All branches will be closed starting at 5:00 on Wednesday, November 22 to Friday, November 24 for the Thanksgiving holiday. eBooks, eAudio, and eMagazines are available 24/7!

If you like Empty Mansions

Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of A Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse the book matches here.

When Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bill Dedman noticed a property listing for a grand estate that had been unoccupied for nearly sixty years, he stumbled into one of the most surprising American stories of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Empty Mansions is a rich tale of wealth and loss, complete with copper barons, Gilded Age opulence, and backdoor politics. At its heart is a reclusive 104-year-old heiress named Huguette Clark. Dedman has collaborated with Huguette's cousin, Paul Clark Newell, Jr., one of the few relatives to have had frequent conversations with her, to tell a fairy tale in reverse: the bright, talented daughter who is born into an almost royal family of amazing wealth and privilege, yet who secrets herself away from the outside world. Empty Mansions reveals a complete picture of the enigmatic Huguette Clark, heiress to one of the greatest fortunes in American history, a woman who had not been photographed in public since the 1920s. (catalog summary)

You said that you were looking for a books similar to Empty Mansions. If you liked that book you might also like these titles and authors:

Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt: The Story of a Daughter and a Mother in the Gilded Age by Amanda Mackenzie Stuart

Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt: The Story of a Daughter and a Mother in the Gilded Age
by Amanda Mackenzie Stuart

The story of Consuelo and Alva is not simply one of the emptiness of wealth, of the glamour of the Gilded Age, and of enterprising social ambition. This is an account of how two women struggled to break free from the materialistic world into which they were born, taking up the fight for female equality. Consuelo threw herself into good works, and her social and political campaigns proved an antidote to loneliness. Alva embraced the militant suffragette movement in America, campaigning vehemently for women's rights until she died. (catalog summary)

 


A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not!" Ripley by Neal Thompson


A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not!" Ripley
by Neal Thompson

The marvelously compelling biography of Robert Ripley, the enigmatic cartoonist turned globetrotting millionaire who won international fame by celebrating the world's strangest oddities. (catalog summary)



 


The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife, and the Missing Corpse: An Extraordinary Edwardian Case of Deception and Intrigue by Piu Marie Eatwell
The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife, and the Missing Corpse
 by Piu Marie Eatwell

At the close of the Victorian era, as now, privacy was power. The extraordinarily wealthy 5th Duke of Portland had a mania for it, hiding in his horsedrawn carriage and creating tunnels between buildings to avoid being seen. So when, in 1897, an elderly widow asked the court to exhume the grave of her late father-in-law, T.C. Druce, under the suspicion that he'd led a double life as the 5th Duke, no one could dismiss her claim. The eccentric duke, Anna Maria was sure, had faked his death as Druce, and, therefore, her son should inherit the Portland millions. A lurid, decade-long case was born. Uncovering new archival treasures and offering a 'lively account of . . . the lies, deceit, and hypocrisy of Victorian society' (The Times), Piu Marie Eatwell evokes an era in transition, when the rise of sensationalist media blurred every fact into fiction, and when family secrets and fluid identities pushed class anxieties to new heights. (catalog summary)
 


The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America​ by Erik Larson


The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
​ by Erik Larson

Bestselling author Erik Larson intertwines the true tale of the 1893 World's Fair and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Erik Larson has crafted a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction. (catalog summary)


 


Ghosty Men: The Strange but True Story of the Collyer Brothers, New York's Greatest Hoarders:An Urban Historical by Franz Lidz


Ghosty Men: The Strange but True Story of the Collyer Brothers, New York's Greatest Hoarders
 by Franz Lidz

Examines the live of eccentric hoarders, brothers Homer and Langley Collyer, who lived in isolation and squalor in a Harlem brownstone for years before the discovery of Homer's body in March 1947 and the search for his missing brother. (catalog summary)


 


The Inheritor's Powder: A Tale of Arsenic, Murder, and the New Forensic Science by Sandra Hempel
The Inheritor's Powder: A Tale of Arsenic, Murder, and the New Forensic Science
by Sandra Hempel

In 1833, George Bodle, a wealthy landowner, died under mysterious circumstances. Authorities suspected arsenic poisoning. Death by arsenic had become increasingly common, as the substance was essentially undetectable at the time, with physicians mistaking the symptoms of arsenic poisoning for those of cholera, malaria, and dysentery. Investigators assigned the Bodle case to James Marsh—an obscure chemist and assistant to Michael Faraday at the Royal Military Academy—who designed a test to detect the presence of arsenic in deceased persons. Though Marsh's test was sometimes problematic, it also attracted widespread interest and, therefore, inspired new efforts in forensic science. Hempel recounts the Bodle investigation in detail, bringing to life the various servants, policemen, coroners, and chemists involved in the case. (Library Journal)
 


One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson


One Summer: America, 1927
by Bill Bryson

Bryson examines closely the events and personalities of the summer of 1927 when America's story was one of brawling adventure, reckless optimism and delirious energy. (catalog summary)



 


The Phantom of Fifth Avenue: The Mysterious Life and Scandalous Death of Heiress Huguette Clark by Meryl Gordon
The Phantom of Fifth Avenue: The Mysterious Life and Scandalous Death of Heiress Huguette Clark
by Meryl Gordon

Born in 1906, Huguette Clark grew up in her family's 121-room Beaux Arts mansion in New York and was one of the leading celebrities of her day. Her father William Andrews Clark, was a copper magnate, the second richest man in America, and not above bribing his way into the Senate. And at twenty-two with a personal fortune of $50 million to her name, she married a Princeton man and childhood friend William MacDonald Gower. Two-years later the couple divorced. After a series of failed romances, Huguette began to withdraw from society—first living with her mother in a kind of Grey Gardens isolation then as a modern-day Miss Havisham, spending her days in a vast apartment overlooking Central Park, eating crackers and watching The Flintstones with only servants for company. All her money and all her real estate could not protect her in her later life from being manipulated by shady hangers-on and hospitals that were only too happy to admit (and bill) a healthy woman. But what happened to Huguette that turned a vivacious, young socialite into a recluse? And what was her life like inside that gilded, copper cage? (catalog summary)
 


The Secret Rooms: A True Story of a Haunted Castle, a Plotting Duchess, and a Family Secret by Catherine Bailey

The Secret Rooms: A True Story of a Haunted Castle, a Plotting Duchess, and a Family Secret
by Catherine Bailey

After the Ninth Duke of Rutland, one of the wealthiest men in Britain, died alone in a cramped room in the servants' quarters of Belvoir Castle on April 21, 1940, his son and heir ordered the room, which contained the Rutland family archives, sealed. Sixty years later, Catherine Bailey became the first historian given access. What she discovered was a mystery: the Duke had painstakingly erased three periods of his life from all family records-but why? As Bailey uncovers the answers, she also provides an intimate portrait of the very top of British society in the turbulent days leading up to World War I. (catalog summary)

 


Serving Victoria: Life in the Royal Household by Kate Hubbard


Serving Victoria: Life in the Royal Household
by Kate Hubbard

Serving Victoria follows the lives of six members of her household, from the governess to the royal children, from her maid of honor to her chaplain and her personal physician. (catalog summary)



 


The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel
The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit
by Michael Finkel

A remarkable tale of survival and solitude—the true story of a man who lived alone in a tent in the Maine woods, never talking to another person and surviving by stealing supplies from nearby cabins for twenty-seven years. In 1986, twenty-year-old Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the woods. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even in winter, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store food and water, to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothes, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed, but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of the why and how of his secluded life—as well as the challenges he has faced returning to the world. A riveting story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded. (catalog summary)