In 1920 Julia Robertson is a young, beautiful war widow, aware
of the radical new ideas bursting into the settled thinking of
post-Victorian Canada. That new thinking, about the human
unconscious through Freud and Jung, about sexual frankness, about
women as well as skepticism about religion, shaped the emerging
20th century world and infused modern painting, music, and
Julia struggles with her conscience over the man she most trusts
when she is passionately infatuated with another, an Englishman. He
leads her into the orbit of the young and charming Prince of Wales.
Leaving behind the stuffy world of Halifax, she goes to London and
Paris and then the South of France where she renews her close
friendship with one of the great Canadian painters of the period,
J.W. Morrice. She becomes part of Morrice''s circle of artists and
admirers, among them Henri Matisse, who was Morrice''s close
friend. Ultimately Julia has to resolve a dilemma that dramatically
tests all her progressive ideas.
With this novel Robert MacNeil returns to a character who first
appears in his bestselling novel set at the time of the Halifax
Explosion, Burden of Desire. "Julia''s appetite for life
and her bold embrace of the modern world was so vivid to me that I
had to follow her life into the postwar world," says MacNeil. The
result is a fascinating account of a young woman in the midst of a
world in transformation.