title. Then, the cover image of a barefoot girl balancing on the track of the railroad, which is also known as the “permanent way,” got me curious. Where is she going? She seems naïve: no shoes, no protection. Yet, she’s on that structure consisting of the rails, fasteners, and railroad ties. It’s a dependable surface for trains; why not for her? If this girl is lost, maybe I need to follow her. She’s lively, carefree with a sense of adventure, perched on the rail in her Sunday-best red polka-dot dress. Where will she take you?
This collection of seventeen short stories celebrates women of all ages for their resilience, determination and fortitude. Each story is unique as you meet backwoods girls with unfamiliar challenges or small-town girls with secrets never to be revealed. You’ll revisit the pain of adolescence and the first time you learned that people don’t all follow the rules. You are invited to peek into intimate girlhood friendships, women dealing with childhood fears, singleness, childlessness, aging, grief, and betrayal.
Would you be naïve yet smart enough to take a warning and brave enough to leave? In one story, I connected with the thirteen-year-old late bloomer who learns about lies and deceit as a bond of trust is broken. In another, you can judge for yourself if it’s alright to live for the moment and appreciate it for all it’s worth. You will meet sisters struggling to make life work after losing their mother and distraught mothers leaving girls to figure it out for themselves.
You’ll recognize yourself, a friend, a cousin, or perhaps a stranger, and come away reminded of our innocence and our soul. You will be inspired as each girl or woman finds her own strength, just like the girl balancing on the rail of the permanent way. Isn’t life just like that? A balance of stability, a search for permanence in relationships? I recommend that you read Lost Girls. These stories will capture you.