Ursula and Gudrun are schoolteachers living in Beldover, a small mining town in the Midlands. Gudrun finds her crucial relationship with Gerald Crich, son of the colliery owner; Ursula finds that she loves Gerald's close friend Rupert Birkin, a school inspector. As all four characters search for a fuller life, their relationships shift and change; and violence is never far below the surface. The openness with which D. H. Lawrence treated sexual relations in Women in
Love and its predecessor, The Rainbow, resulted in public rejection of both books. Written in 1916, in 'the most terrible year of the most terrible war mankind had ever seen' - Lawrence himself commented that 'the bitterness of the war may be taken for granted in the characters' - Women in Love continues to disturb with its powerful depiction of human beings impelled by forces beyond their conscious control.