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The Horse Mistress: Book 1

(The Eburosi Chronicles #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  811 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
**Book One of the 2016 Rainbow Award winning poly romance series**

Her secret could save her people. It will also destroy her life.

Carivel was born female, but she has been secretly living as a boy for years in her adoptive village of Draebard, doing a job the elders insist can only be done by a male.

The last thing she needs is to fall for not one, but two unattainable men—
Published (first published September 23rd 2015)
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~ Lei ~ Reading Is An Adventure ~
★★★★☆ ~ 4 Stars

This is one of those freebies that surprise you by being pretty darn good. Author has written a sensitive menage story about three different people who you wouldn't think would work, but they're well on their way by the end of this first story in a trilogy.

Carivel (Cara) escaped her village because women weren't allowed to work with horses, something she's very skilled at. So she's been hiding that she's actually a woman. But that's not all her secrets, she identifies as a male an
Sep 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am going to use gender-neutral pronouns for one of the characters, though they're not used in the book.

In Carivel's tribe, women aren't allowed to work with horses. Carivel doesn't usually think of zirself as a woman, and dresses as a boy to be assistant to the Horse Master. Zie has what she thinks are hopeless crushes on the eunuch priest Senovo and the warrior Andoc. Tragic circumstances bring them to try to seek an alliance with another tribe.

I liked that there was some focus on the charact
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hart by: Ariel Cowger
Very enjoyable book! It's a romantic and believable three-person love story with a solid fantasy-quest type of plot. It is definitely not a YA novel, but it's fun in the way that YA can be; the main characters don't fit into their world, and it seems likely that they will change their society over the course of the series.

The point-of-view character, Carivel, is nonbinary in my (cis) opinion, and uses female pronouns. To me the character is written with sensitivity, and her gender is only one p
Clare O'Beara
Carivel is a young woman who is forced to pretend she is a man by the Bronze Age style culture which forbids women from handling horses. Since she arrived at this village and apprenticed to the Horse Master, though, the horses have thrived. Then an attack by night kills some of the villagers including the Horse Master. Can Carivel keep her secret and live up to her training? I enjoyed particularly a scene where Carivel works the Monty Roberts magic on a fierce stallion. (If you don't know about ...more
3.5 to 4 stars

This was an interesting read. The series kind of breaks the mold. It is a medieval/Bronze Age style fantasy series that uses that medium to explore some pretty unique topics for a romance.

Carivel (Cara) is the MC - a woman who ran from her village because she desperately wanted to work with the horses and women were not allowed to do that. She identifies herself as a man (I guess the medieval equivalent of someone that would today become transgendered). She is disguised in her new
The following review was originally posted on my book blog The Book Challengers.

I actually started reading this book as it happens to be one of those freebies that has been sitting on my Kindle for an eternity and for a moment it seemed like something that I might enjoy at that particular moment. I quite enjoyed the fantasy-like background and the fact that our hero was born female but was trying their best to do what they loved despite the itsibitsy problem of having a female body but a male m
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked it. I happen to read a lot of amateur/new/self-published writers as well as I get free books at Kindle store and I must say that half of the time I am disappointed by the quality of books. It is hard to stumble upon something which is not too cliched, full of tropes or basically a retelling of another book.

Even though this book was not mind blowing or exciting in terms of the plot, the characters were pleasant and likeable, and I think this book deserves some love for executing a believ
Ciara Darren
This story hit several of my favorite themes: role-bending, fantasy, horses, social role negotiation, power exchange, and the characters filling in the empty spaces in each other. The protagonist doesn't necessarily identify as male or female, although they live as a male for their role in society and were born female. I appreciated that the situation was handled with such matter-a-factness by the two secondary leads and love interests. Beautiful horses and shape-shifting wolves did not hurt eit ...more
Sep 20, 2016 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, queer, fantasy
First one's free! I got the drm-free epub at Kobo. It's also at Amazon. September 20, 2016.

I am pleasantly surprised by the fact that there's an actual story before all the sex. =D The core idea is cool but the actual process is a bit rough. Narrator does a nice job of making the overall story more cohesive. I like the relationship developing between the three main characters, but find it hard to swallow some of the details about the setting and characters.

