By Rachel Lankester, Editor

Do you need some great ideas for your summer reading? Here are some books I’ve loved recently that I think you will too. I often invest in both the audio and ebook versions so that I can switch between the two! I love to ‘read’ a book while going on a long walk! Two birds in one – exercise and inspiration!

Lessons In Chemistry

I don’t often read novels and they have to come highly recommended for me to invest the time. I devoured Lessons in Chemistry, alternating between the Kindle and Audible versions on long walks. It is a brilliant book and I loved it!

Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute take a very unscientific view of equality.

This book is just sublime. I bought it for my mum and she said she though it was the best book she’d ever read!

The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue

This book was recommended by a social media contact and had been on my kindle for ages. I finally took the plunge and really enjoyed it. It’s a bit too long but compelling nontheless. I invested in the audiobook so I could get through it more quickly on my walks. 

When Addie La Rue makes a pact with the devil, she is convinced she’s found a loophole―immortality in exchange for her soul. But the devil takes away her place in the world, cursing her to be forgotten by everyone.

This is a book I couldn’t not finish even though it did go on a bit. But I wanted to find out what happened to Addie. An interesting look at a long, forgotten life, and yet how we can all make a difference if we’re creative enough!

The Four Winds

I really loved this book and I don’t read much fiction as I’ve said. This one recommended by a podcast guest. It was very powerful and evocative, and featuring strong women characters which I always love.

Texas, 1934. Elsa Martinelli had finally found the life she’d yearned for. A family, a home and a livelihood on a farm on the Great Plains. But when drought threatens all she and her community hold dear, Elsa’s world is shattered to the winds.


Rich with the combination of myth, landscape and eco-feminism that took her earlier work If Women Rose Rooted to cult status, Hagitude reclaims the mid years as a liberating, alchemical moment – from which to shift into your chosen, authentic and fulfilling future.

Drawing inspiration from mythic figures and archetypes ranging from the Wise Woman and the Creatrix to the Henwife and the Trickster, as well as modern mentors, Sharon Blackie radically rewrites the future for women in their mid and elder years.

This was such a new way of looking at our elderhood for me. I loved it!

Listen to Sharon Blackie on the Magnificent Midlife Podcast

Walking With Nomads: One Woman’s Adventures Through A Hidden World From The Sahara To The Atlas Mountains 

Can’t go on an adventure this summer? Read this instead! I discovered this book because I interviewed the author Alice on my podcast and I’m so glad I did! Accompanied only by three Amazigh Muslim men and their camels, Scottish explorer Alice Morrison set off to find a hidden world.

During her journey along the Draa river, she encountered dinosaur footprints and discovered a lost city, as well as what looked like a map of an ancient spaceship, all the while trying to avoid landmines, quicksand and the deadly horned viper. For armchair and real adventurers everywhere!

Listen to Alice Morrison on the Magnificent Midlife Podcast

The Change

I’ve had The Change on my Kindle for ages as one of the first of a new batch of menopause fiction. I realised I’d been avoiding it because while I was interested, I feared it would be more doom and gloom about the change. But it isn’t! It’s actually fiercely empowering, highly entertaining and I couldn’t put it down. The perfect holiday read in fact. Highly recommended! I’ve long considered menopause to bring us more gifts than issues, if we choose to see it that way and can get help with the problems it may bring. This book is a true celebration of older women and our power!


Circe is such a fearsome woman! A real badass! I’d heard vaguely about her, but this is a fabulous journey into her life. And a chance to learn more about the Greek myths too. This book is a real page-turner.

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. Circe is a strange child – not powerful and terrible, like her father, nor gorgeous and mercenary like her mother. Scorned and rejected, Circe grows up in the shadows, at home in neither the world of gods or mortals. But Circe has a dark power of her own: witchcraft.

When her gift threatens the gods, she is banished to the island of Aiaia where she hones her occult craft, casting spells, gathering strange herbs and taming wild beasts. Yet a woman who stands alone will never be left in peace for long – and among her island’s guests is an unexpected visitor: the mortal Odysseus, for whom Circe will risk everything.

The Power Decade: How To Thrive After Menopause

I was absolutely delighted to be included in this book as one Susan’s power women! That’s not the only reason I’m recommending it here – it’s a great empowering and useful read.

In The Power Decade, health coach and age-well advocate Susan Saunders presents a comprehensive guide to wellness for women in their 50s and 60s. She interviews medical experts and reveals stories of inspiring women who are powering up post-menopause. Also included are impactful, practical tips – on mindset, meals and movement – so you can create your own power decade. Brilliant!

Listen to Susan Saunders on the Magnificent Midlife Podcast

Working Daughter: A Guide To Caring For Your Aging Parents While Making A Living

Caring for others is something likely to impact us all. It’s something that’s increasingly a part of my life as my mum gets older. It’s not always easy and Working Daughter is a book I wish I’d discovered sooner! It’s a revelatory look at who’s caring for our aging population and how unpaid family caregivers are trying to manage caring for their parents, raising their children, maintaining relationships, and pursuing their careers.

It follows the author, who was enjoying a fast-paced career in marketing and raising two children when both of her parents were diagnosed with terminal illnesses on the same day. In the challenges she faced and the choices she made, readers will learn how they can navigate their own caregiving experiences and prepare for when they are inevitably called on to care for their parents.

Listen to Liz on the Magnificent Midlife Podcast

If Women Rose Rooted: A Life-Changing Journey To Authenticity And Belonging

Having read Hagitude, I had to read the book that came before. If Women Rose Rooted has been described as both transformative and essential.

Sharon Blackie leads the reader on a quest to find their place in the world, drawing inspiration from the wise and powerful women in native mythology, and guidance from contemporary role models who have re-rooted themselves in land and community and taken responsibility for shaping the future.

I love Sharon’s approach to looking at the world which is so refreshing for me! Just completely different to anything I’ve encountered before and so inspiring!

Rachel Lankester is the founder of Magnificent Midlife, author, host of the Magnificent Midlife Podcast, a midlife mentor and editor of the Mutton Club online magazine. After an initially devastating early menopause at 41, she dedicated herself to helping women vibrantly transition through the sometimes messy middle of life, helping them cope better with menopause and ageing in general, and create magnificent next chapters. She’s been featured in/on BBC Woman’s Hour, The Huffington Post, The Sunday Times, Thrive Global, Authority Magazine, The Age Buster, Woman’s Weekly, Prima Magazine, eShe, Tatler HK and Woman’s Own amongst others. She believes we just get better with age. Get her book Magnificent Midlife: Transform Your Middle Years, Menopause and Beyond which was recommended in the New York Times.

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Last Updated on May 23, 2024 by Editorial Staff

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