Most famous for The Wilder Shores of Love, her book about four women travellers, Lesley Blanch was a scholarly romantic and a bold writer. Her lifelong passion was for Russia, the Balkans and the Middle East. At heart a nomad, she spent the greater part of her life travelling the remote areas her books record so vividly. Edited by her goddaughter Georgia de Chamberet, who was working with her in her centenary year, this book collects together the story of Blanch's marriage, previously published only in French; a selection of her journalism which brings to life the artistic melting pot that was London between the wars; and a selection of her most evocative travel pieces. Illustrated with photos alongside a selection of line drawings by Lesley Blanch
Originally published in 1954, The Wilder Shores of Love is the classic biography of four nineteenth-century European women who leave behind the industrialized west for Arabia in search of romance and fulfillment. Hailed by The Daily Telegraph as "enthralling to read," Lesley Blanch’s first book tells the story of Isabel Burton, the wife and traveling companion of the explorer Richard Burton; Jane Digby, who exchanged European society for an adventure in loving; Aimée Dubucq de Rivery, a Frenchwoman captured by pirates who became a member of the Turkish sultan’s harem; and Isabelle Eberhardt, a Swiss woman who dressed as a man and lived among the Arabs of Algeria.
Have you ever called someone 'fluffle bunny'? Have you ever sent a text saying 'it's not you, it's me'? Have you ever written a dirty limerick in a Valentine's card? In short - have you ever been in love? If the answer is yes (come on, admit it!), then this book is for you. Bestselling author and award-winning designer Oonagh O'Hagan has brought together a hilarious collection of genuine love notes. From the affectionate to the poignant to the downright filthy, they are endlessly fascinating and hugely entertaining.
A grand tour for the taste buds—a delightful classic cookbook of the postwar era from a well-traveled woman. This charming little book was first published in 1956, when people in England were still enduring postwar restrictions on both traveling and eating. In the words of its author, Lesley Blanch, “benign fate whisked me elsewhere to follow less restricted ways, travelling widely and eating wildly.” Her gastronomic world tour includes eighty recipes, each prefaced by an account of where they were first tasted or with some amusing anecdote. You’ll find delicious dishes from her journeys around Europe and to the Middle East and Far East, Africa, the Pacific, Central and South America, and even a good old Baked Virginia Ham from the USA.
PHILIP MARSDEN: Like Tolstoy's, Lesley Blanch's sense of history is ultimately convincing not because of any sweeping theses, but because of its particularities, the quirks of individuals and their personal narratives, their deluded ambitions, their vanities and passions. THE GUARDIAN: Crammed with truly fabulous stories of fighting and love and violent death . . . this profound and exhilarating book turns the struggle of the people of the Caucasus to remain independent of Russia into a universal saga . . . it is no wonder Shamyl had such a powerful influence on Tolstoy and Pushkin. Biography of supreme Muslim chieftain and military leader, Imam Shamyl, the 'Lion of Daghestan' fighting in the eastern Caucasus from 1834-59, by the late author and distinguished traveller, Lesley Blanch, MBE. It took six years to complete, with research done in Russia and the Caucasus, including tracing his descendants in Turkey and Egypt. Also a historical narrative, there are beautiful descriptions of the Caucasus - a region of supreme natural beauty and mighty mountain ranges - and the campaigns in which Lermontov and Tolstoy participated. During the Caucasian Wars of Independence, the warring mountain tribes of Daghestan and Chechnya united under the charismatic leadership of Imam Shamyl - strengthened only by the desire for an independent Caucasus and their religious faith. For years Shamyl defied his enemy, the Tsar, who had taken his eldest son as a hostage to St Petersburg. Shamyl captured in turn two Georgian princesses (from the Tzarina's entourage), a French governess, and the children, and kept them in his harem until they could be exchanged for his son. Lesley Blanch's epic account of the heroic and bloody struggles, and her vivid portrayal of the strange and magnetic rebel Imam who became a legend, is particularly relevant in light of the continuing conflict in Chechnya. The great leader and his fiercely proud warriors haunt the Russian psyche to this day. BRIAN ALDISS A book as thick with flavour as roast wild boar, tusks and all. One of the most nutritious books I have ever read
Blanch, writer, artist and adventuress, followed her own compass in everything she did. She called herself a romantic traveller; her appetite for the exotic colours all her books. The first, The Wilder Shores of Love, became a worldwide bestseller and is still in print. Emotions, she insisted, can be transposed to places or countries and in this she was her own best example. Her guiding passion for Russia began in childhood; later she found the 'eternal Slav' in Romain Gary, Franco-Slav diplomat and writer, and with him embarked on a series of postings from Bulgaria to Los Angeles. After their divorce she transferred her obsession to Turkey, Persia and the Islamic East where she travelled widely, with tremendous baggage. She eventually settled on the Cote d'Azur, in a small pink villa dressed as exotically as herself. Lesley Blanch loved mystery; vivid yet elusive, she hid as much as she revealed and created a legend about her early past. In this first biography, Anne Boston draws on publishers' archives, unpublished journals and conversations with those who knew her, to piece together the portrait of an escapist for whom 'character plus opportunity equals fortune'.
More than five thousand quotations, that range in time from Scott's Antarctic expedition in 1912 to the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, are gathered in a comprehensive, updated resource that evokes a fascinating picture of the social, political, cultural, and scientific highlights of modern times.