Book Review Run Rose Run Dolly Parton

Book Review: Run Rose Run

Dolly Parton is well known for her storytelling through country music. The music icon has also been a huge advocate in encouraging children to read through her Imagination Library. So when I discovered Run Rose Run the debut novel by Dolly Parton had also been written in collaboration with James Patterson, the bestselling thriller author, I couldn’t wait to read it.

Where is the book set?

For this debut fiction novel, we travel to Nashville USA, the city at the heart of country music.

My thanks to Netgalley UK for sending me a digital copy of Run Rose Run by Dolly Parton and James Patterson. Before I share my book review, here’s the background to this debut fiction story.

Book Cover Notes


Every song tells a story. 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.

Also available: an album of 12 original Dolly Parton songs made for the novel!

My thoughts

AnnieLee has a big heart, big voice and big dreams.

At 23 she has a troubled past that she’s left behind in search of a life as a country singer like her idol Ruthanna Ryder. But her past still haunts her. Will it hunt her down and catch up with her?

Ruthanna is a megastar in the world of country music. Now retired from performing, she’s still writing and producing new material with her band in her basement studio. When band member Ethan introduces Ruthanna to AnnieLee, the queen of country music decides to help AnnieLee as she sees something of herself in this young, up and coming performer.

I liked the characterisation of Ruthanna, she’s feisty, strong and glamourous. She has a kind heart and a ton of experience in the music industry. Mentoring AnnieLee gives her a new sense of purpose. There’s a nice correlation between Ruthanna’s charity, The book garden library, and that of Dolly Parton’s Imagination library. Not forgetting the great contribution James Patterson has made to children’s reading charities.

Help us give books to kids who need them. Who crave them. And those lives will be forever changed by them. Because books, my friends, are true magic bound between two covers. (Ruthanna Ryder)

I enjoyed reading about AnnieLees early performances. The quiet honky-tonk back street bars, just AnnieLee and a guitar, sat on stage telling a story through her songs. The lyrics are heart felt and meaningful, I didn’t listen to the album that accompanies this novel, but I’m sure it’ll be a hit with country music fans.

You’ve got to nail down your story, AnnieLee. That’s what a good country song is; a story about real things and real people and real emotions, set to a really good tune.

Although this is a fiction story, I couldn’t help but wonder how much of Dolly’s own life is interwoven within AnnieLees story. For me, it felt like there was a lot more of Dolly’s voice coming through in this story than there was of James Patterson’s thriller writing. With short chapters and memorable characters, there’s also a romantic element running through the story. I was a little disappointed with the storyline, I kept waiting for it to get darker. I think the plot could have been developed a little further, unless of course there are further books planned, sharing more of AnnieLees story.

If you’re a Dolly Parton fan and love country music, then I think you’ll enjoy this book. The story does delve behind the scenes of the country music industry. Sharing a glimpse into the challenges and pitfalls of starting out in this tough industry. I admired AnnieLee’s determination to be taken seriously by the Nashville music corporations, PR execs, agents and the likes.


An insightful tale that goes behind the scenes of the country music industry.

Fans of Dolly Parton will enjoy this debut novel. You can almost hear the singer-songwriter talking through the pages.

Where To Buy

Amazon UK | Book Depository

Further book info

  • Publication date: 7 March 2022
  • Publisher: Century
  • Page count: 450

About The Author

Dolly Parton is a singer, songwriter, actress, producer, businesswoman, and philanthropist. The composer of over 3,000 songs, she has sold over 100 million records worldwide, and given away millions of books to children through her nonprofit, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

James Patterson
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 – the Alex Cross, Women’s Murder Club, Detective Michael Bennett. James is passionate about encouraging children to read. James has donated millions in grants to independent bookshops and has been the most borrowed author of adult fiction in UK libraries for the past thirteen years.

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