My wife went through several guns before she decided on a carry gun. She ended up with the S&W 642CT. She said she liked the way the CT grip fit her hand better than any other gun she tried or we had. She shoots and carries 148g HBWC ammo. The recoil is very, very mild. The choice of ammo and grip makes a big difference in the light weight 38 spl.
My wife does not like IWB. She likes the Galco FLETCH OWB and the Tommy Gun medium size fanny pack. She does not like to carry without a thumb snap, no matter how much I tell her that she is not going to lose her gun in holster that fits right.