Originally published: 13 May 2021
Author: Josie Lloyd
Published by: HQ Stories
Length: 448 pages
Reading dates: 17-21 May 2021
Sometimes we need our friends to help us find our feet…
When Keira first receives her breast cancer diagnosis, she doesn’t want to have to tell her family, or step back from work. She doesn’t want to sit in a hospital, or be part of a group of fellow cancer patients. Cancer is not her club.
But as she accepts that her health is no longer something she can rely on, Keira finds herself embracing running. And running in the company of a group of brilliant, funny women each going through treatment unexpectedly gives Keira the hope she needs.
Because the C-word is not going to define Keira’s identity. And with the Cancer Ladies’ Running Club cheering her on, she’s going to reclaim her life.
One step at a time.
I picked up a proof of The Cancer Ladies’ Running Club by Josie Lloyd at the HQ New Voices Fiction Showcase which I attended in late January 2020 (I miss book events!) and I was lucky enough to meet and chat to Josie and she was lovely. Originally due for publication in June 2020, I’m so glad to have read this story!
Keira is a busy working mum in her late 40s when a routine mammogram, shows she has breast cancer. She is devastated and terrified but finds strength and courage from a group of other women at various stages of their cancer journeys who form a small running club. There is Tamsin, heavily made up with tattoos and lots of attitude who is the driving force behind the group; Amma a glamorous actress who is undergoing chemo and Sian who has finished her treatment but feels a little lost now her cancer is cured.
The story tells the story of Keira’s diagnosis and treatment, the mastectomy, the chemo and radiotherapy and how she still has to juggle her home life and work. It looks at how she feels and how other people deal with her diagnosis from her kids and her husband to her mum. But the linchpin of the story is the love and support of her new friends – I loved how they support and encourage each other.
I loved this story. Some of the characters were frustrating especially when they weren’t as supportive of Kiera as I thought they could be but actually it felt realistic – I can imagine my kids being worried for me if I had cancer but still probably wouldn’t lift a finger to help at home! I also liked how it gave a blow by blow account of her journey through cancer – her feelings and frustrations as well as the pain and side effects of chemo. She doesn’t sugar coat it at all and I think it is good to be reminded of what cancer is really like.
A moving and uplifting read, Josie Lloyd wrote The Cancer Ladies’ Running Club after her own diagnosis from breast cancer and the friendships she made after joining some women to run and then taking part in the Brighton Marathon 10K. An inspiring and wonderful tale of friendship and girl power, I really enjoyed this.
And it made me check my boobs! I know it is something we should all be doing regularly but life is busy and I often forget. Here is a little reminder of what we should be looking for!
Many thanks to HQ Stories for my proof copy.
About the author:
Josie Lloyd’s first novel, It Could Be You, was published in 1997 and since then she’s written fifteen bestselling novels (as Joanna Rees and other pen names) including the number one hit Come Together, which she co-authored with her husband, Emlyn Rees, which was number one for ten weeks, published in twenty-seven 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 Hunt, The Very Hungover Caterpillar and The Teenager Who Came To Tea. They both live together in Brighton with their three daughters and their dog.
In 2017 Josie was diagnosed with breast cancer, picked up on a voluntary mammogram. She underwent an operation, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, during which she met a group of women with whom she ran with regularly. Despite all of them being affected by cancer, and being in the middle of chemo and completely bald herself, she entered and finished the Brighton Marathon 10K with her gang of running mates.
This amazing experience inspired her latest novel, The Cancer Ladies’ Running Club, which is to be published by HQ in May 2021.
Thanks to the amazing cancer treatment available here in the UK, Josie is restored to fine health and is now an Ambassador for The Sussex Cancer Fund. She believes that a mid-life shake-up has been no bad thing and that it’s possible to not just survive cancer, but to positively thrive because of the experience of going through it.
She hopes that her book will enlighten people who are – like she was – terrified even of the word ‘cancer’. She also hopes that it will bring comfort and hope to people who have been affected by this dreadful disease.