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“A man could tell a lot about another man's station in life

by his footwear. Or a woman's.”

                                                                     Leaving Independence

Abigail Baldwyn may not be a widow after all...


Ever since she received word that her husband, Robert, was killed in the Civil War, Abigail has struggled to keep her Tennessee home and family together. Then a letter arrives claiming that Robert isn't dead, yet he has no plans to return. Desperate for answers, Abigail travels to Independence, Missouri, where she joins a westbound wagon train to find him.

Leading a company along the Oregon Trail isn't part of Hoke Mathews' plans. But then the former cavalry scout gets a glimpse of Abigail--so elegant compared to the rest of their hardscrabble wagon community, yet spirited and resilient. Through every peril they encounter--snakebites, Indian raids, fevers, dangerous grudges--his bond with Abigail grows.

Abigail knew this journey would test her courage. Now it's testing her marriage vows and her heart, daring her to claim a future on her own terms in a land rich with promise.

“Leanne Smith hits all the right notes in her debut novel, Leaving Independence. She sucks the reader into the mystery at the heart of the story...but it’s the deeply compelling characters and the rich historical setting that grab hold and won’t let go. This is master storytelling at its finest.”


author of the Bohemian Gospel trilogy

“Leaving Independence is one of those rare books I couldn't put down. The courage and beauty of Abigail Baldwin are matched by the all-American romance and adventure of the untamed west, an appeal that beckons us to simmer under the scorching sun while breathing the dry dust of the trail.”


author of Flying Flak Alley: Personal Accounts of World War II Bomber Crew Combat

“This epic tale gripped my imagination and never let go. Leanne’s inaugural literary effort is well researched, skillfully constructed, and full of noteworthy trivia. I was educated about a reticule, why mule teams are preferred over horses as draft animals, a surefire way of keeping weevils out the sugar sack, and how critical it is to keep a woman's flowers watered.”


co-author of The Awakening of HK Derryberry: My Unlikely Friendship with the Boy Who Remembers Everything

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