Rocweiller: If your wife just wants a gun for recreational shooting, get her a Browning Buck Mark 22. That's what I did for my wife and she loves shooting it....No recoil and is accurate. Plus, the ammo is very reasonable compared to the higher caliber rounds such as 9mm, 40 or 45. Like I said, this is a fun gun and will last you a long time. We have already been through 1200+ rounds.
Now, if she wants a very good first 9mm. I also bought my wife a Stoeger Couger 9mm, Model 8000. This gun is really a Beretta, made in Turkey with Beretta tooling. The design of the barrel helps very much to lower the recoil. It is a mid-sized handgun and has an awesome feel in your hand. My wife loves shooting it and doesn't notice the recoil at all... You can get these at Academy Sports with 4-mags, at approx. $400. I believe it's a bargin for a very nice gun.
Then again, you should get a dozen other opinions here from the Clock, Sig, CZ, H&K, S&W, ect fans. I'm new to shooting and handguns...so what do I know...Ha.
Best wishes....Be SAFE #!.