A richly detailed and vivid biography of one of the last literary grandes dames, a true original Lesley Blanch was an artist to her fingertips, a writer, a traveler, a bohemian, a talented illustrator who became "Vogue's" maverick arts correspondent, and a fine film writer. Her first book, "The Wilder Shores of Love," became a worldwide bestseller and opened up a new field of historical travel writing. From a young age she had a great passion for Russia, inspired by her childhood adoration and first love for the Traveler, a mysterious Russian friend of her parents. Later she found the "eternal Slav" in Romain Gary, Franco-Slav diplomat and writer, and with him embarked on a turbulent life of postings from Bulgaria to Los Angeles. After their divorce she transferred her obsession to Turkey, Persia, and the Islamic East where she traveled widely, with tremendous baggage. Lesley Blanch loved mystery and secrets. Vivid yet elusive, she hid as much as she revealed and left a legend behind her. In this richly evocative biography, Anne Boston draws on publishers' archives, unpublished journals, and conversations with those who knew her to piece together, for the first time, the tumultuous life of a free spirit for whom "character plus opportunity equals fortune."
'A lively, colourful portrait, packed with people and travel' - Daily Mail
'Boston proves a sure-footed and sympathetic guide through the labyrinth of Blanch's self-invention' - Sunday Times
'Boston has succeeded . . . remarkably well, in capturing the spirit and wit of a sexy and scholarly romantic' - Guardian
As exotic and tantalising as a tale from the Arabian Nights. Glamorous and unconventional - Daily Express
Boston has . . . written a scrupulous, sympathetic, occasionally rather flowery book which . . . comes as close to the truth about any elusive and not altogether likeable subject as any biography could - Spectator
Boston s affectionate and admiring biography supplies some of the detail about which her subject was notably vague, but leaves the Blanch legend largely intact - Daily Telegraph
'For sheer fund I recommend Lesley Blanch . . . which offers a romp through the glittering combination of fantasy and fact under which this entrancing adventuress buried the mundane details . . . of her early life. Boston's eye for a comic quote . . . adds zest to the story of a writer whose favourite motto was: "Get up and get on with it." ' - Miranda Seymour, Daily Telegraph Books of the Year