BANNED in several countries since its publication, Lady Chatterley’s Lover caused quite the stir at various international obscenity trials for its explicit descriptions of the relationship between the aristocratic Lady Chatterley and her game keeper Oliver Mellors.

But now novelist Annabel Abbs has brought the real Lady Chatterley out of the shadows, and introduced the feisty Frieda von Richthofen, the wife and muse of DH Lawrence, to the world in her latest fiction novel Frieda: The Original Lady Chatterley.

For years, Frieda is trapped in a marriage to the much older and incredibly dull, Ernest Weekley, so when she meets young Lawrence, a former student of her husband’s, a world of wild romantic possibilities is opened up to her, although it comes with heartbreaking sacrifices.

“Lawrence claims he was in love with Frieda within half an hour of meeting her,”Annabel said. “And within six weeks they had eloped to Germany, so it was a whirlwind romance. However, the concept that she was the ultimately free woman who left her life with Weekley and their three young children behind without a glance back was a myth.

“It’s clear from her letters to them that she adored them. She stalked them at the school gates, and even turned up at Weekley’s house on multiple occasions just to catch a glimpse of them. She was unable to legally gain custody because she was an adulterous women, and she bore that guilt for the rest of her life.”

Frieda remarried Lawrence in 1914, but the relationship became volatile and violent throughout the years.

“Frieda famously smashed a plate over his head in front of their friends, and he could be equally cruel and abusive to her,” Annabel said. “Some scholars believe that she was made to bare the brunt of his confusion which he faced over his bi-sexuality, which he could never fully address.”

Married life collapsed completely for the couple when Lawrence caught tuberculosis, which rendered him impotent and in frail health.

Frieda, unsatisfied in her marriage, began an affair with the couple’s landlord Angelo Ravagli, and so the seeds of inspiration for Lady Chatterley’s Lover were planted for Lawrence, who saw himself as both Lady Chatterley’s husband, the disabled and impotent Sir Clifford, and the object of her desire Oliver Mellors.

“Oliver and Lady Chatterley’s exciting affair is Lawrence remembering the early days in his relationship with Frieda, where he was the one she lusted after. Now, he is Sir Clifford.

“I find it a remarkably sad novel, because it reads as Lawrence attempting to work out his feelings about Frieda’s infidelity, and the guilt he harbours for not only taking her away from her children, but now leaving her without any in her future.

“The world knows Lawerence’s name, but not the woman who had the most profound effect on his art, so I hope I’ve given her a just and truthful voice.”


*being a woman who had a profound effect on Lawerence’s literature, yet is continuously overlooked in history.

felt compelled to tell Frieda’s story, because

BANNED in multiple counties for its raunchy depictions of lust