“In this rollicking family dramedy, debut author Rice sends three lovable siblings on a zany yet touching road trip… Comedy marks every page as Jess slings sarcastic one-liners, and wacky characters intervene in every quirky destination… Rice’s sharp observations of society’s absurdity verge on the satirical… Fans of family drama, road trips, and non-stop laughs will love this cross-country adventure.”
A "feverish, entertaining novel"
–Foreward Clarion Reviews
"This breezy, charming tale incisively shows a family's bittersweet facets.”
"[A]n engrossing story... Allyson Rice creates a rollicking good read that is filled with humor, wry life observations, and odd family interrelationships as these shared experiences evolve. She is especially astute at presenting contrasts in perspective and perception within these encounters... The result is a fictional portrait of sibling drama and life events which excels in the unexpected, teaches (by way of example) how disparate personalities can come together; and offers thought-provoking scenes of disconnection and connection. This will attract not just libraries seeking good leisure reads about sibling relationships, but book discussion groups focused on family trauma and drama."
–Midwest Book Review (D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer)
“5 stars…Zany, humorous, wacky, outlandish! I loved this book…The author was able to flesh out her characters which allowed me to imagine this road trip in full detail. I am very glad that I picked up this book and hope for more from this author.”
–NetGalley Review (Katherina Martin)
“5 stars… Filled with heart, humor, and sibling drama... Allyson Rice weaves a captivating character-driven drama following the misadventures of three adult siblings in search of their mother's past. Jesse, Jennifer, and Jack have grounded characters and act like people you may have met in real life. Their sibling dynamic feels genuine, and their constant back-and-forth banter was among the highlights of the book... Recommended to readers who savor humor-filled character-driven dramas."
–Reader's Favorite (Pikasho Deka)
"5 Stars... A fantastic novel everyone should read... It was all comedy, drama, heart, family... Multifaceted."
—Reader's Favorite (Jennifer Ibiam)
"5 Stars... The Key to Circus-Mom Highway is a twisted trip through the past and present... Allyson Rice relates how a first impression is not always the best or most accurate representation of a person, as Jennifer, Jesse, and Jack unravel their mother’s past while dealing with their feelings of abandonment... Overall, the book was filled with diverse characters who made the reading experience fuller and more enjoyable. I recommend The Key to Circus-Mom Highway to experienced readers who enjoy chick lit, a little humor, and stories about the emotional growth of fictional characters."
–Reader's Favorite (Courtnee Turner Hoyle)
By Allyson Rice
The Key to Circus-Mom Highway
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.
On a Tuesday afternoon, Chicago-based 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 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.
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.
RELEASE DATE: JANUARY 3, 2023
Allyson Rice is a writer, mixed media artist, and producer currently splitting her time between Los Angeles, CA, and Rehoboth Beach, DE.
Some random bits of Allyson trivia: 1) She’s been skydiving, paragliding, bungee jumping, ziplining through a rainforest, and scuba diving with stingrays; 2) she has an extensive PEZ dispenser collection; 3) she played Connor Walsh on As the World Turns for seven years; 4) she’s been in the Oval Office at the White House after hours; 5) she’s related to the Hatfields of the infamous Hatfield/McCoy feud; and 6) her comedic rap music video “Fine, I’ll Write My Own Damn Song” won numerous awards in the film festival circuit. https://youtu.be/7Xe3nuVDkC4
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