The best books featuring kickass midlife women

Why am I passionate about this?

What is it about women in their forties, fifties and beyond? What’s that you say? They feel invisible? A bit boring? Something about menopause? No, actually, I was going to say they’re absolutely bloody brilliant. That’s why (especially after entering my own fifth decade) I wondered where all the kickass midlife women were on TV and in literature. One editor admitted to me once that it was ‘safer’ to write about younger women, that people weren’t so drawn to the midlife heroine. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised how many great stories just weren’t being told.


I wrote...

One French Summer

By Gillian Harvey,

Book cover of One French Summer

What is my book about?

Life isn’t quite going as planned for Katy. With her only daughter living in Australia and a husband who has asked for a break, she's suddenly at a loss. Her best friends, Sam, Vicky, and Ivy have always been there for her and they’re not about to leave her all alone now. Whisking her away to glorious France for a last-minute retreat is the perfect escape, and just what Katy needs to get her life back under control.

As Katy unwinds in the beautiful French countryside, surrounded by her friends, the pain of her past slowly begins to melt away under the warm summer sun. Will this reset give Katy a new lease on life and help her win back her husband? Or could there be a new love on the horizon?

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Amazing Grace Adams

Gillian Harvey Why did I love this book?

This poignant, tragi-comedy of a novel is both relatable and uplifting.

And though the protagonist is going through a bit of a crisis, it’s ultimately a story of a woman finding herself and coming into her own.

Grace’s relationship with her teenage daughter is so well described – as mum of a teen girl I recognised the sadness she felt when she realised her daughter needed her less than she’d used to.

By Fran Littlewood,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Amazing Grace Adams as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*Ferocious, funny and tender, and available to pre-order now!*

'I just adored this ... an unforgettable read' Liane Moriarty

'Compelling, funny and poignant. I devoured it' Paula Hawkins

***

'Sometimes I have so much rage it scares me . . .'

Grace Adams is one bad day away from saving her life . . .

One hot summer day, stuck in traffic on her way to pick up the cake for her daughter's sixteenth birthday party, Grace Adams snaps.

She doesn't scream or break something or cry. She simply abandons in traffic and walks away.

But not from her life…


Book cover of The Old Ducks' Club

Gillian Harvey Why did I love this book?

Sixty-year-old Sophia Gregory feels that life has passed her by, until meeting three new friends who introduce her into the ‘Old Ducks’ Club’.

This book helps us realise that fun doesn’t have to stop when grey hair starts – and dancing til dawn isn’t just for the young ‘uns.

By Maddie Please,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Old Ducks' Club as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER - AS RECOMMENDED BY DEBBIE MACOMBER!

'Sea, sunshine, romance and fabulous characters; Maddie's light touch and sense of fun will lift your spirits!' Bestselling author Judy Leigh

Sophia Gregory has lost her sparkle...

Recently single and about to turn sixty, Sophia doesn't recognise the old woman staring back at her in the mirror. How has life passed her by? A quiet holiday in beautiful Rhodes is the perfect chance for her to find herself.

Until she meets the Old Ducks!

Juliette, Kim and Anita are three friends who are determined not to grow old gracefully! Bold…


Book cover of The Overdue Life of Amy Byler

Gillian Harvey Why did I love this book?

Amy is a 40-year-old single parent to teenagers, who is suddenly given a second chance (thanks to a returning husband and her old friend Talia).

It’s a relatable read about untrodden paths, the choices we make and how life can take us in unexpected directions. Who hasn’t sometimes wondered, “what if?” Amy gets to find out.

By Kelly Harms,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Overdue Life of Amy Byler as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An Amazon Charts and Washington Post bestseller.

