The Bookplate is happily continuing their popular Authors & Oysters event series at The Retriever Bar in 2023. Local favorite Rich Gillin was featured in the most recent Authors & Oysters event on February 8th. Next up on Wednesday, March 8th at 6pm, all are invited to The Retriever to hear author Allyson Rice discuss her novel, “The Key to Circus-Mom Highway”.
“On a Tuesday afternoon, Chicago-based sisters Jesse Chasen and Jennifer McMahon receive a phone call notifying them that their birth mother they had no knowledge of 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 juke joint owners, 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.
A story of family trauma and transformation, The Key to Circus-Mom Highway is a profound, often hilarious, reminder that the family you’d never have chosen may turn out to be exactly what you need.”
Allyson Rice is a writer, mixed media artist, and producer currently splitting her time between Los Angeles, CA, and Rehoboth Beach, DE. She’s a graduate of Northwestern University with a Bachelors of Science in Communication. 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. She’s currently at work on her next novel, Normal is Overrated, and her fourth women’s coloring book.
“A road trip takes three siblings through their mother’s eye-opening past in this novel….Although it steps into grim territory, Rice’s tale provides ample comedy….Characters, meanwhile, bond in fun, unexpected ways…This breezy, charming tale incisively shows a family’s bittersweet facets.” — Kirkus Reviews
Winner of the Literary Titan Gold Book Award 2023
For more event details contact The Bookplate at 410-778-4167 or [email protected]. This event is free and open to the public. Reservations are not required. The next Authors & Oysters event is scheduled for 3/15 with Brooks Yeager. All events are held in the back room of The Retriever, located at 337 ½ High Street in Chestertown, Maryland.