A wickedly funny and observant novel about the delicate questions of love, death and money.Amy Hawkins, Californian millionairess, is travelling in Europe, to find her culture, her roots and a cause to which she might devote her considerable fortune. She lands at one of the finest small hotels in the French Alps - a hotel noted for skiing and its famous cooking lessons - and soon finds that Americans are not the flavour of the month in France.A few days into her trip, she narrowly survives an avalanche. Two of the hotel's other guests, English publisher Adrian Venn and his much younger wife Kerry, are not as fortunate and both lie comatose in a nearby hospital. Amy steps in as Adrian's children - young and old, legitimate and illegitimate - assemble in Valmeri to protect their interests should he not pull through, and in her innocence sets in motion a series of events in France and England that threaten to topple carefully built family alliances once and for all. Add one or two small affaires and soon it is, as the French would say, a situation.