Lesley Blanch writes about four strong women in The Wilder Shores of Love. Turning East, away from 19th Century Europe and conventional living, they found emancipation through escape and adventure. Isabel Burton married the Arabist and explorer Richard Burton; they worked together on his translation of A Thousand and One Nights; Jane Digby el-Mezrab (Lady Ellenborough, the society beauty), had four husbands and numerous lovers, including Honoré de Balzac and King Ludwig I of Bavaria. She ended up living in the Syrian desert with a young Bedouin chieftain; Aimée Dubucq de Rivery was a French convent girl who was captured at sea by pirates and became the consort of Sultan Abdul Hamid I; and Isabelle Eberhardt was a Swiss linguist who went to Algeria where she lived among tribesmen in the Sahara, converted to Islam, and dressed as a man.
ANAIS NIN — “I read The Wilder Shores of Love by Lesley Blanch and became completely devoted to her writing. It is a book of great vitality, superb storytelling. She is herself Scheherazade telling about four remarkable women. I was fascinated by the charm and with which she tells biographical facts. The four women became my heroines. I read the book several times. My admiration for her was total. The Wilder Shores of Love would have made colourful and entrancing films.”
CARSON McCULLERS — “The Wilder Shores of Love is a book of such radiance and strength.”
FREYA STARK — “A book as excellent as its title.”
WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD — “Love, wanderlust, faraway places – all that Romance implies – make up this delicious book.”
NEW YORKER — “Four seething but most enjoyable studies in headlong nonconformity.”
DAILY TELEGRAPH — “Enthralling to read.”