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Richardson, Evelyn 1950- [A pseudonym]

Richardson, Evelyn 1950- [A pseudonym]

(Cynthia Johnson)

PERSONAL: Born October 20, 1950, in Rochester, MN; daughter of Hugh A. (a surgeon) and Madeleine Johnson; married Brian Susnock (an executive). Education: Wellesley College, B.A., 1972; Simmons College, M.L.S., 1973; Northwestern University, M.A., 1977.

ADDRESSES: Home— Lexington, MA. Office— Cary Memorial Library, 1874 Massachusetts Ave., Lexington, MA 02420.

CAREER: Environmental Impact Center, Cambridge, MA, consulting librarian, 1973; Time Museum, Rockford, IL, consulting librarian, 1973; Memorial Hall Library, Andover, MA, reference and young adult librarian, 1973-77; Emmanuel College, Boston, MA, reference librarian, 1980-82, senior assistant director of admissions, 1982-83; Cary Memorial Library, Lexington, MA, reference and young adult librarian, 1983-88, supervisor of reference services, 1989-97, acting assistant director, 1996, head of adult services, 1997-99, assistant director, 1999-2004, head of reference, 2004—. Writer. Member of steering committee, Friends of Wellesley College.

MEMBER: American Library Association, American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies, Romance Writers of America, Lexington Historical Society, Boston Athenaeum.

AWARDS, HONORS: Reviewers’ Choice Award, Romantic Times, 1997, for My Wayward Lady.



The Education of Lady Frances (also see below), New American Library (New York, NY), 1989.

Miss Cresswell’s London Triumph (also see below), New American Library (New York, NY), 1990.

The Nabob’s Ward, New American Library (New York, NY), 1991.

The Bluestocking’s Dilemma, New American Library (New York, NY), 1992.

The Willful Widow, New American Library (New York, NY), 1994.

Lady Alex’s Gamble, New American Library (New York, NY), 1995.

The Reluctant Heiress, New American Library (New York, NY), 1996.

My Wayward Lady, New American Library (New York, NY), 1997.

The Gallant Guardian, New American Library (New York, NY), 1998.

My Lady Nightingale, New American Library (New York, NY), 1999.

Lord Harry’s Daughter, New American Library (New York, NY), 2001.

Fortune’s Lady, New American Library (New York, NY), 2002.

A Foreign Affair, New American Library (New York, NY), 2003.

The Scandalous Widow, New American Library (New York, NY), 2004.

A Lady of Talent, Signet Books (New York, NY), 2005.

The Education of Lady Frances and Miss Cresswell’s London Triumph, Penguin Group (New York, NY), 2006.

Historical fiction reviewer, Library Journal, 1981—.

SIDELIGHTS: Regency historical romance writer Evelyn Richardson is a pseudonym for Cynthia Johnson, a professional librarian. Richardson told CA:“I literally began my writing career in 1983 when I was looking for the job that led to the one I now have. In an effort to distract myself from the frustration and insecurity that naturally beset someone who is between jobs, I did what I have always done to amuse, distract, and comfort myself. I told myself a story—my usual type of story—about an independent, hardworking, and intelligent heroine who eventually succeeds in achieving her dreams regardless of what society thinks of her. But this time, instead of keeping the story locked inside my head, I wrote it down, and it grew into my first book, The Education of Lady Frances. But in truth, my writing career began the first time I was able to read books by myself and I discovered that other people, other places, and other times were only a page turn away. I spent my summers haunting the public library and bringing home stacks of books . . . .

“Then, when I was fifteen and stranded at home on a snow day with nothing from the library to read, I discovered Pride and Prejudice on our very own bookshelves. Elizabeth Bennett, clever and independent, was the perfect heroine for a girl who was more interested in schoolwork than social activities, and then and there I fell in love with Jane Austen and the Regency period. When I had exhausted Jane Austen, I was lucky enough to discover Georgette Heyer and went on from there to read Claire Darcy and all the others who created that wonderful world of witty dialogue, and heroines who thought for themselves.

“I enjoyed this world to such a degree that I studied late-eighteenth- and early- nineteenth-century literature in college and graduate school and wrote my honors thesis on Fanny Burney whose Evelina gave me my pseudonymous first name, and whose diaries gave such a wonderful picture of the times. I have been living and breathing this period ever since. Writing gives me a wonderful excuse to seek out the details of my characters’ daily lives in the newspapers, periodicals, books, and diaries of the time and to bury myself in the research that, as a librarian, I live for.

“My first brush with historical fiction as a fourth grader made me grateful to those authors who could entertain and inform at the same time. If I could choose to do anything in the world, it would be to do that for my readers as well.”

Richardson’s historical romances have been consistently praised for their wealth of period detail and their rich characterizations. In Library Journal, Kristin Ramsdell called the author a “veteran writer of intelligent, well-received Regencies.” Elsewhere in Library Journal, Ramsdell noted that Richardson’s novels are “filled with complex, fully developed relationships and rich, uncommon historical detail.” John Charles, who has reviewed several of Richardson’s Regencies for Booklist, remarked on the author’s “gift for subtle character development and deliciously dry wit.”



Charles, John, and Shelley Mosley, Romance Today: An A to Z Guide to Contemporary American Romance Writers, Greenwood Publishers (West-port, CT), 2006, pp. 326-328.


American Libraries, November, 1991, “In Pursuit of the Muse: Librarians Who Write.”

Booklist, March 1, 2003, John Charles, review of A Foreign Affair, p. 1151; April 1, 2004, John Charles, review of The Scandalous Widow, p. 1356; February 15, 2005, John Charles, review of A Lady of Talent, p. 1068.

Library Journal, March 15, 1990, “Reviewer’s File”; November 15, 1999, Kristin Ramsdell, review of My Lady Nightingale, p. 57; February 15, 2001, Kristin Ramsdell, review of Lord Harry’s Daughter, p. 155; February 15, 2003, Kristin Ramsdell, review of A Foreign Affair, p. 123; February 15, 2004, Kristin Ramsdell, review of The Scandalous Widow, p. 113.

Publishers Weekly, February 4, 2002, review of Fortune’s Lady, p. 59.


Romance Reader, (December 27, 2006), Jean Mason, review of The Gallant Guardian; review of Lord Harry’s Daughter; Cathy Sova, review of My Lady Nightingale.

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