Born in Berthier, Québec, Léo-Paul Desrosiers (1896-1967) was educated in the classical college at Joliette and studied law at the University of Montreal. After a career as a journalist with Le Devoir, he served as the French editor of the Proceedings and Orders of the House of Commons. In 1941, he was appointed librarian of the Montreal Municipal Library, from which he retired in 1953, spending his winters in the Laurentians and his summers in the Gaspé until his death in 1967.
Desrosiers was a member of both l’Académie Canadienne-Française and the Royal Society of Canada. He won the Prix D’Action Intellectuelles for Ames et Paysages, a collection of stories about the countryside in Québec, and the Prix David for Les Engagés du Grand Portage (The Making of Nicolas Montour). His first novel, Nord-Sud, was honoured by the French Academy.
Although Desrosiers was a versatile writer, including short stories, contemporary novels, biographical novels, prose-poetry, and religious novels in his repertoire, he is known primarily for his historical novels, which are exceedingly well documented and historically accurate. But they are also alive and vivid, written with strength and precision, for Desrosiers was at the same time a historian and story-teller. He liked to imagine a fictitious intrigue, placing it in a true setting, minutely verifying all details. Desrosiers is undoubtedly the master of historical fiction in French Canada.