Richardson, Dorothy

Dorothy Richardson grew up in Granite City and Belleville, Illinois. Educated at Wellesley, Harvard, and Boston University, she taught literature in Ontario high schools for many years. Now she divides her time between Lewiston (New York) and Berlin (Germany).

For more than a decade, the journals of her great-great grandfather have been transporting her back to her roots in Illinois. The outcome is Secure the Shadow her second novel. Mellen published her first novel, Clara's My Name, in 2001.

Clara's My Name
2002 0-7734-3466-6
"Clara, a resident of the Gateway Retirement Home, thinks her name is a misnomer, for surely her life has been the opposite of "illustrious" or "bright." Yet thanks to friends – pun-loving and poetry-quoting Amelia in particular – Clara's light doesn't stay hidden under a bushel. A lively mystery shimmers on the surface: Who knocks late on Clara's door? Another night visitor follows, foreshadowed in a celebrated Whitman poem."

Secure the Shadow . .
2002 0-7734-3472-0
Secure the Shadow ... ere the Substance Fade (Advertisement of a Daguerreotypist)

Why the stroke of God's hand in the prime of life? Henry Underhill's search for an answer during the summer of 1875 gives the reader the "Life and Times" this Illinois attorney, politician, and Presbyterian elder has become too handicapped to write. Major themes include Illinois politics and law circa 1840-1875, slavery and racism, the role of women, capital punishment, the Civil War, medicine, and Protestantism.

The most important secondary character is Shadrach, Henry's African-American nurse and secretary, who becomes a catalyst for change.

Woven from primary sources, interlaced with jokes and anecdotes, the narration does justice to a protagonist who love both the law and literature.