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Where It All Began (Manx Cat Guardians Prequel) by JP Sayle

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The King of the otherworld, Manannán, witnessing changes to how the love between those who chose differently was being accepted, intervened. Wanting the world to have love and hope eternally, ensuring that soulmates connected without restrictions regardless of the person they chose to love, he created the Manx Cat Guardians. Maximillian, born in the eleventh century, King of his kind, he struggled to always follow the rules King Manannán had laid down. Given no choice about his destiny like his fellow guardians, he’d been granted a Wiccan guide to aid him. Never having had any problems with his past charges, Maximillian finds himself struggling to get his current charge, King Óláfr the Black, to accept his soulmate Magnus, a lowly servant. The connection is strong between them, but the changing times that Manannán witnessed and the introduction of Christianity had Óláfr struggling to accept his soulmate. Ignoring the dire warning from Christina, his Wiccan guide, about interfering, Maximillian finds himself creating ripples from his actions with untold consequences that cause devastation. As he is left to wander this earth, his role irrevocably changed by his actions. He must now ensure promises that were made are honoured, no matter the length of time that passes. Can he help fulfil those promises made by another without breaking the rules again? Or will the souls searching for love be destined to never find each other? Only time will tell.

5 out of 5 (exceptional)

Independent Reviewer for Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

I am incredibly frustrated about this book! Not WITH the book, ABOUT this book. Let me try to explain. Reading books one and two, I was left with questions. Lots and lots of questions, mostly about how the Manx Cat Guardians came to be. I had high hopes that THIS book would answer those questions. BUT!!! While there IS a brief mention of why they were created (The King of the Otherworld created them to counteract the rise of the new religion, Christianity, and it's belief that same sex couples were against nature and therefore abhorrent) the book is more about Maximillian, the big white cat who arrived on the island, along with Aadan, to help Stuart and Joe. And how Maximillian became the bearer of not one soul, but two. So the questions I had were mostly NOT answered. And I'm still left with questions. This is where I get frustrated. Because I KNOW my mind is not happy, and that it still has questions, but I also know that I can't figure out what those questions are!! And if I don't know what those questions are, how is an author supposed to answer them, hmm??? So, once I got over my spit-your-dummy-out, throw-your-toys-out-the-pram and I'll-scream-and-scream-and-scream-until-I'm-sick kind of tantrum, here's what I thought about this book. I found THIS book, is, in my opinion, the best of the three! Viking Olafr (I've been pronouncing this Olfa) has feelings for Magnus, a lowly servant. He knows he shouldn't but he cannot fight them any longer and for one glorious night, Magnus is his. What follows is extremely painful reading. Not because of the writing but because you feel Olafr's pain. You feel every single heart wrenching torment, his decision, and what he has to do. It's exceptional writing, when you can feel so much pain. I cried for Olafr and Magnus I really did. I'm being vague, I know but I work hard NOT to give spoilers! Olafr and Maximillian have the majority voice, along with a young Aadan, when he was a child. Magnus does not have a say though. I did want him to, but when THAT happened, I'm so glad he didn't. That would have been too much, on top of Olafr's pain, I think. It gives you a little bit more about when Aadan and Maximillian landed on the island, and what the cat felt at finally coming home. It gives me an unhealthy need for book three! At least I hope there is book three, about Aadan and Greg, who appears in book two. Because, given the way I read that bit, and the way my mind ran away with itself, I have a feeling that book (I beg, PLEEEEEEEEEEEEZE let there be another book!) will be a far emotional and heart wrenching than the other two, and they weren't a picnic in the park either! The author's skill at her craft is growing, and it shows! So, even though I had a hissy fit, even though my (unvoiced) questions were not answered, and even though this is a MIGHTY painful read . . . 5 stars.

**same worded review will appear elsewhere**

* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and my comments here are my honest opinion. *

Let me introduce myself, my name is Jayne, I’m a lady of a certain age (50 in 2019, bites fingernails). I am an identical twin, the younger one of course by 7 minutes. I am married to a wonderfully complicated man or as he puts it, off his rocker Rob. We celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary this year. I have one daughter and currently one grandbaby.

I was born in the Isle of Man; this makes me Manx (not British or English). I moved to the UK for several years and as a child I lived in Italy for a while. But, the island calls to me. I love the sea and it’s only a stone’s throw from my home. The island is steeped in folklore and I have used some of this in my writing.

I have worked in the caring profession for 34 years and have been a hospital nurse manager, out of hours, for the past year and a bit. I made that decision to work part time nights so that I could pursue my lifelong dream of becoming a writer.

I have always believed that I could and would write a book, but life just seemed to get in the way. I took a senior nurse manager post several years ago. It just seemed to take over my life until I had nothing left.

I was offered an opportunity to have life coaching which I grabbed onto with both hands. When she asked me what I really wanted to do, the answer was writing. But we all know it’s not that simple, or so I thought. I was questioned as to why it couldn’t happen, then what could I do to make it happen. It was life changing for me.

So two years later, my career path has changed and so has my life. I found my happiness again in something that just brightens my day. Now I won’t say it’s been a breeze because it hasn’t been, but it has been fun and exciting. Oh, and the joy just fills me up.

I am asked a lot why did I chose to write a gay romance. The answer was easy it flowed out, to write something that was so different to what I was doing in my life. All the research I did said write about what you know, but that just wasn’t working for me for many reasons.

I went to a creative writing group (couldn’t recommend this enough for new writers); anyway the course leader gave me these words of advice. “Put your inner critic aside, put pen to paper and just write, don’t worry about what comes out, just write.” I was a bit, really that works, but I decided to give it ago and 6 weeks later I had this bones of my first book (113,000 words).

It’s unleashed a beast in my mind, now I can’t switch it off. I follow a lot of authors and I listen to them talking about their characters talking to them. I so get this now, I find myself muttering and talking at odd times. Waking at 3am in the morning with bits of story wanting a voice.

I have the second book all but written and the third book storyline ready to start. I think I’ll write different stuff as well but this seems to be where I’ve started.

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