File Size: 13809 KB
Print Length: 514 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (September 10, 2013)
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
EMPTY MANSIONS is several stories in one. The first is that of Huguette's father, the driven W. A. Clark, who took himself on a classic American adventure from nothing to extreme riches. His story is also the story of the American West, of the mining industry, and railroads. Once comfortable financially, Clark displayed his wealth in rather ostentatious manners including the building of the Clark mansion in New York City, an intriguing but rather short-lived folly.
The second story within the book is actually the story of Huguette's mother, Anna. Since W. A. Clark's second wife, she bore him or her twins, but never experienced the status or value in society that she could have desired. Anna apparently lived for her children and when the parent one, Andree, died, she and Huguette became partidario. During this period, however, the 2 did make use of their wealth through traveling, accumulating art, and buying and furnishing houses. For those interested in symbiotic relationships between mothers and daughters, EMPTY MANSIONS will definitely provide interesting, thought provoking reading. For readers who liked THE SECRET LIFE IN THE LONELY DOLL by Blue jean Nathan, the story of author Dare Wright and her mother, Huguette's life might prove similarly intriguing; the, of course, being that Dare Wright was creative while Huguette was.... well, Huguette.
The 3rd story in EMPTY MANSIONS is the story of the hard-to-understand Huguette and an outline of the last twenty years of her life. Suffering from skin cancer, she hid inside her grand New York apartment and put off going to the doctor's. When she finally called for one, she was admitted to a healthcare facility and then, most curiously, never left. At the time she entered the hospital, Huguette had two very large New York apartments, a huge mansion on the coast of California, and a spacious country estate in Connecticut. There was plenty of money for Huguette to live on as she pleased or to donate to charities she deemed worthy. After having her cancer treated and being proclaimed healthy, Huguette chose to remain in the hospital and live there for two decades until she died at age 104. The last area of EMPTY MANSIONS changes in tone somewhat as the reader is drive into the present day and reads about court cases still going on in 2013. All of the amazing newspaper headlines of the past few years showing the story of Huguette Clark flash by, webpage after page, as the reader puzzles over the ethics of doctors and nursing staff accepting large monetary provides from their patient and of accountants and legal professionals whose roles in Huguette's affairs could have been questionable.
But most importantly, whatever more EMPTY MANSIONS is around, it leaves the reader considering whether Huguette was merely sheltered and shy or whether she was emotionally immature or suffered from a mental illness. This does appear that the girl life would have been quite different if her mom had lived longer, if her sister hadn't perished, or if she experienced a mother figure in her life to guide and direct her. Since it turns out, the girl nurse, Hadassah Peri, could have emerged as just that figure. All that makes the story of Huguette and her money a most captivating read.
EMPTY MANSIONS is the perfect book for a long end of the week at the seashore in the rain, stay snowbound in the mountains in a snug, warm log cabin in the wintertime, or for taking along on a cruise. Simply no one will regret reading EMPTY MANSIONS as there is something to be learned all about American history, riches, and yes - about loneliness., Wonderful insight into the forces that shaped an American fortune, as well as to the more personal story of Hughette Clark, who until recently was no longer a household name in America. The material in this book led to me to look into many other related subjects such as personal corruption of the time, environmental impacts that final to this day, the ultimate location of various paintings, instruments, and jewelry, and the empty mansions on their own, one of which is now used as a overnight lodgings. The life of a young lady not restricted by any sort of financial limits was interesting to me because she was able, as few of us are, to follow along with the girl interests and talents to their extreme yet reasonable conclusion. She once referred to herself as peculiar, and many thought she was demented to live in a small hospital room when bare mansions were available. Yet, she was allowed to do just as she wished due to resources at her disposal, which is actually the American dream, after all., Every day I actually drive past three old abandoned homes and every day I wonder about the history of those residences and of the lives of the people who once lived inside them. Bill Dedman found out something like this on a much grander scale, with many unanswered questions: two vacant mansions, one on the east coast, one on the west, still maintained and one totally furnished, ready for site visitors. And then there were about three more residences, large desolate, unoccupied apartments in a 6th Avenue building, including the one that took up the whole 12th floor. Their owner? Huguette Clark, a reclusive heiress who by choice invested the last 20 years of her life in a hospital bed and during that time gave away billions of15506 money to her caretakers and advisers, and to friends, godchildren and charities.
The ultimate question on the girl death, just short of her 105th birthday, was who would inherit the girl 0 million fortune, individuals who for two decades took care of her or corresponded with her regularly, or faraway relatives from the large Clark family? Two legal documents emerged: one bequeathing the girl assets to the Clarks, another one signed soon after, naming her nurse, accountant, attorney, doctor while others as the recipients.
Dedman conducted a massive amount of research and collaborated with Paul Clark Newell, Jr., a relative of Huguette whose father experienced researched the Clark family. Newell developed a friendly correspondence and telephone partnership with Huguette and was not area of the Clarks who contested her will. The result is Empty Mansions, a detailed history of the Clark family and an in-depth look at Huguette’s life during her twenty-year hospital stay.
Empty Mansions begins with Huguette’s daddy, W. A. Clark, an ambitious self-starter who made his riches in Montana’s copper mines, railroads, real estate and banking. A Montana senator, his short political career was packed with controversy, during a time when bribery and other payoffs were common. After serving one expression, he moved his family and riches east to New York, built a massive mansion on Millionaires’ Row where Huguette and her older sister André e were raised.
I actually thoroughly enjoyed this book, the early history of W. A. Clark’s money-making, and the images of Huguette, her family and homes. I actually think Dedman and Newell have done a great job explaining what it was like to get produced up in such riches, as well as respectfully portraying Huguette as a people-shy girl who became a woman who preferred to stay home and associate to the people she loved through cables, words and phone calls.
I actually also think Huguette produced a great deal of joy from giving to others, but I consider some of her caretakers and hospital officials took benefit of her. Whether the Clarks deserved to receive part of her lot of money is another issue. This seems right that the Santa Barbara home, Bellosguardo, should become the middle of the foundation to house Huguette’s . 7 million doll collection and other art. And now that I understand the Clark link with the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C. I would like to plan a trip to see the rooms that hold much of W. A. ’s art collection.
Vacant Mansions was published before the settlement of Huguette’s contested will, however, all was recently finalized and the results can be obtained on emptymansionsbook. com. Explaining this complicated scenario using its many players is not a fairly easy task so due to Bill Dedman for sending me personally this link!
It is a great read, well-written and really worth the time!
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