The Lesley Blanch technique is an expert mixture of personal travel anecote, direct observation pungently reported and background reading. It is a technique that her readership will well remember from The Wilder Shores of Love which kept book store cash registers and library charging machines busy. Her title here comes from an old Balkan saying that describes the heroically restless traveler as one who was born under a Lilac-bleeding star"". Her subjects include her own travels in Mexico, the Balkans and North Africa as well as some Lilac star struck people of the past. Among them: Pierre Loti in a leisurely expose; Vernon Lee in Italy, re-read and revealed; Lawrence (Pale Hands I Loved) Hope in India; and Queen Marie romanticizing in Roumania. These were people who not only travelled to a place, but tried to be of it as well as in it. Then they had to write about it -- and the author has read everything. She has revisited their territory and serves up her reactions to things as they are now in comparison to theirs as they were then, in essays that are at once sensitive and entertaining. Her own active curiosity brought her to a once celebrated harem in North Africa now maintained for a handful of wives in tattered splendor and a glimpse of Tunisian dancing boys, a decreasing tribe. The author's pen is as penetrating as her eye.