Dear Billie: A World War II Love Story by Karen Lundy

 Hello, Billie,

I hope you won’t be too surprised hearing from me. When I came down to Union Station Sunday night, I met Jean Wilcox there. She told me about you and gave me your address. So here I am. I hope you will not mind me writing to you. By the way, Jean is coming up Sunday. How about you coming with her? I would certainly like to meet you. Jean said you were a very nice girl. 

I guess I will have to sign off here. The lights go out in a few minutes. Cheerio for now.

                                                                                                   Vern Ploughman

Dear Billie: A World War II Love Story is an autobiographical piece of non-fiction based on the full text of a series of 92 love letters written by the father of author Karen Lundy. Roland “Vern” Ploughman of Bay Roberts, Newfoundland was just a 19-year-old trooper in the 23rd Armoured Regiment when a friend of a friend, 17-year-old Lillian Alice Wenman a.k.a. “Billie”, became the object of his affection. Though they had never met, Vern was training to be deployed for active duty, when he had become smitten over all the good things he had heard about the blue-eyed brunette that hailed from Ontario, Canada. Having the chance opportunity to meet twice before being shipped overseas, many more letters would follow detailing the young tank gunner’s experience of training, combat, being wounded in Normandy, and eventually returning home. As the letters progressed, and the young couple navigate a long-distance relationship complicated by war, their love for one another flourishes and Vern returns to his sweetheart to be married in 1945. 

“Poignantly written, daughter Karen Lundy presents the beautiful saga of two young teenagers separated by an ocean and a war.”

Poignantly written, daughter Karen Lundy presents the beautiful saga of two young teenagers separated by an ocean and a war. In and of itself, the story is mesmerizing but knowing that the author is presenting the love story of her parents is even more beautiful, and somewhat haunting. Having discovered the stacks of photos and letters amongst her parent’s possessions after Billie’s passing in 2019, Lundy suddenly realized the gift she had been entrusted when she began to transcribe her father’s letters for her family. Her eyes, and indeed those of the readers of this wonderful story, were opened to the possibility that these two remarkable people were more than just her parents; they were two youngsters looking for love, finding solace in the written word as they exchanged intimate details of their hopes, dreams, and fears. The exceptional research and information gathered by Lundy in writing this book help to piece together and make sense of the young soldier’s fight for survival and realistic outlook. It also serves as a historical record of one man’s account of that horrible time in history. Lundy captures and brings to life two wartime lives that may well have been lost had Vern’s letter’s not survived.

Dear Billie: A World War II Love Story is a story of love and loss, fighting and survival. Armchair historians and those who enjoy a great wartime love story would appreciate this well-documented and excellently researched narrative. 

Tell Aunt Gert that I wrote to her a few days ago. And thank her for asking if there is anything I need. Tell her not to send me anything. I don’t mean to be rude, but there is really nothing that I want. There’s one that I would like to have though and that’s you. I guess it would be impossible to send you over here to me though. I sure wish she could though. Do you know, darling, it’s a year since I saw you last. It seems like a lifetime. I can remember when I saw you last, too. It was at Union Station.   

Karen Lundy was born in Toronto, Ontario, but adopted Newfoundland for her home in 1981, living first in Bay Roberts, her father’s hometown, and then Clarke’s Beach, where her two children were raised. She moved to St. John’s in 1999 to attend Memorial University of Newfoundland, where she graduated with a B.A. in history. She continues to live in St. John’s with her husband, Jim. When not writing, she enjoys the many walking and hiking trails Newfoundland offers.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Flanker Press Ltd. (July 8 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 270 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1774570890
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1774570890

 -- Website

Stephanie Collins is a retired school administrator and teacher from Mount Pearl, Newfoundland. A lover of literature and an avid reader, Stephanie loves travelling, outdoor activities, and riding shotgun in her RV or on the back of a motorcycle. Stephanie enjoys writing about her travels, reviewing new titles, and is an aspiring children’s book writer. Her reviews can be found atFireside Collectionsand you can follow her on Twitter @MrsCollinsNL.