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by Diane Johnson

Category: Fiction / General
0 pages; ISBN: 0452285631

Rating: 10/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner


Diane Johnson
Plume, Sep 2004, $14.00, 340 pp.
ISBN: 0452285631

In Palo, Alto, California, Amy Hawkins made a fortune in the dot-com boom. Feeling she owes for her fortunate life, Amy decides to improve herself before doing good deed. She heads to the Alps ski resort Hotel Croix St. Bernard in Valmeri, France where she plans to learn everything French in two weeks.

The good deed surfaces when she pays for the return of dying publisher Adrian Venn, injured in an avalanche to England. Venn’s family gathers to carve up the estate with each expecting to trump the other. Amy finds herself in a loony bin as Venn's two adult children and his illegitimate French daughter expect to eliminate their father’s young comatose (from the accident) American wife and their infant step-brother from the estate competition before the final battle royal between themselves. Even the solicitors from France and England are skirmishing over who does what to whom arguing which country takes precedence. Finally there are also the outside straphangers ready to take a slice. With all that and bed hopping, romance, and affairs while everyone disparages those damn Yankees Amy Hawkins has learned a valuable lesson that no good deed goes unpunished.

The key to this humorous coffin romp is the ensemble cast mourning their loss or celebrating their gain seem genuine as Diane Johnson provides a deep look at values. The story line is a comedy of errors with everyone misinterpreting the actions and motivations of everyone else because they constantly impose their values on how others will behave. Fans will appreciate this intelligent amusing but dark avarice bedroom manners Rape of the Lock.

Harriet Klausner


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