***Disclosure: Digital book was borrowed from the public library.***
While browsing my library for a few mystery/crime books to read I came across Empty Mansions. After reading the description I knew this would be a very interesting book. To state this book is interesting is an understatement. It is beyond interesting. So much information it is a wonder where the author found everything. Makes me believe he spent several years researching everything.
There is a lot of information that may not be relevant to the story about Huguette Clark. Information from before she was even born, information about her father in his adolescence all the way up to the time he married his second wife, Huguette’s mother. To some people this might be too much information. For this reader I could not get enough. I wanted so much more.
I did not enjoy the end. I felt the author left the ending open. I wonder if that was because the civil case was not over. It seemed to end with an open end left up to the reader to decide the outcome something similar to a fiction book. I personally had to Google the case just so I could find out what happened.
I do not know what really happened with Huguette and her billions of dollars but from what I read I honestly believed she was used and abused by the people around her. The very people that were supposed to protect and take care of her. I mean come one. How many employers do you know that is willing to sign over a million dollar check or buy you a house because you casually stated something about your personal finances? I honestly believe these so-called employees took advantage of Huguette’s kindness.
Then we see the personal nurse have her children write letters to Huguette casually asking about a car. As much as the nurse was making she should have purchased a car for her child not allow her employer to purchase the child a car. This nurse is beyond reprehensible. She is someone that abused her position and made sure Huguette was so depended on her it was pathetic.
Then we see Huguette’s lawyer and financial adviser. These two men should be spending time in prison. To write their self into her will? Really if this is what I would experience if I was rich I will gladly stay a poor working middle class person.
Then do not get me started on what her so called family wanted. These people were not interested until they learned money might be available to them. Oh come on. If these family members had any concern at all they would have keep in contact with Huguette through the years not wait until she was close to dying and wanting to see if they were included in her will.
If you are looking for an interesting read about the life of the rich and not so famous then the bunnies and I highly suggest this book.
The bunnies and I give this book 5 carrots.
When Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Bill Dedman noticed in 2009 a grand home for sale, unoccupied for nearly sixty years, he stumbled through a surprising portal into American history. Empty Mansions is a rich mystery of wealth and loss, connecting the Gilded Age opulence of the nineteenth century with a twenty-first-century battle over a $300 million inheritance. At its heart is a reclusive heiress named Huguette Clark, a woman so secretive that, at the time of her death at age 104, no new photograph of her had been seen in decades. Though she owned palatial homes in California, New York, and Connecticut, why had she lived for twenty years in a simple hospital room, despite being in excellent health? Why were her valuables being sold off? Was she in control of her fortune, or controlled by those managing her money?
Dedman has collaborated with Huguette Clark’s cousin, Paul Clark Newell, Jr., one of the few relatives to have frequent conversations with her. Dedman and Newell tell a fairy tale in reverse: the bright, talented daughter, born into a family of extreme wealth and privilege, who secrets herself away from the outside world.
Huguette was the daughter of self-made copper industrialist W. A. Clark, nearly as rich as Rockefeller in his day, a controversial senator, railroad builder, and founder of Las Vegas. She grew up in the largest house in New York City, a remarkable dwelling with 121 rooms for a family of four. She owned paintings by Degas and Renoir, a world-renowned Stradivarius violin, a vast collection of antique dolls. But wanting more than treasures, she devoted her wealth to buying gifts for friends and strangers alike, to quietly pursuing her own work as an artist, and to guarding the privacy she valued above all else.
The Clark family story spans nearly all of American history in three generations, from a log cabin in Pennsylvania to mining camps in the Montana gold rush, from backdoor politics in Washington to a distress call from an elegant Fifth Avenue apartment. The same Huguette who was touched by the terror attacks of 9/11 held a ticket nine decades earlier for a first-class stateroom on the second voyage of the Titanic.
Empty Mansions reveals a complex portrait of the mysterious Huguette and her intimate circle. We meet her extravagant father, her publicity-shy mother, her star-crossed sister, her French boyfriend, her nurse who received more than $30 million in gifts, and the relatives fighting to inherit Huguette’s copper fortune. Richly illustrated with more than seventy photographs, Empty Mansions is an enthralling story of an eccentric of the highest order, a last jewel of the Gilded Age who lived life on her own terms.