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Fabulous reads: Nashville-inspired novel wilts

Book review - Run Rose, Run

Run Rose, Run, Dolly Parton and James Patterson, Penguin Random House, ISBN: 9781529135688

Run Rose, Run is a everything you expect from the legendary Dolly Parton – sweet, wholesome and chock-full of country. Mrs Parton even released the book with a 12-track album, and the lyrics of songs are interwoven into the story.

Unfortunately, the book reads like a cliché Disney fairy tale.

You have the damsel in distress, AnnieLee Keyes (or Rose McCord), who is running from some seriously dangerous people. However, she dreams of becoming a country singer. So, what’s a heroine to do? Naturally, she pulls a Superman, seemingly making herself unrecognisable by colouring her hair, changing her name and hitchhiking to Nashville to pursue her dream.

After fending off some sleazy truck drivers and sleeping in a park for a few nights, she meets her saviour, Ethan Blake – in all his handsome-cowboy glory.

The instantly lovestruck boy then introduces AnnieLee to her fairy godmother, retired country mega star, Ruthanna Ryder, who is, despite her initial refusal, roped into helping the aspiring singer.

Besides the cringeworthy singing, the overall storyline also feels contrived. The characters – especially AnnieLee’s – decisions, reactions and emotions are often illogical, robbing the story of any sense of believability.

I felt as if the authors tried to spin AnnieLee as this smart, brave and tenacious young woman, but in her actions, she comes across as naïve, selfish and completely oblivious to the feelings and desires of those around her. This was another book where I found the supporting characters richer, more interesting and lovable than the protagonist.

The worst for me is that the book had so much potential. It touched on serious topics, such as domestic violence and suicide, while also pointing out some criticism surrounding the music industry. I so wish they had fleshed out these topics, which would have added so much meaning and emotion to the book.

Sadly, it seems these topics were merely chucked into the storyline in the hopes of creating suspense. Even the ending felt shoddy, rushed and devastatingly predictable. – Mariclair Smit 2/5 stars

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