FAR TO GO AND MANY TO LOVE, People and Places— Selected Writings of Lesley Blanch. Edited & with an Introduction by Georgia de Chamberet

VALERIE GROVE, LITERARY REVIEW: “There is no resisting the spell cast by Lesley Blanch’s words. You just have to recline and be engulfed by the rich colours and textures, the elegance and the drama of her writing . . . Georgia de Chamberet, whose mother got to know Lesley through their Russian husbands, has compiled and edited this exhilarating rattlebag of Blanchiana: early journalism, odd essays, rewritten pasages from her books, fragments from notebooks. The book’s title was what a Gypsy woman, who came to the Blanch family’s door in suburban Chiswick selling clothes pegs, forecast for Lesley at the age of sixteen – and how rights she was . . . Blanch was a romantic and sometimes a fabulist and fantastist, but she was also tough and firmly rooted in earthy reality.”

Far To Go and Many To Love features an insightful introduction with a distinctly Russian flavour. The collection unites writings on subjects as various as Vivien Leigh, polygamy, the Orient Express and Afghanistan. Illustrated with photos and unpublished sketches from Blanch’s portfolio from when she worked with Russian émigré theatre director, Komisarjevsky.

STACEY, blogger at IT TAKES A WOMAN: “I rarely read non-fiction books, but when I do, I tend to enjoy reading about women who kick arse, and in Far to Go & Many to Love, Lesley Blanch confirms her membership of this club with her superb, descriptive writing . . . Whether writing about people or places, Lesley Blanch’s writing is arresting and has real life to it – her piece about Vivien Leigh is a particular favourite of mine and, as I said, the whole collection is put together with such love and respect, that it is a fantastic introduction to the work of a remarkable woman”

Autobiography & Memoir. HB illus. 376pp £10 Quartet Books ISBN 978-0704374348