One of our recommended books is The Bright Side Running Club by Josie Lloyd


A Novel of Breast Cancer, Best Friends, and Jogging for Your Life

Josie Lloyd’s fearless novel is a tribute to the power of the human spirit in the face of hardship, based on the author’s own experience with cancer and community.

When Keira first receives her breast cancer diagnosis, she never expects to end up joining a running group with three women she’s only just met. Totally blind-sided, all she can think about is how she doesn’t want to tell her family or step back from work. Nor does she want to be part of a group of fellow cancer patients. Cancer is not her club.

And yet it’s running – hot,

more …

Josie Lloyd’s fearless novel is a tribute to the power of the human spirit in the face of hardship, based on the author’s own experience with cancer and community.

When Keira first receives her breast cancer diagnosis, she never expects to end up joining a running group with three women she’s only just met. Totally blind-sided, all she can think about is how she doesn’t want to tell her family or step back from work. Nor does she want to be part of a group of fellow cancer patients. Cancer is not her club.

And yet it’s running – hot, sweaty, lycra-clad running in the company of brilliant, funny women all going through treatment – that unexpectedly gives Keira the hope she so urgently needs. Because Keira will not be defined by the C-word. And now, with the Cancer Ladies’ Running Club cheering her on, she is going to reclaim everything: her family, her identity, and her life.

One step at a time.

Moving, uplifting and full of hope, this is a beautifully crafted novel about love, family and the power of finding your tribe.

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  • Alcove Press
  • Paperback
  • February 2022
  • 352 Pages
  • 9781643859491

Buy the Book

$16.99 indies Bookstore

About Josie Lloyd

Josie Lloyd is the author of The Bright Side Running ClubJosie Lloyd’s first novel, It Could Be You, was published in 1997 and since then she has written 15 bestselling novels (under various pen names), including the number one hit Come Together, which she co-authored with her husband, Emlyn Rees, which was number one for 10 weeks, published in 27 languages and made into a Working Title film. Josie has also written several best-selling parodies with Emlyn, including We’re Going On A Bar HuntThe Very Hungover Caterpillar and The Teenager Who Came To Tea.


“Readers who enjoy Mary Adkins and Katherine Center will delight in this uplifting, feel-good story.”Booklist

“A pitch-perfect love letter to the power of friendship– honest, uplifting and straight from the heart.”—Jill Mansell, Sunday Times bestselling author of It Started with a Secret

“Brave, bold, Josie Lloyd has written an incredibly important book. Every woman should read it.”—Veronica Henry, award-winning author of A Wedding at the Beach Hut

“A searingly honest, but fiercely positive story about the importance of friendship and the power of hope told with Josie’s characteristic warmth and humour.”—Mike Gayle, Sunday Times bestselling author of Half a World Away

“I adore Josie Lloyd, I love her writing and you are in for an amazing, heart-breaking, inspiring treat – read this book.”—Jenny Colgan, bestselling author of The Bookshop on the Shore

“A story as honest as it is entertaining, and as funny as it is fearless. It made me believe in life, in love and in the power we all have to overcome the worst – an unmissable, hopeful and life-changing read.”—Katie Marsh, bestselling author of The Rest of Me

“A gorgeously bittersweet novel, unflinching and heart-wrenching – you will need tissues – yet full of warmth, wit and joy. I was cheering on The Cancer Ladies’ Running Club right to the finish line.”—Eve Chase, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Glass House

Discussion Questions

1. When Keira receives her cancer diagnosis, she doesn’t want to tell her family about her diagnosis. Do you think you would feel the same way? Is there an appropriate response to hard news or grief? Why or why not?

2. When Keira joins a running club, she meets a group of women who are all so different yet going through the same struggles. Which character in this book did you relate to and why?

3. Much of The Bright Side Running Club is about “finding your tribe.” What are some communities or hobbies that have gotten you through tough times?

4. This book discusses family, a running group, and “frenemies.” Discuss why each of these communities is important to Keira in her journey and how they guide her actions and emotions.

5. The Bright Side Running Club is different from most books featuring cancer because of its hopeful and inspiring ending. What other books have you read about a cancer diagnosis, and how did this compare?

6. This book is based on the author’s own experience with cancer and community. How did this shine through? Were there any parts of the book you could see the author’s influence?

7. What was the biggest message or lesson you took away from The Bright Side Running Club?




“Quick! It’s nearly time,” I shout, and we turn on the TV just as Jools Holland is counting down to midnight. The kids run in from the lounge. and I put my arms around Tilly, my eldest, and Jacob, my thirteen-year-old son, as we yell out the final three seconds at the top of our voices.
There are cheers and hugs as all twenty of us kiss each other happy New Year and quickly form a ragtag circle between the long wooden table and the wood-burning stove in the kitchen of Scout’s Suffolk farmhouse. After overlapping our hands to sing “Auld Lang Syne,” we all half sing and half laugh as Pooch, our dog, earnestly wags his tail like he’s trying to do a butt shimmy.

“We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for days of auld lang syne,” I bellow, bumping shoulders with the kids, my cheeks pink. Who knows what it means? It feels good to sing it.

Afterward, we break apart, and I fall into Tom’s arms. In all the mayhem, I haven’t been able to wish him happy New Year yet.

“Steady on,” my husband laughs, holding me up. “Have you been keeping up with Joss on the champagne?” We both know Joss can drink all of us under the table.

