Run Rose Run Book Club Questions & Discussion Guide

Run Rose Run is a contemporary story, glittering with danger and desire, detailing the life of an up-and-coming singer/songwriter who is on the run from her past. AnnieLee Keyes heads to Nashville to pursue her dreams as a country singer. She’s an underdog battling through hardships to achieve a dream. Run Rose Run is full of colorful characters with different vibrant personalities. Your book club will have endless things to discuss because Run Rose Run is a true mystery-thriller, it’s gripping and heart wrenching, with suspense, drama, music, danger, and even some romance.

 These Run Rose Run book club questions will help navigate your thoughts and questions about this thrilling rags to riches type story co written by Dolly Parton. Use this Run Rose Run discussion guide to dissect how far Rose was willing to go to achieve her dreams and the interesting criticism of the music industry and media shared in the book. 

And if you liked the book, we’ve also got three related reads for you to add to your TBR list.

Run Rose Run book club questions with book cover and bookshelves.

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Run Rose Run Synopsis

Run Rose Run, James Patterson & Dolly Parton

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. Find a future, lose a past.

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.

10 Run Rose Run Book Club Questions

These questions have been tailored to this book’s specific reading experience, but if you want more ideas, we also have an article with 101 generic book club questions.

  1. Of all of our book club guides, the publisher synopsis (noted above) has to be one of the shortest we’ve ever seen. What do you think of it? Was it helpful or accurate? Did it factor in your choice to select the book?
  2. What were the central themes that Patterson and Parton emphasized throughout the novel? Did they effectively explore and develop these themes? Were there aspects of the book that made you uncomfortable?
  3. “It would be better to have a new enemy, wouldn’t it, instead of an old one? The demons of the past were the hardest to slay.”

    Do you agree with that statement? Is our past is harder to combat and overcome than present challenges?
  4. How do the main characters change, grow, and evolve throughout the course of the story? What events trigger such changes?
  5. Which character did you relate to, or empathize with the most, and why? Also, were there any characters that you disliked? Why?
  6. In what ways do the events in the book reveal evidence of Dolly Parton’s worldview? Do you think that the book is semi-autobiographical?
  7. AnnieLee had a difficult life before she went to Nashville. “Fate granted some people their wildest, greatest wishes while leaving the simplest pleas of others unanswered.”

    In what ways do aspects in this story support this statement? And how did her old life influence her new one?
  8. How are the characters AnnieLee and Ruthanna alike, and how are they different? Is Ruthanna Annielee’s future self?
  9. If you could ask the author, Dolly Parton,  a question about this book , what would you ask her?
  10. If this book was adapted into a movie, would you watch it? Who would you like to see play the roles of the book’s characters?

Selected Reviews of Run Rose Run

“I am a huge fan of James Patterson but this book doesn’t resemble anything he’s ever written, and in a bad way. This is a sophomoric fantasy more like Cinderella goes to Nashville then about the real music business. The main character bobbles between being an ignorant hayseed to using some pretty technical musical knowledge and multi-syllable words. The entire storyline is extremely implausible…” 

“I love Dolly, but she needs to stick to country music & Patterson needs to stick to the detective novels, which he does best. The plot of this one is far-fetched, the ending is foreseeable and the characters have no substance, nor are they likable. This is the first JP novel I have rated a one-star. I struggled to finish; actually skimming dozens of chapters to save myself the torture…”

“This one novel was just as awesome as all the others, but there was an unmistakable difference. Dolly Parton imbued this story with her own brand of life. She’s a life force unto herself and I thought I couldn’t admire her more just for the zest and warmth she’s brought to us all. I was wrong – she is so much more and made this novel gorgeously captivating.”

“This book is an experience! If you enjoy audiobooks, then I suggest you listen to this one. Narrated by an awesome ensemble cast, the best part is Dolly narrating for Ruthanna. The story reminded me of something you would have seen on the show Nashville, and I liked it a lot. I probably would have loved it if they would have added more chapters before the epilogue…”


Use our guide to find dozens of book ideas for your group.

3 Books Like Run Rose Run

If you like female-centric stories and author collaborations, then check out our guide for The Personal Librarian.

The First Rule of Swimming, Countney Angela Brkic

This is a haunting tale about a Croatian woman who leaves her home island in search of her sister, Jadranka who has gone missing. When she goes to New York City to find her sister, she begins to uncover the dark history of their families’ generational dislocation through war. The First Rule of Swimming beautifully conveys the intertwining of three generations of family history, exploring their legacy of betrayal and hardships they endured from a country torn by war.

We Are All the Same in the Dark, Julia Heaberlin

This exciting psychological thriller is about an abandoned girl’s discovery in a field, and the threat it brings to the surface about a long-buried secret from a decade old cold case in a small Texas town. A young cop, Odette, is desperate to solve the two cases, one about her friend, Tru, who went missing a decade ago and the other the mute girl with one eye, found recently. We Are All the Same in the Dark is a mystery- thriller through and through, with a slow-burning suspense that keeps intrigued upon revealing the town’s dark and twisted past. 

The Last Thing He Ever Told Me, Laura Dave

This mystery novel is a page-turner about a woman, Hannah, whose husband has gone missing after finding he is being investigated for a crime. While trying to figure out the truth of the mystery of Owen’s disappearance while revealing old family secrets along the way. The Last Thing He Ever Told Me is a gripping thriller about family secrets and betrayal, and the impact that has on intimate relationships. Also, packs on an emotional punch with family bonding between Hannah and her stepdaughter over the  course of the book.

Read it for book club and use our discussion guide to talk about the book.

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Discussion Guide Run Rose Run, James Patterson and Dolly Parton.

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