A WOMAN who lost her boyfriend to cancer has written a book set in Oxford to help her through the grieving process.

Katherine Markland’s book, 'If Only He’d Told Her' is a fictional story based largely on her own experiences of loss.

The main character Emma, 32 is struck by grief after she loses her boyfriend Mark to cancer, but the book unravels the complications in their relationship.

The story begins at Mark’s funeral and moves through time. The plot follows the characters through their lives in Oxford, Bristol, and Belfast, their travels round Jordan, and accompany Emma on another journey; to untangle a complex relationship overshadowed by terminal illness.

Oxford Mail: The Grand Cafe. Google Maps.

Now Ms Markland lives in Dorset with her two cats, but between 2002 and 2004 Ms Markland lived with her boyfriend on Mill Street in Osney in Oxford. She decided to set a lot of the book in Oxford to draw comparisons to her own life and write about her loved memories.

She said she 'loved' living in Oxford and that is it 'just a lovely place to live'.

Ms Markland explained that writing the book helped her deal with the grieving process after her boyfriend passed away and it served as an outlet when she felt unable to talk to anyone about her grief. 

She said: “I am a very private person, and I am not very good at talking to people, so this was in a way an outlet for me. At the same time, the whole issue of death and terminal illness is not something people talk about. 

Oxford Mail: If Only He'd Told Her Cover

"I wanted to get it out there to say 'it is alright and you feel rubbish but everyone else does too'.”

Popular pubs, restaurants, cafe's and a Jericho cinema are scene setters in the book with Wytham Woods, The White Heart Pub and also the iconic Grand Café making regular appearances in the story. 

The Trout Inn at Wolvercote and Christchurch Meadows, and the outdoor pool and bird pond at New Hinksey are also named dropped as destinations in the book. 

She said: “In the book there is also quite a few mentions of the Grand Café because I absolutely love it. At every opportunity we went there."

It took Ms Markland a few years to write the book after her boyfriend passed away.

She said:“I didn’t start the book straight away although it happens in 2004. I didn’t start writing the book until 2008 and then it took me until 2012 to write it. Then I spent four years to find an agent to publish it and could not find anything, so I found a self- publishing company.”

The book will be available to buy from August 27 in both print and e-book editions. 

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