5 Must-Read Books Featuring Midlife Women

I’ve been an avid reader since I was in my early teens. I enjoy most genres but love contemporary literature, mysteries, historical fiction, and epic novels. Lately, I’ve seen many books with powerful female characters in their midlife or beyond. This trend is making me very happy because despite what culture tells us, women’s lives do not end when we get married, have a kid, turn 50 or retire. There is a whole world for women midlife and beyond, and I’m sharing some books that put strong, funny, and intelligent women characters front and center. I want to read stories about women who live relatable fictional lives I can see myself through.

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5 Books with Strong Female Leads

Killers of a Certain Age

Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn is a thriller featuring four female assassins ready to retire and enjoy their golden years. But the organization they have worked for for 40 years has them on the termination list. Now they’ve got to take out said employers and survive, too, if there’s any hope for a retirement filled with pretty sunsets and cocktails in their futures.

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This was a vivid, wildly entertaining portrayal of female rage in action and the extent to which older women are disregarded in the workplace and society. I loved the blend of action alongside topics like menopause, breast cancer, and outliving a spouse. It was refreshing to relate to the life experience of so many of the characters.

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If you’re looking for something funny, different, action-packed, and feminist, look no further.

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Lessons in Chemistry

This fantastic debut novel with quirky characters, socially relevant topics, emotional swings, and laugh-out-loud moments is one you don’t want to miss.

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Elizabeth Zott is a chemist in the 1960s. The problem is she is the only one who views herself that way. Her male colleagues cannot get past the fact that she’s a woman and treat her more as a secretary and doormat, acknowledging her only long enough to steal her work. That is, until Calvin Evans, another brilliant chemist, comes along and sees all she can. But life is unexpected, so a few years later, Elizabeth is somehow the host of a cooking show. But she still desires to be genuinely seen as a chemist.

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Elizabeth is smart, capable, and funny, a perfect example that women shouldn’t make themselves seem less important and dimmer to make the men around them appear bigger and brighter.

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The Change

Haled as Big Little Lies meets The Witches of Eastwick, The Change is about three women who come into supernatural powers later in life and band together to seek revenge for a brutally murdered seventeen-year-old girl; no force on earth can stop them from hunting down and removing the evil hiding in this town. They’re on a mission for justice, and revenge for all the women discarded like yesterday’s trash, for all the injustices women have suffered at the hands of men, the poor, the forgotten, and the lost.

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This book is a fantastic blend of genres, including fantasy, mystery, and women’s fiction, with a side of feminism, all rolled into one action-packed story that will leave you wanting more.

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Remarkably Bright Creatures

The story circles around and is narrated by three characters. Tova, a spry quirky 70-year-old who has had more heartbreaking loss than a human heart can endure; Cameron, a young guy who’s lost and has no reason to believe in himself; and a very bright Pacific Octopus in Captivity – Marcellus.

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If you’re like me, you might be hesitant about reading a book with a talking octopus. But don’t let that stop you; wonderfully crafted characters, great dialogue, captivating plot, this book has it all.

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The Vibrant Years

Three generations of Indian-American women strive to find happiness in this heartwarming story about the decisions that held them back and how they finally reclaimed their freedom.

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Sixty-five-year-old Bindu Desai is mother-in-law to Aly, who is in her late forties, and grandmother to twenty-five-year-old, Cullie. Aly, struggling to prove herself at a local TV station, shares a home with Bindu despite Bindu’s son having divorced her. Cullie is a tech whiz in Silicon Valley that will lose her business and everything she’s worked for if she doesn’t deliver the investors a new app. Everything changes when Bindu mysteriously inherits a million dollars from someone in her past – a secret history in India that no one knows about. She impulsively decides to use the money to buy a condo in an elite retirement community in Florida. But when a shocking incident occurs at the complex, Bindu, Aly, and Cullie come together to protect everything they care about.

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Bindu is the book’s star, a spirited woman who finally gives herself the freedom to live her own life at age 65. She refuses to be invisible and puts herself into the world with bold colors, independent choices, and a fiery defiance that is awesome to behold.

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I hope you enjoy these stories about women past forty taking center stage in the story. I am delighted because it shows that life does go on for women—that possibilities remain, that there are still new chapters and that the wisdom that comes from experience has worth and can lead to new beginnings.

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Are there any books you’ve read with women over 40 that you loved? Please share them in the comment sections; I’d love to add them to my list.

Please check out these books and more from My Library or Amazon Shop.

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