Born in Montreal, Robert MacNeil grew up in Halifax, attended Dalhousie University and graduated from Carleton in Ottawa. After early work as a CBC announcer, he was a journalist for forty years with Reuters News Agency, NBC News and the BBC, culminating in twenty years as Executive Editor of the MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour on PBS. His bestselling novel, Burden of Desire, won rave reviews in Canada and the U.S. He is also the author of two other novels, The Voyage and Breaking News; three memoirs, The Right Place at the Right Time, Wordstruck, and Looking For My Country; and co-author of The Story of English and its sequel, Do You Speak American? He divides his time between New York and Nova Scotia.
Julia leaves behind the stuffy post-Victorian Halifax for Europe, where she becomes ensnared in the world of the great Canadian painter J.W. Morrice and his circle of artistic friends, including Henri Matisse.