NEW this week…
Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman & Paul Clark Newell, Jr.
3 of 5 stars
Spanning three generations, from the gold rush to present-day, this biography tells the story of the Clark fortune, and W.A. Clark’s youngest daughter, Huguette, the eccentric woman that left a trail of empty mansions across the US during her last decades.
[T]he story of the Clarks is like a classic folk tale — except told in reverse, with the bags full of gold arriving at the beginning, the handsome prince feeling, and the king’s daughter locking herself away in the tower.
Having done some genealogy work of my own, I loved how this story told decades worth of American history through the lens of one particular family. Following W.A. Clark out west with the gold rush, then down to southern California, out to found the city of Las Vegas, and then reading about his daughter growing up in the Roaring ’20s, living through wars and the Great Depression, and all the way up until the present day. I found the historical content fascinating.
The final years of Huguette’s life, spent in a hospital, and the ensuing legal battle for her wealth, were, admittedly, not really my kind of story. Although I’m sure the authors went through a lot of trouble to research and document this part of her life and the time after her passing, I simply have little interest in legal battles.