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5+ stars for The Key to Circus Mom Highway by @CircusMomHwy #fiction #roadtrip #bookreview

Title: The Key to Circus Mom Highway

Author: Allyson Rice

Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Women’s Fiction (not romance)

Book Blurb:

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.

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.

My Review:

An epic road trip to gain an inheritance? Sounds like the perfect book to kick off 2023. I love road trip books. They’re the ultimate adventure, especially when it’s with family. In this book, three siblings follow a detailed trip through the Deep South in order to inherit a big chunk of money after their mother’s death.

The plot unfolds rather quickly while thrusting the reader into the action. Half the time I didn’t know what was going on and I had the time of my life reading! Its originality and set of thrown-together characters make this a bucket-list read.

The characters are what drive this story. Oddball characters are my fave to read because hey, I’m weird to the core. These main characters are bizarre to the max. They attach themselves to readers and you’ll be along for the ride in this fun road trip adventure.

The descriptive narration allows the reader to get inside the story with clarity. Details galore make this story come alive. It’s like streaming your fave show, only better.

If you love a bit of drama, humor, family angst, and emotional breakdowns, you’re the perfect reader for this book. Strap yourself in for an epic road trip.

My Rating: 5+ stars

Buy it Now:

Amazon book link

Barnes & Noble book link

KOBO book link

Target book link

Goodreads book link:

Author Biography:

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.

n 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: 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.

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 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!

Social Media Links:

IG @allysonriceauthor , @allysonriceart , @officialallysonrice

Twitter: @CircusMomHwy

Reviewed by: Kris

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