Today I’m delighted to share my thoughts on Run Rose Run, the new thriller from Dolly Parton and James Patterson. Yep – that Dolly Parton. I’ve been intrigued by this titles since I first heard the announcement and was thrilled to get an early read of the book. My thanks to publisher Penguin for the advance copy via Netgalley. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
FIND A FUTURE. LOSE A PAST.
She’s a star on the rise, singing about the hard life behind her.
She’s also on the run.
Nashville is where she’s come to claim her destiny.
It’s also where the darkness she’s fled might find her. And destroy her . . .
RUN ROSE RUN: a story glittering with danger and desire.
If you are looking for a book which gives you a real sense of the author, then I don’t think you could ask for a better book than Run Rose Run by Dolly Parton. This book was a whole lot of fun and a whole lot of country. Whether you are a country music fan or not, there can’t be many people on the planet who doesn’t know who Dolly Parton is, and I have to say that this book encapsulates the passion that she always shows towards her music, wrapped up in a story which is dripping with authenticity and a whole lot of intrigue. It’s a book which had me hooked from the very dramatic and unexpected opening, right through to the heart pounding conclusion, and all the rhinestone and rhythm embellished pages in between. Parton and Patterson were always going to be an intriguing pairing but this is one book that left me with a very satisfied smile on my face.
This is the story of AnnieLee Keyes, a young women who fights her way to Nashville and who undergoes a number of undeniable challenges in order to make her dream of becoming a country music star come true. Homeless, and with a clearly troubled past, she begs her way into opportunities, catching the eye of Nashville superstar Ruthanna Ryder along the way. AnnieLee is determined, feisty and shows a whole lot of bravado that she doesn’t always feel. Her story may feel like the typical rags to riches tale, a kind of Cinderella story as it were, but believe me it is much deeper and darker than Disney could have imagined. I liked AnnieLee. Wanted to see her come good. Celebrated in her successes and shook my head as some of the strange, almost seemingly self destructive decisions she made in the name of her pride. But Dolly Parton has written her in such a way that I really did get behind her, believed in her journey, even if it wasn’t typical of most wannabe starlets who make their way to the city. She did fall into a whole lot of luck, but backed up by undeniable talent, something which struck a cord with Ruthanna.
Now if you were looking for that all glamour, super famous face of country type character that will put you in mind of the author herself that is Ruthanna. For all her success, all of her fortune, she is actually very down to earth, even though her lifestyle may not feel like it is. She was a very likeable character, quite sympathetic and with an emotional side that often comes to the fore. She recognises something in AnnieLee, not just her talent, but something more, and thought it takes a while to come to the fore, the story is quite emotional and made me warm to Ruthanna even more. She is surrounded by musicians and business men, even when retired as you’d expect, but there is a whole heap of respect and love there which shines through in the story.
Now this is not a straightforward thriller as you may be expecting, given James Patterson’s involvement in the book. There is an element of darkness and tension in the story, largely linked to AnnieLee’s past, but rather than being infused with a constant sense of threat, the story often lets us, and AnnieLee, fall into a false sense of security, where the pursuit of her music career overtakes everything and we can forget, for a while at least, that tense opening sequence. But then something will happen, something dark and full of dramatic tension and darkness which brings that undiscovered mystery, that thing which AnnieLee is at pains, literally, to conceal, right to the forefront of our minds. You can likely guess what a part of it could be, but I certainly wasn’t expecting just how dark the authors would take it. It doesn’t feel out of place, but it does add a stark contrast to the glamorous life AnnieLee is on the brink of achieving.
The book is oozing with all the splendour and colour of the country music scene. If you are fan you’ll be delighted to hear there is a soundtrack to accompany the book. If you aren’t, and I’ll admit it’s a genre of music that isn’t entirely in my comfort zone, you’ll still feel yourself pulled into the heart of Nashville. As a non follower, I can’t think of a person more synonymous with modern country music than Dolly Parton, and every minute of her experience and love for music is poured into the book, giving it an overwhelming sense of place. It feels both glamourous and understated at the same time, taking us from open mike nights to full on high profile music tours. With characters I can absolutely imagine are drawn from real life, even if only in part, there isn’t a part of this book I didn’t enjoy.
If you want an often fun, sometimes intense, character led story that is oozing authenticity, has a touch of old fashioned romance, and a whole lot of music, then this could well be the book for you. It made me smile and it is more definitely recommended.
About the Authors
Dolly Parton is a singer, songwriter, actress, producer, businesswoman and philanthropist. The composer of more than 3,000 songs, she has sold over 100 million records worldwide and has given away millions of books to children through her non-profit, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
JAMES PATTERSON is one of the best-known and biggest-selling writers of all time. His books have sold in excess of 400 million copies worldwide. He is the author of some of the most popular series of the past two decades – the Alex Cross, Women’s Murder Club, Detective Michael Bennett and Private novels – and he has written many other number one bestsellers including stand-alone thrillers and non-fiction.
James is passionate about encouraging children to read. Inspired by his own son who was a reluctant reader, he also writes a range of books for young readers including the Middle School, Dog Diaries, Treasure Hunters and Max Einstein series. James has donated millions in grants to independent bookshops and has been the most borrowed author in UK libraries for the past thirteen years in a row. He lives in Florida with his family.