This series is part of the Romance package on Audible. I'm going to gobble up as many books as possible and try stuff
Melissa Wingard
Wow! I was not expecting the steamy scenes. A bit crazy and VERY adult.
Mar 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished listening to this story a few days ago, and I had to give myself time to consider my best response. The short answer is that I *really* liked this story. It has a lot of elements that shouldn’t work, and yet it does quite well.

The plot of the story is that our 3 lead characters are all important people in their village. When the village gets attacked, they got to a neighbor to recruit help for the war that is sure to come. Each of them shows strength and weaknesses with each other and
Dec 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was super gratifying to read about a nonbinary protagonist saving the day and finding love with not one but two people. Assigned female at birth, Carivel has spent the last several years passing for a boy. When asked by her traveling companions and future lovers whether she'd prefer they continue to treat her as male, she is very touched by their unexpected offer but chooses female pronouns (fortunately for future-plot). Her partners respect her desire to be understood as a man's spirit insid ...more
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This series has been on my wishlist for a while now, as it sounded like a series I would enjoy. When I won a copy of the the box set containing the entire series I was determined to finally get around to reading it. It still took me a while longer, but I finally picked up book 1 now and I am glad I did as I really enjoyed this one.

The Horse Mistress Book 1 takes place in a fantasy world on the island Eburos. It follows the story of Carivel, who is a women, but disguises herself as a man so she c
I enjoyed this way more than I thought it would. It's a romance set in a fantasy world involving two men, one of which is an eunuch, and a woman who is struggling with her gender identity. I liked the fact that it had real substance to the plot despite the heavy focus on the romance. For some reason when I started this I thought it was erotica. However, aside from one scene at the end there aren't any sexual scenes although sex and sexuality are discussed throughout the book. I immediately read ...more
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I got this as the complete series in audible format. While it generally was an interesting storyline and it had a bit of western and paranormal aspects in it, what I really was looking for was something a bit more... I don't know... something with a little more umph to it. I was first attracted to this book because of the ménage aspect and I also seem to side on the one female and two guys angle, it just didn't live up to what I was hoping for. I'll keep this one on the back burner and update it ...more
Jennifer Erwin
Mar 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know how I stumbled upon this book on Amazon, but I did, and I really liked it surprisingly. It's not a complete story, but where it ends was a good location. It has enough of a closure and depth to it, so that it doesn't feel like a serial novella. I enjoyed the character development and the interaction between themselves and the villages/townspeople around them. I don't normally like to read about this time period, but word play was just so rich that I was drawn right into the story. R ...more
Pépin Pomme
This book is very cliché. The main character especially, and many scenes with her and horses, are straight from horse books you give little girls.
It is saved by the humor, and by one of the love interest, who is so nice, natural and funny.
And the sex was really good.
But personally, I was uncomfortable with the straight woman worming her way in a already established relationship between two men.
This book is not the original and revolutionary story I was hoping for, even if it is fun and well writ
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For starters, if this book wasn't free when I got it from Amazon, I never would have discovered this amazing author R. A. Steffan, nor been so enthralled with this series. I'd looked at this book a few times, downloaded the sample, but day on it forever. Once I finally sat down and read book 1 completely, I was hooked. This story has so many twists and turns and adventure that you won't be bored; you'll probably want to just binge read the whole series.
Tully Vincent
Got this book free on Amazon and added the audio for a nominal price. This is TOTALLY NOT a case of you get what you pay for folks! This book is excellent, and the narration is perfect. I am definitely going to move on in this series.
FREE on Kindle 3/18/16
This is juuust barely a 2. I picked it up (free on Kindle) so I could read a queer poly relationship, and I did enjoy that part of it, but the story is otherwise pretty predictable and weak. The fantasy world of Eburosi is not that interesting, we only see a few scenes of the main character Carivel demonstrate her "horse mistress" skills (which imo was still a snooze), and there's some shape shifting? If you're going to read this book, my advice is to read it as a how-to on navigating an intimat ...more
Jason Duby
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Carivel is a young man who works as one of the assistants to the Horse Master of the village of Draebard…or so it would seem. The village is attacked in the night by the forces of the Alyrion Empire, and the young animal handler is soon placed in charge and sent on a mission. Accompanied by Andoc, the First Warrior and Senovo, a young priest…he is to go to the nearby village of the Mereni to seek an alliance. The trio soon find themselves in a growing relationship as secrets are revealed and th ...more
Kaye Mack
I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I started reading this book...

