Cordelia Hardcastle was no naÔve country maiden. She was a widow, had traveled around the world, and now managed to run a menagerie of animals. Her interest in zoological studies kept her busy and unconcerned of suitors. What bothered Cordelia was that her collection of beasts was not acting happy. She needed the help of a veterinarian. It was fortunate she met Donal Fleming.
Donal couldnít believe the woman ran up to an escaping elephant. For all she knew she could have been injured, or worse, killed. Donal was fae. He had the ability to communicate with animals. The reason for the elephantís escape was no mystery to him. He knew the woman was in no immediate danger, but that did not excuse her foolhardy behavior. He did not succeed in keeping his exasperation hidden and ended in offending the woman. Too bad for him that Donal did not understand women as well as animals, then he would have known that heíd piqued her interest as well.
Donal thrived when he was among the animals. His father was the Lord of the Forest, the son of Queen Titania. The otherworld is in his blood. Donal longed to be among his own and to eschew the mortal world not guessing he would encounter a woman who shared his passion for the animals.
This meeting between Cordelia and Donal is a good introduction of the characters and gives an idea of what the rest of the story holds for the reader. Although the exquisite detail from the author allows for vivid pictures in our minds it is this scene that all others are based upon. We see Donal, half-human half-fae living in a world where he feels uncomfortable. He does not quite understand the reasoning of his motherís people. He longs for the simplicity of a place untouched by man. Yet, he himself is proof of that place not existing. It is because his fae father, from the prequel The Forest Lord, needed to mate with a mortal that Donal is torn between two worlds. It seems, though, that Tir-na-Nog is not finished with this family.
Cordelia is accustomed to cages: Some of her own making, some by society. Her effort to subdue the elephant mirrors her own efforts to subdue the emotion that would overwhelm her were she to allow it. Her way of dealing with her disappointments and loss is to lock them away. Donal threatens this achievement with his inherent need to heal and she scrambles to gain control once again. But Cordelia becomes caught in a web spun by the fae and it looks as if Donal may no longer be within reach.
Lord of the Beasts by Susan Krinard is an intricately woven and well written fairy tale. The first half of the book is slow, the details are heavy, and the romance is light. But once Donal and Cordelia are forced into action the plot picks up and begins to move along at a quick pace.