Six Unparalleled Books About Life as an Older Woman

Read on to get recommended some books about the intricate, spunky lives of older women!

Adult Fiction Recommendations
Book jackets for Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal, Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn, and Dot & Ralfie by Amy Hoffman fill in hexagonal frames on a bright blue background. A graphic of an older woman sits at the bottom of the image.

Getting older is truly a blessing. Your life is rich because of all the experiences you have had in the past and exciting because of all the ones you don’t even know about looming on the horizon! But, if getting older and facing change at any point in your life begins to feel scary, you’re not alone. The beautiful stories illustrated in books will always have your back and be there to offer support for anyone at any age. Here are six enchanting books about or from the point of view of older women!

Inheritance from Mother by Minae Mizumura

Book jacket for Inheritance from Mother by Minae Mizumura. A sprig of white flower blossoms cuts through the middle of the cover with a green filter applied to it.

50-year-old French teacher Mitsuki Katsura’s husband is having an affair with a younger woman. If that wasn’t bad enough, Mitsuki cares for her 80-year-old mother, who acts like anything but the selfless, self-sacrificing Japanese mother culture would have her. Living with these two impossible truths, has Mitsuki worn and weary, secretly hoping for the day her mother passes and wondering if she is missing out on the freedoms her mature age could now afford her.

All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West

Book jacket for All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West. An impressionist image of a woman in a hat, orange shirt, green jacket, a beaded necklace, smokes a cigarette with rings in her ring and pinkie finger.

All Passion Spent follows the 80-year-old widow of Great Britain’s prime minister, Lady Slane, who is finished keeping up with the expectations the constituents of her late husband held for her. Defying the dotting, dutiful image of the prime minister’s wife and stern mother to her children, she leaves for a house in Hampstead. Lady Slane’s new freedom shocks her kids as she defaults on old, youthful ambitions and accumulates a roster of unorthodox companions. In this new phase of her life, Lady Slane rediscovers all she’s lost, conforming to society’s expectations.

Dot & Ralfie by Amy Hoffman

Dot Greenbaum and Ralfie Santopietro lived steadily and comfortably together for years, yet the detrimental effects of age are uprooting the foundation upon which they’ve built their lives. Ralfie’s knee replacement and Dot’s heart condition force them to reevaluate the accessibility of their home, their jobs, and the health of their relationship. Loving Dot harbors secrets, and due to the pain she’s facing, Ralfie grows unfriendly.

Book jacket for Dot & Ralfie by Amy Hoffman. Two older women embrace each other. One is in a floral sweater with her hair tied up in a clip, and the other is in a black sweater, matching her short, black hair.

They could move to a 55+ community, like Dot’s sister Susan suggests, but the two women find the attitudes of their prospective neighbors unacceptable to their queer love. Dot’s friend and past-lover Viola has shut herself away after a life-threatening fall, refusing to help. This stunning novel examines the painful struggles of aging, intersecting with the unique experiences of the LGBT+ community.

Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn

Book jacket of Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn. A drawing of a woman's hand in red holds a black knife. A pearl bracelet adorns on her wrist.

Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie are forced to retire from their life-long jobs at the Museum, a group of undefeated assassins, as their people-oriented skills become undervalued in the transition to technological prioritization. Yet, on a seemingly relaxing, all-expenses-paid vacation meant to celebrate their leave, the four assassins discover that the Board of the Museum has ordered their complete termination. To escape death and come out of their vacation alive, Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie must tap into their 40 years of work experience and depend on each other to survive, teaching the higher-ups that skill, talent, and spirit don’t die with age.

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal

In West London, law-school dropout and bartender Nikki has spent her entire life trying to escape the traditional rules of the Sikh community she grew up in. Now in her 20s, she is completely immersed in the freedoms Western life allows her. But when her father passes away, her family needs money, and Nikki impulsively accepts a job at the community center in a predominantly Punjabi community. She thinks she will be teaching creative writing, but a group of Sikh widows shows up expecting to learn English. One day, a widow brings a book of steamy stories to class, revealing to Nikki that her students are beacons of memories, experiences, and dreams. Nikki’s new goal with this class is to help these women embrace their fantasies and create a haven for them to express themselves unapologetically.

Book jacket for Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal. A purple silhouette of a temple is carved out against an ornately patterned background. At the bottom of the temple are rows of identical pink houses, and two women standing on either side of the roof in traditional Punjabi clothing.

Nikki urges the growing group of women to keep what they discuss confined within the walls of the class as a group of conservative young men patrols the community, called the Brotherhood. Yet, a scandal catches fire as erotic gossip, and the mysterious death of a young wife spreads throughout the community.

Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante

Book jacket of Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante. An older woman with gray hair and a black shirt stares off-center, the image getting blurry towards her head. White writing decorates the cover over her body.

Retired orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jennifer White is developing dementia and cannot render herself guilty or not guilty for the surgical murder of her best friend, Amanda. Amanda was found killed, with four fingers removed from one of her hands. The situation muddies the waters of Dr. White’s relationship with her caretaker and family because one can’t help but wonder if Dr. White’s dementia is a blessing in disguise, helping her hide an unspeakable truth.

These dazzling, nuanced reads above are perfect for any season of life. Put one – or all – of them on your TBR today!

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