Empty Mansions

Thoughts by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell Jr, Ballantine Books 2013, 459 pages

Challenge:  for an online Facebook book club,  (but it might have been canceled – I can’t find it on our upcoming events)
Genre: Nonfiction, “Lives of the Rich & Famous”
Type/Source: Hardcover, don’t recall where I got it (free/borrow shelf at the apt complex, perhaps)
 Why I read this now:  Nonfiction November

MOTIVATION for READING: I do have a little bit obsession with the turn of the century mansions…

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Huguette lived a very long life as the youngest daughter of a very very rich American tycoon. Her last few decades, she had hidden herself away.

THOUGHTS: I thought this book would make me mad – about spoiled rich people and their eccentricities and the descendants who greedily crave access. But that is too simple. Mostly this made me sad. That she probably would have died 20 years or more earlier by wasting away in her apartment alone before finally seeking medical care. That she truly did enrich those she cared for deeply and many gratefully considered her a friend and benefactor. That I do not doubt at all that those who did manage to access her space and thoughts took advantage of her but glad that she was also a shrewd manager of her self and projects.

I will always wonder about her marriage! Yikes. But very cool that she remained friends with her ex over the subsequent decades.

I have soft spot in my heart for her because she was a Gemini and was fond of my favorite art gallery in DC:  The Corcoran. May she rest in peace.

The full title is Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune

RATING:  Four slices of pie.





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7 thoughts on “Empty Mansions

  1. I think Thomas from Hogglestock blogged about this a few years ago and it intrigued me then, though I haven’t read it. Sounds fascinating. I have such a hang up about non-fiction but I will keep this in mind for next November. This year I managed to read four NF books in November! And they weren’t all memoirs!

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