Depending on your take – Avery VanDemere either has a privileged life or an unfortunate one. Being raised by her incredibly wealthy grandmother in her mansion sounds great, but her alcoholic father has been gone for years, her mother is dead, and her extended family resents her presence. Seeking a little freedom from the confines of mansion walls, Avery begins sneaking out and is soon shipped off to a boarding school, which is more of a prison.
Avery is picked up by the son of her Grandmother’s lawyer with no explanation as to why and taken back to the law firm where all of her extended family awaits. Avery is not eager to see them and they make no attempt to hide their disdain for her. After all, they view Avery as the illegitimate daughter of the drunken brother and nanny. What they all soon learn is that they will begin an adventure of traveling focused on inheritance and legacy. Their matriarch is not pleased with the selfishness, laziness, unruly behavior of her descendants and now they must compete against one another in order to receive their inheritance. Among the players are two power hungry uncles, a bully of a cousin, a half brother who she has never had a relationship with, and two self-important female cousins – and Avery. Her only ally is Riley, the son of the lawyer who picked her up.
As the competitors travel the world, they must remember family stories and histories Grandmother VanDemere has shared over Christmas dinners and brunches. This is both a test of family heritage and wit, but also a test of strength and resourcefulness. Besides this new challenge which can keep Avery from returning to a violet boarding school, Avery has also learned that her mother did not die – but was bought off and sent back to Croatia. With each new challenge she successfully completes, she is rewarded with letters her mother has sent each year on her birthday. Finding more about her mother is more important to Avery than and amount of inheritance. Determined to win the challenge only to escape this hateful, selfish family and find her mother, Avery plays the game.
Add to the plot – a romance, violence, a secret message, and world travel and it’s worth sharing. The challenges take the family through such important events in their family’s history as the Civil War, mining for diamonds, and the American Revolution. The mix of a current, adventurous challenge and a mysterious, personal past is a plot so detailed with secrets and depth, it makes for an entertaining and surprising plot.