First published in London in 1921, though completed in 1916, Women in Love written by D.H. Lawrence continues the story of two sisters, Ursula and Gudrun Brangwen who had first appeared in his earlier novel The Rainbow (1915). The sisters are occupants of the coal-mining town of Beldover, and their relationships dominate the novel. Ursula, a teacher herself, is in love with the school inspector Rupert Birkin who is initially involved with Hermione Roddice (a dominating lady with whom he is not happy). Gerard Crich, a friend of Birkin, is the other main character. He is weighted down by the deaths that have occurred in his family. Gerard takes over the running of the mine from his father but his initially strong position is weakened by his relationship with Gudrun that in time is made difficult by emptiness in Gerard.
Ursula and Rupert, meanwhile, are married, and the novel continues to explore their happier relationship. The four are all deeply concerned with contemporary questions of society, politics, and the relationship between men and women. They go for a party at Gerald's manor house, but during the course of the evening, Gerald's sister, Diana, drowns. Gudrun becomes the teacher and mentor of his youngest sister. Soon Gerald's father passes away as well after a drawn-out illness.
Birkin asks Ursula to marry him, and she agrees. Gerald and Gudrun's relationship, however, is becoming stormier. The four go on vacation together to the Alps. Gudrun begins an intense friendship with an artist she meets there called Loerk. Gerald cannot deal with this and their relationship begins to spiral out of control. Then at the end of the book, Ursula kills Gerald to Wed Loerk.