Sunny Gale

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Hannah’s life-long tale starts out when she’s a young teen, just having moved to a ranch in Wyoming in the late 1890s. At the ranch, she develops a new interest in horses, which is sparked by a wild filly that roams near her home. The interest grows, and eventually she talks a boy into teaching her how to ride. She becomes a cowgirl against her mother’s wishes and starts doing rodeos, debuting as “Sunny Gale,” riding broncos and doing other performances. She loves the adrenaline rush that comes with being on a horse, and she can’t imagine life without it. Over and over again, she proves that, when given the choice to follow a womanly calling or keep up the rodeo life, she’ll choose the latter. The thrill, fame, and glory of being a rodeo girl is a life that’s hard to give up.

This is a wonderful fictional peek into the life of a rodeo woman. It is a rare piece of work, and one that you’re not likely to find a similarity to, as there are few books, fiction or non-fiction, that talk about women in the early rodeo world. Author Jamie Lisa Forbes also highlights Wyoming in the work. It is one of the least populated states in America, overshadowed by its gloried counterparts. But Forbes shows that it’s an interesting state with its own equally fascinating history.

Hannah is not a particularly likeable protagonist, but she is a realistic one. Her tale is one of grit and determination. She makes questionable choices many times, and in many respects, she has a very hard life. She risks her life in the ring, suffering the odd riding injury, and numerous times she is taken advantage of by wicked men. The choices she has to make are never easy, but she sees things in black and white. While her decisions sometimes seem selfish, it’s evident that Hannah believes that being a rodeo girl is who she is and that if she gives up that life, she might as well be nothing. But her life impacts a lot of others, and she doesn’t always see that.

Though some of Hannah’s issues are specific to her time period, her saga serves as a poignant, timeless reminder of the complexities that lie beneath the surface of seemingly glamorous pursuits. Those who have an interest in historical fiction and historic women’s rights will find this book enlightening. It’s an eye-opening read and an evocative mixture of fact and fiction.

Reviewed By:

Author Jamie Lisa Forbes
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 342 pages
Publisher Pronghorn Press
Publish Date 15-May-2024
ISBN 9781941052723 Buy this Book
Issue May 2024
Category Historical Fiction