Rhonda Johnson
November 07, 1997 AT 05:00 AM EST

Ruth: A Portrait, the Story of Ruth Bell Graham

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Patricia Cornwell
genre
Biography

We gave it a B+

Was Mrs. Billy Graham a model for the heroine of a grisly crime series? The famous evangelist’s wife (who helped raise Cornwell after her mother had a nervous breakdown) does in fact resemble the tough, self-reliant Kay Scarpetta of Cornwell’s best-selling novels. Cornwell, who profiled Mrs. Graham’s early life in her first book, 1983’s A Time for Remembering, wrote this biography as a 24-year-old police reporter in 1981 and ’82, but never published it. She describes how the now 77-year-old Ruth, having abandoned her dream of becoming a missionary to Tibet, struggled with public scrutiny and private stress to raise five kids alone, since her overbearing husband devoted himself almost entirely to his crusades. Cornwell has added a new introduction and epilogue to this admiring study of a smart woman who made the best of a tough deal. Still, the Grahams did not speak to her for years after she wrote it. B+

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