"A laugh-out-loud funny, pitch-perfect novel that will have readers rooting for this unlikely, relatable, and totally lovable heroine, The Overdue Life of Amy Byler is the ultimate escape-and will leave moms everywhere questioning whether it isn't time for a #momspringa of their own." -New York Journal of Books

Overworked and underappreciated, single mom Amy Byler needs a break. So when the guilt-ridden husband who abandoned her shows up and offers to take care of their kids for the summer, she accepts his offer and escapes rural Pennsylvania for New York City.

Usually grounded…


Book cover of Big Little Lies

Gillian Harvey Why did I love this book?

This book opens with Madeleine, one of the three central female characters, debating what it means to be 40.

Throughout the book, Moriarty certainly shows us that midlife needn’t ever be boring and that when women get together, they can be unstoppable.

We may not want to be part of this community of lies and half-truths, but we’re rooting for them all the way.

By Liane Moriarty,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Big Little Lies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*Published as BIG LITTLE LIES in Australia and the United States*

Liane Moriarty, million copy selling author of The Husband's Secret brings us another addictive story of secrets and scandal.

Jane hasn't lived anywhere longer than six months since her son was born five years ago. She keeps moving in an attempt to escape her past. Now the idyllic seaside town of Pirriwee has pulled her to its shores and Jane finally feels like she belongs. She has friends in the feisty Madeline and the incredibly beautiful Celeste - two women with seemingly perfect lives . . . and their…


Book cover of That Bonesetter Woman

Gillian Harvey Why did I love this book?

It can be hard to be a woman in a perceived ‘man’s world’ in the 21st century, so imagine how kickass you had to be to work in a ‘man’s profession’ in Georgian times?

In Frances Quinn’s uplifting novel, Endurance Proudfoot (Durie) proves the naysayers wrong by becoming one of England’s most celebrated bonesetters.

By Frances Quinn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked That Bonesetter Woman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'What a heroine Endurance Proudfoot is! I loved her from the start. An unconventional woman who takes us on a fascinating - if bumpy - ride through a man's world. I laughed, cried and most of all cheered! Can't stop thinking about it... an absolute cruncher of a tale' Janice Hallett, author of The Appeal

'A complete joy of a novel that, like it's wonderful protagonist's namesake, is a story of endurance against all odds. Full of heart and so eloquently written, THAT BONESETTER WOMAN had me cheering Durie on from start to finish - I absolutely loved it' Susan…


You might also like...

The Oracle of Spring Garden Road

By Norrin M. Ripsman,

Book cover of The Oracle of Spring Garden Road

Norrin M. Ripsman Author Of The Oracle of Spring Garden Road

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Too often, I find that novelists force the endings of their books in ways that aren’t true to their characters, the stories, or their settings. Often, they do so to provide the Hollywood ending that many readers crave. That always leaves me cold. I love novels whose characters are complex, human, and believable and interact with their setting and the story in ways that do not stretch credulity. This is how I try to approach my own writing and was foremost in my mind as I set out to write my own book.

Norrin's book list on novels that nail the endings

What is my book about?

The Oracle of Spring Garden Road explores the life and singular worldview of “Crazy Eddie,” a brilliant, highly-educated homeless man who panhandles in front of a downtown bank in a coastal town.

Eddie is a local enigma. Who is he? Where did he come from? What brought him to a life on the streets? A dizzying ride between past and present, the novel unravels these mysteries, just as Eddie has decided to return to society after two decades on the streets, with the help of Jane, a woman whose intelligence and integrity rival his own. Will he succeed, or is…

The Oracle of Spring Garden Road

By Norrin M. Ripsman,

What is this book about?

“Crazy Eddie” is a homeless man who inhabits two squares of pavement in front of a bank in downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia. In this makeshift office, he panhandles and dispenses his peerless wisdom. Well-educated, fiercely intelligent with a passionate interest in philosophy and a profound love of nature, Eddie is an enigma for the locals. Who is he? Where did he come from? What brought him to a life on the streets? Though rumors abound, none capture the unique worldview and singular character that led him to withdraw from the perfidy and corruption of human beings. Just as Eddie has…


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