I know you said you perfer auto, but I'll talk about revolvers anyway.
I personally have a ruger SP101. Its smaller then the GP, and, again personally, I think it looks damn good. If she can handle the trigger of a double action revolver, I would start there. The SP is heavy which might scare her at first, but with .38 specials there is almost no recoil, its like shooting .22. I also personally feel safer with a revolver with "1 in the chamber" then I do a semi auto.
The SIG 226 is another good one, I have on of those also. 9mm in this gun has a little more felt recoil then the SP with .38s. The SIG has a decocker that allows you to put one in the chamber, and drop the hammer, leaving the gun in a rest mode rather then rely on safeties to hold the firing pin back. I may get flamed for that one, but I don't feel comfortable leaving the firing pin in a 'ready to go' position for extended amounts of time. It can't feel good for the gun either, I mean, can guns get blue balls? Being cocked and locked without firing anything has to suck.