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Sunny Gale: A Novel

Sunny Gale: A Novel

By Jamie Lisa ForbesPublisher: Pronghorn PressISBN: 9781941052723Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, General FictionPrice: $23.95
Available from: Amazon

It's 1895 and fourteen-year-old Hannah Brandt is struggling with pioneer life on a new Nebraska homestead. When her imagination is captured by a wild filly, she becomes obsessed with horses, which opens the door to her destiny. Just four years later she enters the first Cheyenne Frontier Day rodeo where she wins the relay race and her fate is sealed. She gives herself a new name, Sunny Gale, and pursues a rodeo career, much to the disgust of her young husband and her very proper mother. Sunny defies convention with every move as the drive to compete takes over her life, leaving everything else behind, including husbands and children. It is a rough life she has chosen, but she craves the glory of the spotlight and refuses to bow to the expectations for a woman in her time.

Award winning author Jamie Lisa Forbes has once again brought us complex characters in a story based on real women and the early days when rodeo was wide open for them to become stars. It is a story of the social mores of the times and of a woman determined to defy them no matter how high the personal cost or where that choice might take her.

Jamie Lisa Forbes was raised on a ranch in the Little Laramie Valley near Laramie, Wyoming. She attended the University of Colorado where she obtained degrees in English and philosophy. After fourteen months living in Israel, she returned to her family’s ranch where she lived for another fifteen years. In 1994, she moved to Greensboro, North Carolina. In 2001, she graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Law and began her North Carolina law practice. Forbes’ first novel, Unbroken, won the WILLA Literary Award for Contemporary Fiction in 2011. Her collection of short stories, The Widow Smalls and Other Stories, won the High Plains Book Awards for a short story collection in 2015. Forbes’ novel of rural North Carolina in the segregation era, entitled Eden, was published in 2020. Her historical novel about women bronc riders in the early days of rodeo, entitled Sunny Gale, was published in May 2024 by Pronghorn Press. Forbes continues to live and write in North Carolina.


In Forbes’ historical novel, a woman fights for the right to compete in rodeos–and becomes a star in the process….Forbes is an experienced author and her latest novel is beautifully, even poetically, written with well-developed characters….A moving, memorable and fully realized rodeo saga.

Kirkus Reviews, starred

Sunny Gale is a wonderful book….The story also takes the reader on a wild ride through this woman’s life, including her marriages, her children, and her budding career filled with numerous successes and many terrifying and heartbreaking dangers….The dialogue is excellent, and the descriptive writing makes one feel that they are really in the wilderness trying to survive, or in the rodeo ring trying to win….Sunny Gale is exciting, well-written and developed, and will make the reader laugh and cry throughout….I would highly recommend the story to all…. a wonderful example of a story that will pull readers into a new world…

Kathy Stickles for Feathered Quill Book Reviews

…Forbes showcases her remarkable storytelling skills, promising readers an unforgettable experience. Prepare to embark on an exhilarating journey as you dive into the captivating world of rodeo, filled with heart-pounding excitement and profound emotions. Get ready for the gripping narrative to sweep you off your feet and be prepared to fully immerse yourself in the magic of Sunny Gale.

Suzie Housley for Mid West Book Review.