Set in Paris on the eve of World War II and sizzling with love, anger, and revenge, She Came to Stay explores the changes wrought in the soul of a woman and a city soon to fall. Although Françoise considers her relationship with Pierre an open one, she falls prey to jealousy when the gamine Xavière catches his attention. The moody young woman from the countryside pries her way between Françoise and Pierre, playing up to each one and deviously pulling them apart, until the only way out of the triangle is destruction.
An excerpt from a scene in the book where Xavière burns herself:
Françoise could not help taking a surreptitious glance at Xavière: she gave a start of amazement. Xavière was no longer watching, her head was lowered. in her right hand, she held a half-smoked cigarette, which she was slowly moving toward her left hand. Françoise barely suppressed a scream. The girl was pressing the lighted end against her skin, a bitter smile curling her lips. It was an intimate, solitary smile, like that of a half-wit; the voluptuous, tortured smile of a woman possessed of some secret pleasure. The sight of it was almost unbearable, it concealed something horrible. Read more »