Reviewed by: Jennifer Chretien, Reference Librarian
Rating: 5 stars
Pulitzer Prize winning author Bill Dedman was first alerted to the strange life of Huguette Clark when he learned one of her properties had been empty for over half a decade. When he investigated further, he stumbled down a rabbit hole. Huguette Clark, the youngest child of copper baron W.A. Clark and his second wife, owned several opulent residences that she hadn't set foot in for decades; instead she lived in a hospital room despite having no medical reason for being there. From the Gilded Age to the 21st Century, Huguette lived a life of extravagance and unbridled gift giving to friends and even people she didn't know.
Empty Mansions details the lives of the Clark family, Huguette's strange reclusive life, and the controversy surrounding her death. It's a thoroughly researched and well written glimpse into opulence few people can begin to fathom and I couldn't put it down. If you are a fan of Downton Abbey, I especially recommend this book to you.