Empty Mansions is a captivating book that tells a fascinating story of one of the wealthiest and most mysterious families in America. The book delves into the life of Huguette Clark, an enigmatic heiress who lived a reclusive lifestyle, and the grandeur of her sprawling estates. Written by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell Jr., this literary masterpiece offers a glimpse into the world of wealth, privilege, and eccentricity.

The Story

The book revolves around the life of Huguette Clark, the daughter of William Andrews Clark, a copper magnate and US Senator. Born in Paris and raised in New York City, Huguette was a highly private individual who rarely appeared in public. She spent the latter part of her life secluded in hospital rooms, despite having numerous lavish properties at her disposal. Empty Mansions chronicles her unique story, shedding light on the mystery that shrouded her existence.

Main Characters

1. Huguette Clark – The central character of the book, Huguette was an extremely wealthy and eccentric woman.

2. William Andrews Clark – Huguette’s father, a prominent figure in the copper industry and US politics.

3. Anna Clark – Huguette’s mother, a socialite who played a significant role in shaping her daughter’s life.

4. Beth Rattner – Huguette’s longtime nurse and confidante, who had a profound influence on her reclusive lifestyle.

5. Paul Clark Newell Jr. – Co-author of the book and Huguette’s cousin, he provides valuable insights into the Clark family history.

Awards, Reviews, and Reception

Empty Mansions received critical acclaim for its compelling narrative and meticulous research. It was a New York Times bestseller and was widely praised for its gripping portrayal of the eccentricities within one of America’s wealthiest families.

The book was the recipient of the Goodreads Choice Awards in the Best History & Biography category in 2013, further solidifying its impact on readers. Dedman and Newell’s meticulous reconstruction of Huguette Clark’s life and the exploration of the Clark family’s dynastic wealth garnered praise from both literary critics and general readership alike.

The Impact of Empty Mansions

Empty Mansions shed light on the hidden life of Huguette Clark and the Clark family’s extraordinary wealth. Through meticulous research and vivid storytelling, the authors provide a detailed account of Huguette’s fascinating life and the diversions of the wealthy elite.

The book sparked public interest and curiosity about the lives of the super-rich, often veiled from the public eye. It also highlighted the ethical questions surrounding wealth and inheritance, adding to the broader societal conversation on wealth disparity.


Empty Mansions is an enthralling book that takes readers on a journey through the opulence and secrecy of the Clark family empire. With its richly developed characters and meticulously researched details, the book has secured its place as a must-read for anyone interested in the hidden lives of America’s wealthiest families.

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