Love, war and hope fuel the author’s debut book


PORT TOWNSEND — Former Peninsula Daily News reporter and columnist Diane Urbani de la Paz has released ‘All My Love: A Story of War and Hope’, her first book.

A work of literary non-fiction, “All My Love” begins with the discovery of the letters the late Donovan Lusk wrote to his fiancée and then to his wife, Anne, during World War II. He signed almost all of these letters with “All my love, Don”.

The book follows the romance and wartime marriage of Anne and Don.

It also travels, from Urbani de la Paz’s perspective, to the places where Don served: France during General George Patton’s Lorraine campaign and Luxembourg during the Battle of the Bulge.

History descends below the decks of the Queen Mary, the troopship that ferried Don and 15,000 other troops from New York Harbor to England in the summer of 1944.

He visits a military hospital outside Liverpool, to which Don was evacuated on New Years Day 1945. And he visits Percy Jones Hospital, the fortress-like facility in Battle Creek, Michigan, where Anne worked and saw thousands of men injured.

Since this book is a parallel love story, it also takes readers to Port Angeles, where Urbani de la Paz met Anne and Don’s son, Phil Lusk.

The two had their first date in 2012, married in 2014 and embarked on trips to Europe in 2017 and 2018, when they researched Don’s wartime.

They also toured the 107-year-old farm where Anne, daughter of Finnish immigrants, grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula; they then traveled to Long Beach, California, where the Queen Mary is docked.

At 20, Don had enrolled in the Army’s specialized training program to become an engineer working far behind the front lines. But the Allied forces suffered heavy losses during the invasion of Normandy and French Lorraine. Infantry replacements were badly needed, so Don went to the battlefield.

He witnessed some of the worst fighting of the war.

“Something kept him going: the letters he wrote to Anne,” Urbani de la Paz said.

These letters did not speak of what he saw in combat. Instead, Don dreamed, in his cursive handwriting, of the future they would have together.

“It was a story I had to tell,” Urbani de la Paz said. “For me, it’s about the power of letters, love and hope in the dark.”

“All My Love” is available in paperback from Port Book and News, 104 E. First St., Port Angeles, Imprint Bookstore, 820 Water St., Port Townsend, and from the author. To order a copy, contact one of the bookstores or email Urbani de la Paz at [email protected]

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Diane Urbani de la Paz, a former journalist and columnist for the Peninsula Daily News, continues to live in Port Townsend while pursuing other roles.

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