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Fall in Love With Midlife: 20 Must-Read Books to Explore This February

Fall in Love With Midlife: 20 Must-Read Books to Explore This February

Fall in Love With Midlife: 20 Must-Read Books to Explore This February

Welcome to February, a month to celebrate love, growth, and self-discovery. For women in midlife, it’s an opportune time to indulge in the magic of literature that resonates with their experiences, challenges, and triumphs. Whether you’re navigating new paths or rediscovering forgotten passions, these 20 books curated for women in midlife will inspire, empower, and captivate your heart.

All About Love: New Visions

“The word ‘love’ is most often defined as a noun, yet we would all love better if we used it as a verb,” writes bell hooks as she comes out fighting and on fire in All About Love. Here, at her most provocative and intensely personal, renowned scholar, cultural critic and feminist bell hooks offers a proactive new ethic for a society bereft with lovelessness–not the lack of romance, but the lack of care, compassion, and unity. People are divided, she declares, by society’s failure to provide a model for learning to love.”

Fall in Love With Midlife: 20 Must-Read Books to Explore This February

The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen

A haunting family drama that unfolds in a dark, hidden basement, exploring themes of love, sacrifice, and the power of secrets.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

A captivating and enchanting novel that spans centuries, exploring the extraordinary life of Adeline “Addie” LaRue. In 1714 France, Addie makes a Faustian bargain with a dark deity, trading her soul for immortality. However, there is a catch – no one she meets will remember her after they part ways.

Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat

A romance unexpectedly sparks between two wounded friends. A marriage ends for what seem like noble reasons, but with irreparable consequences. A young woman holds on to an impossible dream even as she fights for her survival. Two lovers reunite after unimaginable tragedy, both for their country and in their lives. A baby’s christening brings three generations of a family to a precarious dance between old and new. A man falls to his death in slow motion, reliving the defining moments of the life he is about to lose.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. Follow Eleanor Oliphant’s journey towards self-discovery and connection in a heartwarming and unconventional narrative.

Fall in Love With Midlife: 20 Must-Read Books to Explore This February

A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman

Delve into the life of the grumpy but endearing Ove as he navigates unexpected friendships and the transformative power of love. Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

The Women in the Castle” by Jessica Shattuck

Set against the backdrop of post-World War II Germany, this novel follows the lives of three women and explores themes of resilience and rebuilding. Written with the devastating emotional power of The Nightingale, Sarah’s Key, and The Light Between Oceans, Jessica Shattuck’s evocative and utterly enthralling novel offers a fresh perspective on one of the most tumultuous periods in history. Combining piercing social insight and vivid historical atmosphere, The Women in the Castle is a dramatic yet nuanced portrait of war and its repercussions that explores what it means to survive, love, and, ultimately, to forgive in the wake of unimaginable hardship.

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

How far will you go to protect your family? Will you keep their secrets? Ignore their lies?

In a small town in Virginia, a group of people know each other because they’re part of a special treatment center, a hyperbaric chamber that may cure a range of conditions from infertility to autism. But then the chamber explodes, two people die, and it’s clear the explosion wasn’t an accident.

Fall in Love With Midlife: 20 Must-Read Books to Explore This February

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” by Gabrielle Zevin

A charming tale set in a bookstore, weaving together themes of love, loss, and the transformative power of books.

The Night Tiger” by Yangsze Choo

A captivating historical fantasy set in 1930s colonial Malaysia, blending mystery, folklore, and the bonds of fate. Quick-witted, ambitious Ji Lin is stuck as an apprentice dressmaker, moonlighting as a dancehall girl to help pay off her mother’s Mahjong debts. But when one of her dance partners accidentally leaves behind a gruesome souvenir, Ji Lin may finally get the adventure she has been longing for.

The Beekeeper’s Promise” by Fiona Valpy

A dual-timeline narrative intertwining the lives of two women, exploring love, resilience, and the indomitable spirit of survival. Heartbroken and hoping for a new start, Abi Howes takes a summer job in rural France at the Château Bellevue. The old château echoes with voices from the past, and soon Abi finds herself drawn to one remarkable woman’s story, a story that could change the course of her summer—and her life.

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats” by Jan-Philipp Sendker

A lyrical and poignant love story set in Burma, exploring the power of connection beyond time and space. When a successful New York lawyer suddenly disappears without a trace, neither his wife nor his daughter Julia has any idea where he might be…until they find a love letter he wrote many years ago, to a Burmese woman they have never heard of. Intent on solving the mystery and coming to terms with her father’s past, Julia decides to travel to the village where the woman lived.

Everything I Never Told You” by Celeste Ng

A powerful exploration of family dynamics, identity, and the impact of societal expectations on individual lives. Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. 

Conversations on Love: with Philippa Perry, Dolly Alderton, Roxane Gay, Stephen Grosz, Esther Perel, and many more

A thought-provoking exploration of the multifaceted and complex theme of love. The book compiles conversations with prominent personalities such as Philippa Perry, Dolly Alderton, Roxane Gay, Stephen Grosz, Esther Perel, and others, offering diverse perspectives on the various dimensions of love.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” by Rachel Joyce

A recently retired man living in a small English village. When Harold receives a letter from an old friend, Queenie Hennessy, who is terminally ill and living in a hospice far away, he decides to write her a brief note. However, he impulsively chooses to hand-deliver the letter himself.

The Lost Girls of Paris” by Pam Jenoff

Three women. One daring mission.

1946. One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal, Grace Healey finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Inside is a dozen photographs—each of a different woman. Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to Eleanor Trigg, leader of a network of female secret agents deployed out of London during the war. Twelve of these women were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance, but they never returned home.

“The Ten Thousand Doors of January” by Alix E. Harrow

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure, and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion

Several days before Christmas 2003, John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion saw their only daughter, Quintana, fall ill with what seemed at first flu, then pneumonia, then complete septic shock. She was put into an induced coma and placed on life support. Days later—the night before New Year’s Eve—the Dunnes were just sitting down to dinner after visiting the hospital when John Gregory Dunne suffered a massive and fatal coronary. In a second, this close, symbiotic partnership of forty years was over. Four weeks later, their daughter pulled through. Two months after that, arriving at LAX, she collapsed and underwent six hours of brain surgery at UCLA Medical Center to relieve a massive hematoma.

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot

Seventeen-year-old Lenni Pettersson lives on the Terminal Ward at the Glasgow Princess Royal Hospital. Though the teenager has been told she’s dying, she still has plenty of living to do. Joining the hospital’s arts and crafts class, she meets the magnificent Margot, an 83-year-old, purple-pajama-wearing, fruitcake-eating rebel, who transforms Lenni in ways she never imagined.

Last of Her Name by Mimi Lok

An eye-opening story collection about the intimate, interconnected lives of diasporic women and the histories they are born into. Set in a wide range of time periods and locales, including ’80s UK suburbia, WWII Hong Kong and contemporary urban California, the book features an eclectic cast of outsiders: among them, an elderly housebreaker, wounded lovers and kung-fu fighting teenage girls. Last of Her Name offers a meditation on female desire and resilience, family and the nature of memory.

As February unfolds, let these books become your companions on the journey of self-discovery, growth, and joy. Whether you seek inspiration, solace, or simply a captivating escape, these 20 books are sure to enrich your midlife experience and empower you to embrace the beauty of this transformative stage. Happy reading!

Fall in Love With Midlife: 20 Must-Read Books to Explore This February

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