By Cecile depicts Post-WWII France as it reels from war and recovery. In Paris, an orphan girl finds refuge with an older man. He introduces her to nightclubs, intellectuals, artists (Jean Cocteau, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Eartha Kitt!), and non-monogamy. When she falls for his mistress, she begins to live a life she deems worthy of writing about . . . but only under the pseudonym of her husband.
"Madame Torres has re-imagined a youthful Colette (here called Cecile) in the infinitely seductive post-World War II period in Paris, where she moves like a sleeping princess through the perverse fairy tales of man-made cafe society. By Cecile is a sharply perceptive novel."