In the tradition of The Paris Wife and Loving Frank, The Novelist’s Wife reimagines a great modern love story: D.H. and Frieda Lawrence behind closed doors.
Frieda Weekley felt trapped in a loveless marriage—until she met D.H. Lawrence. After a passionate courtship, they eloped and she became his muse and collaborator but experienced heartbreak when the law allowed her first husband to keep their three young children. As Frieda traveled the world, she met famous artists, including Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, Alfred Stieglitz, and Georgia O’Keeffe. Profoundly in love, she shouldered Lawrence’s complicated relationships with John Middleton Murry and others who minimized, and even derided, her influence on his work.
As the novelist’s wife, Frieda attracted intense speculation when her husband became known as “the prophet of sex.” Meanwhile, behind the scenes, his health deteriorated drastically—and Frieda stayed by his side. Widely thought to be the model for many of her husband’s characters, including the famous Lady Chatterley, Frieda’s tale reveals secret betrayal at the core of her husband’s most notorious book.
Through the hardships of war and the tragedy of fatal illness, Frieda Lawrence challenged stereotypes to fulfill herself as a creative, vibrant woman with “a genius for life.” Her story remains all the more compelling because she inspired D.H. Lawrence’s conviction that “marriage is the clue to human life” and “the secret music” of existence.