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On the Wilder Shores of Love: A Bohemian Life

Lesley Blanch, Georgia de Chamberet

4 Reviews

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Biography: general, Prose: non-fiction

The story of a fascinating, bohemian - and, at times outrageous - life that spanned the twentieth century - the perfect book for fans of the Mitfords.

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

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Praise for On the Wilder Shores of Love: A Bohemian Life

  • Sumptuous and captivating - Independent

  • On the Wilder Shores of Love brings [Lesley Blanch's] personality vividly to life - Spectator

  • Readers can enjoy Blanch's precise use of words, astonishing range of reference, and ability to get under the skin . . . Blanch's account of her marriage is a politely lethal masterpiece - Times Literary Supplement

  • This volume, edited with affection and grace by de Chamberet, is a deliciously readable monument to a writer who combined a steely resilience and capacity for hard work with an elegant frivolity and a voracious appetite for love, beauty and adventure - Daily Telegraph

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Lesley Blanch

Lesley Blanch (1904-2007) was born in west London. From 1922 to 1924 she studied painting at the Slade School of Art and worked steadily as an illustrator and commercial artist for the next decade, designing book jackets as well as costumes and sets for the theater and the ballet. After writing for several British magazines, Blanch turned to journalism full-time, and in 1937 she was named the features editor of British Vogue. She left the magazine in 1945, the same year she married the French novelist and diplomat Romain Gary. The couple moved to Bulgaria; Blanch would never reside in the United Kingdom again. Over the next two decades, they were posted to the Balkans, Switzerland, and the United States. In 1963, Gary divorced her to marry the actress Jean Seberg. Blanch traveled to Russia, Turkey, Central Asia, Iran, and North Africa, researching what would become twelve books. They include the biographies The Wilder Shores of Love (1954), The Sabres of Paradise (1960), and Pierre Loti: Portrait of an Escapist (1983); and one novel, The Nine-Tiger Ma (1965). Her memoirs On the Wilder Shores of Love: A Bohemian Life (2015) were published posthumously, along with a companion volume, Far to Go and Many to Love: People and Place (2017). She died in the south of France at the age of 103..

Her website is at www.lesleyblanch.com

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