“Yep, but I love you,” I slur, looking up into his familiar face. He wears thick-framed glasses that make him look kind of distinguished and funky. His once-lustrous hair has thinned so much he now shaves his head, but he’s better-looking to me than ever—and definitely improving with age.

“I love you too, my Keira.” He runs his hands over my hair and looks into my eyes, then kisses me tenderly, and my heart melts, as it always does.

“Okay, okay, you two lovebirds, break it up,” Joss says. “There are children present. Honestly, you’re just as soppy as you were twenty years ago. You coming outside?” she asks me, in a meaningful way. A meaning not lost on Tom.

“Good idea to get some fresh air. I’ll put Bea to bed,” Tom says, letting me go and nodding to our youngest, who is heading for the cozy window seat with Pooch. Joss grabs three glasses of champagne and my arm, and we head for the back door. “Have fun. I’ll distract the teens,” Tom calls after us, and winks at me.


Outside, Scout joins me and Joss as we sit on the stone wall outside the kitchen. The huge garden is bathed in silvery shadows, and the stars twinkle in the black sky. Inside, through the steamed-up window, we can see Scout’s husband, Mart, lining up tequila shots. It’s going to be a long night.

“So a new year,” Joss says, lighting one of her thin menthol ciga- rettes. “What are we all going to change? Apart from the no smoking— which starts at daybreak.”

Scout and I laugh. She and I have known each other since our school days, but we became proper friends only when we both wound up at the same uni and she, Joss, and I were in halls together. The three of us became inseparable friends, and we shared a flat in Ladbroke Grove when we graduated, partying together through the midnineties. Scout and I stopped clubbing and smoking years ago when we got mar- ried and had babies, but Joss remains an eternal twenty-five-year-old. Every New Year, she swears she’s going to give it up, but she never does. I don’t mind, though, because it means I can still bum the occa- sional party cigarette off her. I check through the window to make sure that Tom really has distracted the teenagers. I can’t risk being caught by Tilly.

“You know me, I hate change,” I say as she hands the cigarette to me. I take a drag, squinting through the unfamiliar smoke. “And any- way, everything is just fine and dandy.”

“Now that you’re going to be Brightmouth’s retailer of the year,” Joss says in an excited voice. She’s referring back to the speech Tom gave over dinner, saying how proud he was that Wishwells, my shop, had been nominated for the award.

“Yes, well,” I say, handing the cigarette to Scout. “I haven’t actually won yet, but it’s good to be recognized for what we’ve achieved.”

“You’ll win it,” Joss says confidently, and I smile at her unwavering faith.

“What about you, Scouty? You happy living the dream?” I ask.

Scout left a high-flying city job five years ago and moved up here to this lovely patch of Suffolk to start a new life as a farmer. You’d never know from looking at her. She’s small, with a blonde bob, and she looks lovely tonight in her ancient Karen Millen velvet dress. She blows a stream of smoke out thoughtfully.

“It’s good, I think,” she says. “But if I’m honest, it gets lonely sometimes with just the alpacas for company. I don’t get to meet new people.” It’s true that she’s isolated up here, and I worry about her. Mart still commutes to London, so he’s away three nights a week, and her twin boys are in boarding school during term time.

“Oh, they’re overrated,” Joss says, though for a second I’m not sure if she’s referring to people or the alpacas. She works in a London PR agency and has to schmooze for a living. “Right, K? New friends?” She pulls a face. “Who has time for those?”

I nod and laugh in agreement. I already have a host of gorgeous women in my life—friends I’ve known for twenty years or even longer, like these two. Then there’s the staff in the shop, not to mention my suppliers and all my regular customers. My days are full of people. I don’t have room for anyone new.

“I get a lot of time alone to reflect,” Scout says, taking another drag and blowing a smoke ring toward the stars. She’s the only one of us who could ever do that.

“Uh-oh,” Joss jokes, pulling a face at me. “About what?”

“Well . . . don’t you ever wonder if this is it? The peak point of our lives?”

“And it’s all downhill from here?” I exclaim. “Don’t say that.” “But we’re all around halfway through.”
“We’re not even fifty. We’re going to be marching up mountains when we’re ninety,” I remind her. “Don’t start talking like this is the beginning of the end.”

“Exactly. We’ve still got it, right?” Joss says, and pulls a pout, look- ing at her reflection in the window, leaning forward to plump up her cleavage in her low-cut leather dress.

“Don’t you ever want to do something big—that makes a differ- ence?” Scout asks, handing the cigarette back to Joss. “You know . . . don’t you ever think about your legacy?”

“Your legacy will be a string of heartbroken toy boys,” I tease Joss.

“How exciting,” she says. She’s recently single, having finally dumped her useless long-term partner, and has found Tinder.

Scout’s face falls. She has a tendency to go all existential when she’s squiffy, and me and Joss always undermine her, but we’ve gone too far and I relent.

“I know what you mean, Scout, but personally, I’m happy. I really, really don’t want anything to change,” I tell her, grabbing her hand and Joss’s and kissing their knuckles. They laugh, knowing how sentimen- tal I am.

And I don’t. Right here, right now, surrounded by my best friends, I feel drunk and content. And yes, of course there are things I could improve, but on the whole, I’ve made good choices, I reckon. I’m lucky. I want my life to stay just as it is.