MLC Book Group

August 3, 2017 -
7:00pm to 8:30pm
Event Location: 
Fireside Lounge - Martin Luther Chapel
Empty Mansions

Join with others for our monthly book discussion from 7-8:30 pm in the Fireside Lounge at Martin Luther Chapel. Extra copies of the book are available in the Chapel office, so please stop in and sign out a copy. The book selection for this meeting is Empty Mansions, by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell.

When Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bill Dedman noticed in 2009 a grand home for sale, unoccupied for nearly sixty 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 nineteenth century with a twenty-first-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 twenty 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.