Girls From the County – Donna Lynch

If ghosts exist, perhaps this is how it happens. The marks of things that happen in a place never really go away, nor do the pieces of us we leave there.

Girls From the County explores dark truths: personal stories and those of young women the author grew up with, as well as rural legends and folklore. It’s about trauma and the illusion of safety. Given the subject matter, this was at times a difficult read.

I had a number of favourite poems but my top five were Drag, Plot, Girls From the County, Education, and Thirty-two Years (Eighteen Years Reprise).

The one that’s probably going to stay with me the longest, though, is Grave. While it’s the shortest poem in the collection, it certainly packs a punch.

She grew up and became a mortician

so that when he finally died

she could make sure.

Content warnings include mention of addiction, death by suicide, mental health, murder, sexual assault and trauma.

Thank you so much to Raw Dog Screaming Press for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

This book is merely a record of dark events, the kind that you can sometimes move on from, yet can’t help but see in every old house, high school, or crumbling bridge.

In the county, eerie stillness can be mistaken for stagnation. In the county, rumination on pain and guilt can be confused with omens and curses. In the county, feelings of claustrophobia stem from understanding what the encroaching darkness brings with it.

You’ve heard of country girls, and city girls, but what of the forgotten girls from the in-between space of the county? Confronting the things too wild for urban areas, and too methodically malevolent for the countryside, girls from the county are often dismissed by popular narratives, left to solve riddles of grief and rage for themselves.

Known for weaving folk horror with confessional poetry, unflinching true crime approaches with myth and fable, contemporary appetites with gothic literature, award-winning author Donna Lynch has composed a lyrical reconstruction for readers to navigate the lives – and deaths – of girls from the county.