The Key to Circus-Mom Highway

Fiction - Womens
254 Pages
Reviewed on 01/01/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Allyson Rice is a writer, mixed media artist, and producer currently splitting her time between Los Angeles, and Rehoboth Beach, DE. After spending many years as an actress on stage and on television, she left the business 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. She's a proud graduate of Northwestern University.

Some random 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 Rice 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. Available on She’s currently at work on her next novel, and her fourth women’s coloring book.

Multiple Instagram accounts: @AllysonRiceAuthor, @OfficialAllysonRice, and @AllysonRiceArt

    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

The Key to Circus-Mom Highway is a comedy-drama novel by Allyson Rice. Lives have turned out very differently for sisters Jennifer McMahon and Jesse Chasen. While Jennifer is a suburban wife and mom of two kids, Jesse struggles to make ends meet as a bartender and freelance tattoo artist. When the two sisters receive news of the death of their birth mother and discover that she has left them a sizeable inheritance, Jesse convinces Jennifer to take a trip with her to Florida. However, they soon learn that to receive their inheritance, the sisters have to embark on a specified road trip and learn about their mother's life. Along the way, they are accompanied by their brother, Jack, who they never even knew existed. As Jesse, Jennifer, and Jack learn more about their mother's tragic past, they form a bond that draws out each other's buried sorrows.

Filled with heart, humor, and sibling drama, The Key to Circus-Mom Highway is a humorous tale about three siblings taking a chaotic road trip to receive an unexpected inheritance, only to find themselves on the adventure of their lifetimes. 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 for me. There were multiple scenes where I found myself chuckling out loud. Recommended to readers who savor humor-filled character-driven dramas.

Jennifer Ibiam

Thirty-nine-year-old Jesse was a bartender and tattoo artist having the worst time of her life. No home and no job. Her estranged forty-one-year-old sister, Jennifer, had her life together with a beautiful family, but it wasn’t all perfect. She was dying inside. Out of the blue, the sisters received a call telling them that their deadbeat mother had died, leaving them a large inheritance. However, the estranged sisters must shelve their differences, find their new brother, and complete a prescribed journey to claim the estate. The siblings had only one week to fulfill the task or lose the bequest to charity. It was a race against time. Will they succeed in their quest? Find out in The Key to Circus-Mom Highway by Allyson Rice.

The Key to Circus-Mom Highway by Allyson Rice is a fantastic novel everyone should read. It was all comedy, drama, heart, family, and the opportunity for new beginnings. This novel was multifaceted, and I enjoyed reading it. The plot, development, and storyline were unique, and each character left a great impression. I was initially irritated at Jesse and Angie for their life choices but realized that I had judged both women too hastily. There are backstories to all situations, and humans react differently to tragedy. In hindsight, people may not make the best choices, but life is a learning curve. My heart broke for Jack, his military experiences, and the guilt he bore. Sean and Jennifer showed that communication is vital in relationships. No matter how unconventional, family is everything if love, respect, and loyalty are present.

Courtnee Turner Hoyle

The Key to Circus-Mom Highway is a twisted trip through the past and present. Jennifer, Jesse, and Jack have lived almost half their lives without any knowledge of their biological mother. They receive news of her death and are informed of a large inheritance she left them. Strings are attached to the enormous sum of money, though, and they are led on a post-mortem scavenger hunt to uncover more information about the mother they share. 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.

Allyson Rice has developed a realistic trio of siblings who have real-world problems and their own anxieties. I had a little trouble with the way the scenes broke apart into flashbacks, but I was still able to keep pace with the story. There were times the story almost read like a screenplay, as I could see the scenes unfolding in front of me like a movie. Through the pages I learned about their mother’s jagged past and the siblings’ emotional traumas, and I couldn’t help wondering if the author’s experience with women’s retreats influenced the tone of the story. 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.