Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune Audiobook | Bill Dedman, Paul Clark Newell | Audible.com
We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune | [Bill Dedman, Paul Clark Newell]

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

When Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bill Dedman noticed in 2009 a grand home for sale, unoccupied for nearly 60 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 19th century with a 21st-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.
Regular Price:$31.50
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Audible Editor Reviews

"Empty Mansions is at once an engrossing portrait of a forgotten American heiress and a fascinating meditation on the crosswinds of extreme wealth. Hugely entertaining and well researched, Empty Mansions is a fabulous read." (Amanda Foreman, author of A World on Fire)

Publisher's Summary

When Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bill Dedman noticed in 2009 a grand home for sale, unoccupied for nearly 60 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 19th century with a 21st-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 20 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.

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. 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.

©2013 Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr. (P)2013 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"Empty Mansions is a dazzlement and a wonder. Bill Dedman and Paul Newell unravel a great character, Huguette Clark, a shy soul akin to Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird - if Boo’s father had been as rich as Rockefeller. This is an enchanting journey into the mysteries of the mind, a true-to-life exploration of strangeness and delight." (Pat Conroy, author of The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (190 )
5 star
 (68)
4 star
 (73)
3 star
 (33)
2 star
 (9)
1 star
 (7)
Overall
4.1 (167 )
5 star
 (69)
4 star
 (55)
3 star
 (33)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (6)
Story
4.1 (166 )
5 star
 (71)
4 star
 (56)
3 star
 (28)
2 star
 (7)
1 star
 (4)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Roberta Richmond, VA, USA 11-30-13
    Roberta Richmond, VA, USA 11-30-13 Member Since 2008

    Vassar graduate, living in Mexico and retired.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    45
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "could have been better"

    This book was written before the lawsuits about Clark's money were resolved. Some of the information in the writing seems to be padding to make the story longer. Such as long lists of gifts.
    Questions about whether the heiress was slow intellectually are never fully addressed.
    The book concludes with a sing song eulogy which seems artificial.
    The narrator has a shrill voice at times and over does the accent when pronouncing French words.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Novotny Powell Butte, OR, United States 11-03-13
    Novotny Powell Butte, OR, United States 11-03-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    85
    38
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I still don't know much about Huguette Clark"

    It is a key to understanding this book to focus on the title: "the spending of a ...fortune." Primarily it seems H. Clark is only know through her expenditures. Who the money went to. What the money went to. But Huguette Clark was a mystery to EVERYONE and still is. Besides long descriptions of what money was spent on--she remains a mystery. The history of her father and mother is interesting and more detailed. I am not sure how I felt about what this book discussed...more like a shopping list and a list of those who 'used' her to get rich off her fortune. Interesting--but the book left me 'frustrated'

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Branden columbus, OH, United States 09-23-13
    Branden columbus, OH, United States 09-23-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Almost Great..."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, because it was really good but, I would warn them that they will be dissappointed with the way the author ended it.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    W. A. Clark was my favorite character. I like his rags to riches story. My least favorite was Hugette, she wasted 104 years and there are plenty of people that would have used the money to feed millions of people or something like that instead of buying dollhouses and keeping up empty mansions.


    Have you listened to any of Kimberly Farr’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not listened to her before but I hope to again. She was great.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    This book was great for the most part. Incredibly interesting, I liked the actual voice recordings and the way the narrator narrated. The end of the book was terrible. I think that the author should have waited until the estate was settled before telling the story. I could not believe how he ended the book. So I was very very happy with the book until the last "page." Shame on him.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E H giants fan 10-30-13
    E H giants fan 10-30-13 Member Since 2003

    giants fan

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    207
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great!"
    Would you listen to Empty Mansions again? Why?

    Getting to hear the actual conversations was great! However, it could've been a bit shorter.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fictionwriter Massachusetts 04-15-14
    Fictionwriter Massachusetts 04-15-14 Member Since 2008

    I'm a writer of everything from children's picture books to fiction to memoir. I usually listen to nonfiction, mostly history, on Audible simply because I prefer to read novels on the page. The only exception to that rule is short stories and I'm partial to the Selected Shorts Anthologies.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating and strange"

    The story of Huguette Clark and her solitary and very long life was fascinating. Rather than feel sorry for her, I felt she made the most of her gilded cage even though she chose, in her 80s, to reduce that cage to one hospital room while maintaining the grand houses and apartments that she no longer inhabited.She was a remarkably generous person not only to institutions but to the people who remained near her bedside. The narrator did an excellent job, had a passable French accent which was important to the book and brought the characters to life without insinuating herself too much. An added bonus of the audio book was the occasional "live" tapes of Huguette's voice. I wonder whether she knew that her relative, Paul Clark Newell, was taping their phone calls.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-5 of 5 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

CANCEL

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.