The Key to Circus-Mom Highway by Allyson Rice

​This uproarious debut novel is a reminder that sometimes, the family you’d never have chosen may turn out to be exactly what you need.

Synposis -

In an attempt to secure an unexpected inheritance—and hopefully find a few answers—two estranged sisters and their newly discovered brother embark on a comically surreal trip through the Deep South to retrace the life of the mother who abandoned them as infants.

On a Tuesday afternoon, sisters Jesse Chasen and Jennifer McMahon receive a phone call notifying them that their birth mother has died, leaving behind a significant inheritance. But in order to obtain it, they must follow a detailed road trip she designed for them to get to know her—and that includes finding a brother they never knew existed.

For the next week, this ill-assorted trio treks across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia to meet their mother’s old friends, from circus performers to a juke joint owner, each of whom delivers a shocking vignette into the life of a young mother traumatized by loss and abuse. Along the way, these three siblings—Jesse, whose fiery exterior disguises a wounded, drifting musician stuck in a rut; Jennifer, whose carefully curated family life is threatened by her husband’s infidelity; and Jack, whose enigmatic Jackie, Oh! persona in the New Orleans drag queen scene helps him escape the nightmares of Afghanistan that haunt him at night—must confront their own demons (and at least one alligator). But in chasing the truth about their real mother, they may all just find their second chance.

Review - 

It is always pleasant to read a book with a plot that surprises you. I honestly don't think I've read anything similar.  We have three siblings - Jesse and Jennifer who know each other and Jack who is unaware - brought together at the death of their mother. This is a surprise for the sisters as they didn't know they were adopted. Jack knew, but had no interest in finding his birth mother.  All three have to complete a mystery journey together. When Jack didn't show up, they sought him out. When he said no,  the sisters kidnap him. Fortunately he eventually chose to stay. 

What follows is a truly bizarre road trip taking them from one of their birth mother's connections to the next to talk with people who knew her. They learn of her life in the circus and beyond. They are given photo books and mementos of them she had collected with the help of people caring for them.  The initial draw was a financial inheritance, but somewhere along the way, a desire built in the three to follow the crumbs to the end. 

What surprise will they find at the final stop?  What last piece of memory would they be offered in the puzzle of their mom's life?  You'll have to read the book to find out. A unique plot with themes of family and the human experience woven throughout. 

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Meet the Author - 
Fab author interview HERE!

Allyson Rice is a writer, mixed media artist, and a producer with Atomic Focus Entertainment, currently splitting her time between Los Angeles, CA, and Rehoboth Beach, DE. She’s a graduate of Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Science in Communication. After spending many years as an actress on stage and on television, she left acting and spent the next decade running yoga/meditation retreats, women’s retreats, and creativity retreats around the country. After that, she pivoted to focus on her own creative work. In addition to her writing and art, she’s also a photographer.

Some random bits of Allyson trivia:
  • She’s been skydiving, paragliding, bungee jumping, ziplining through a rainforest, and scuba diving with stingrays;
  • she has an extensive PEZ dispenser collection;
  • she played Connor Walsh on As the World Turns for seven years;
  • she’s been in the Oval Office at the White House after hours;
  • she’s related to the Hatfields of the infamous Hatfield/McCoy feud; and
  • her comedic rap music video “Fine, I’ll Write My Own Damn Song” won numerous awards in the film festival circuit.
  • Also available from Allyson is her line of women’s coloring books (The Color of Joy, Dancing with Life, and Wonderland), and The Creative Prosperity PlayDeck, an inspirational card deck about unlocking and utilizing your creative energy in the world. They’re available on
She’s currently at work on her second novel and her fourth women’s coloring book.

Also, anyone who signs up for Allyson’s periodic author newsletter on her website will be entered in a drawing to have a character in her next novel named after them, and a free book will be given away in each newsletter to a subscriber!

connect with the author: website ~ Allyson Wonderland ~ twitter ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ instagram ~ instagram ~ pinterest ~ goodreads ~ bookbub