I really enjoyed the concept of what happens when males or females don't feel they fit into the typical stereotype role society has assigned them.
Carivel is born female, but doesn't feel like the other females, and would actually prefer to do the jobs only assigned to men, like look after the horses. According to the village priests "only male spirits are strong enough to control the spirits of animals. They cannot thrive unde
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-in-series
A Wonderful Delight

What a delight!

I haven't read Steffan before, but something called to me from the synopsis. Maybe the fact Carivel doesn't know where she belongs or the fact this is as much a story about trust as it a romance.

Whatever it was I'm glad I picked this up. The progression of Carivel's feelings felt natural; here was a girl who found a purpose in life, was largely content with it, but when presented with more gave it serious thought.

It's not that Carivel didn't want love or intimac
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alternate outlooks

The heart of this series is about a woman who, due to idealized gender roles, is forced to live as a man in order to have the job she does. Superstitions about how females affect horses would leave her unable to be near the animals she adores and understands so well. This leaves her rather lonely as dating would reveal her secret rather quickly. An attack on her village reveals her secret to 2 members of her village. But instead of outing her they respect her decision on her li
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let me start by saying this is an excellent book. And there are at least four books to read. This book is about three people living in a small village. Carivel is a young woman that loves horses but is unable to work with them because she is a woman. She has been masquerading as a man for the last three year as an apprentice to the tribe's Horse Master. The other two characters are Andoc, a warrior and Senovo, a enuch priest. Andoc and Senevo have a very close relationship as friends as well as ...more
Meh.... this was a kindle freebie and I still don’t know if it was worth the price.

What do you get when warrior, a priest and a horse master walk into a bar? A mediocre story with 2 dimensional characters and a lot of detail with little plot.

Carivel is a woman that’s living as man, feels as though she should have been born a man, but is attracted to men still. Senovo is a priest that was sold to the temple as a young boy and later castrated without his convent at 17, when he also realized he i
Jan 22, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Just meh on too many levels. Too much descriptive text without an interesting enough story line. Couldn’t get invested in the characters. Not enough depth in the writing style to flesh out the characters and give them more substance.

It’s about as interesting as a bad porn movie. I tried a couple of other books by this author which I wasn’t crazy about either. I tried this last one because it was involving horses and maybe there’d be some more story here.

Why torture myself? Because they were Ki
Helgaleena Healingline
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is well and truly a rainbow of tolerance. All three of the lovers are misfits in their own fashion in the city state, but their quirks turn out to be the very means of their compatibility, and vital to saving their people.

One gets the strong intimation that this trio of heroes will be the stuff of Eburosi legend, by the end of the adventure series.

Meanwhile, the small but important details of their lives are told with skill and drama. Each of them is still becoming an adult, though the mas
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USA Today bestselling author R. A. Steffan lives in a very boring (but pretty) part of flyover country in the Midwestern US. When she’s not busy writing stories about people loving each other in all sorts of different and interesting ways, she can be found taking care of her small menagerie of critters.

A rebel to the core, she is currently sticking it to the man by illegally harboring ducks within

Other books in the series

The Eburosi Chronicles (9 books)
  • The Horse Mistress: Book 0 (The Eburosi Chronicles, #0.5)
  • The Horse Mistress: Book 2 (The Eburosi Chronicles, #2)
  • The Horse Mistress: Book 3 (The Eburosi Chronicles, #3)
  • The Horse Mistress: Book 4 (The Eburosi Chronicles, #4)
  • The Lion Mistress: Book 1 (The Eburosi Chronicles, #5)
  • The Lion Mistress: Book 2 (The Eburosi Chronicles, #6)
  • The Lion Mistress: Book 3 (The Eburosi Chronicles, #7)
  • The Dragon Mistress: Book 1 (The Eburosi Chronicles, #8)