Amy Hawkins, a Palo Alto girl who made herself a dot-com fortune, goes to France to get a sheen of sophistication and, perhaps, to have an affair that will ruffle her all-too-steady heart. She starts her quest in a glamorous resort in the French Alps, amid an assortment of aristocrats and ski enthusiasts. But when two of the hotel’s guests are swept away by an avalanche, Adrian’s children—young, old, legitimate, illegitimate—assemble to protect their interests, feuding under the competing laws of the British, American, and French systems.
Amy, already suspect because she is American, steps in to assist, and unintentionally sets in motion a series of events that spotlight ancient national differences, customs, and laws. Filled with love, sex, death, and travel, L’Affaire is National Book Award finalist Diane Johnson at her very best.