Although For the Duration is a work of fiction, the Acadiana area of Louisiana, the little town of Scott and the bi-lingual people are real. The Acadians are descendants of the French who were driven out of Nova Scotia in 1755, some of them reaching southwest Louisiana. During the WWII era, they still maintained their culture and French language. The inspiration for this story stems from a young girl who left this small town and moved to New Orleans to work, contributing to the war efforts. The protagonist's family consists of thirteen children, four of them brothers who are in the service. The loss of lives as well as several events in sub-plots emphasizes the full impact of the war.
Lila, the heroine in For the Duration works for HigginsBoatbuilders, one of the first women hired in 1943. Eager to leave the small town, she urges her father to give her his blessing. While she moves to New Orleans, her high school boyfriend Edwin enlists in the Army. She meets Josh, a fighter pilot from Maryland, at the USO in New Orleans and corresponds with both servicemen as their letters cross the Atlantic.
The second half of the novel moves to the European theater of war. Edwin serves as a translator with the French Resistance, and Josh trains as a fighter pilot on the fields in southern England. The P-51s would protect the bombers on the missions to German factories and cities and eventually participate in what became known as D-Day.
The end of the novel unfolds when the War ends in 1945. The Allies celebrate the victory as they mourn those killed in action. Does Lila return to her hometown?