"Women in Love" is a book about individual philosophies, personalities, desires, and the conscious or subconscious need for control in relationships. It involves four characters--Gerald, the wealthy and powerful coal industry magnate; Birkin, the intellectual, nomadic bohemian; Ursula, a school-teacher and sister to Gundrun; and Gundrun, the beautiful, emancipated "modern lady" who is a school teacher and artist.
The book follows the course of the relationships between Gerald & Gundrun and Birkin & Ursula from the time when they first eye each other until the point where the relationship either transcends to something larger or comes to an end. There is also made reference to the desire of a relationship between Gerald & Birken spiritually and possibly sexually.
This book does not adhere to a strict timeline or follow a distinct plot. Certain chapters consist of inner musings of a character or dialogue between a few people to give you hints of their personalities. There are times when a series of paragraphs may lead you to believe that the author is simply musing over his own ideas and that the character thinking them is not the point. It's almost as if this book were a venue for Lawrence to channel some of his thoughts to an audience by way of a creation of characters that may or may not be extremely significant. Reader be forewarned: large portions of this book are personal philosphy, poetic and mystical.
I liked this book because I was able to see it for, I think, what it was meant to be. It wasn't intended to be a boy meets girl and read on to see what happens. It wasn't meant to make you fall in love, cry out of pity, or delight in the human spirit. The plot is nonessential. It was meant to show us how certain people would act in certain circumstances and to make us think how we would react in similar situations and to bring out musings that may or may not lie within our own subconscious. It means for us as readers to identify with or loathe certain traits in people and possibly to tell us why they think or feel the way they do. Read with an open mind and be prepared to get to know yourself.