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Leaving Independence

(Leaving Independence #1)

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  1,173 ratings  ·  165 reviews
Abigail Baldwyn might 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 wes
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Published June 21st 2016 by Brilliance Audio
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Leanne Smith Thank you, Ronda! I've finished a follow-up story to Leaving Independence called A Contradiction to His Pride that I hope to announce the release of s…moreThank you, Ronda! I've finished a follow-up story to Leaving Independence called A Contradiction to His Pride that I hope to announce the release of soon! This is the story of James Parker and Corrine Baldwyn.(less)
Leanne Smith Barbara, thank you for the kind words! My second novel, A Contradiction to His Pride, picks up right where Leaving Independence left off. This time, t…moreBarbara, thank you for the kind words! My second novel, A Contradiction to His Pride, picks up right where Leaving Independence left off. This time, the focus is on James Parker and Corrine Baldwyn. I hope to announce its release soon! So stay tuned...(less)

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Average rating 4.31  · 
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 ·  1,173 ratings  ·  165 reviews

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Karen R
Jun 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Dear Mrs. Baldwyn, it is my duty to inform you that your husband, Captain Robert Baldwyn, is not deceased as previously reported.”

When Abigail Baldwyn receives this letter that her 5-years dead husband Robert wasn’t killed in the Civil War after all and that he had no plans to return to her, she decides to head west to find him and resolve why he never came home. She is out of money, her home to be foreclosed and her children’s future at risk so what does she have to lose. Abigail leaves her l
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
Such rich characters in this debut novel!

Leaving Independence is about a young widow named Abigail Baldwyn. She lives in Tennessee near her family and with her long time friend Mimi. Abigail is compelled to journey west and sets out from Independence, Missouri with a wagon train.

The author does a nice job of painting the geography and including historical elements into the novel. The writing was solid and had me turning pages to know what would happen next in the story.

Back to the characters...
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Find this and other reviews at: https://historicalfictionreader.blogs...

I feel like I’m cheating a little in counting Leanne W. Smith’s Leaving Independence as my first book of 2019. Strictly speaking, I started the novel last year and while I meant to finish it before the ball dropped, time got away from me so here we are.

In the spirit of full transparency, I also want to note that I listened to the audio edition of this book and am very pleased with my decision to do so. Nicol Zanzarella has a
Janet Morris  Grimes
Jun 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a debut for novelist Leanne Smith! I measure the success of a book by how long it takes to 'get over it,' so to speak. And I'm still not over this story or these characters.

Abigail Baldwyn set out to recover whatever remains from the life she once knew, and in order to do so, she had to leave family and all comforts behind. In some ways, she was chasing a dream, dragging her kids along with her. No one could blame her.

But what she found instead along the journey was an appreciation for th
May 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved Leaving Independence! No greater compliment can be made than to say when you put a book down, you feel like you have left the characters waiting on you to pick the book up and let them complete their story. I have carried them with me throughout my day, wondering what will happen next! A historical fiction, a romance and a mystery all rolled up into one fantastic book! I am looking forward to Ms Smith's next book. ...more
Dec 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best Oregon Trail story I've read so far. I've read a few and find them interesting, but this one was more than that. Great writing, wonderful, charming characters, romance, wit, emotional dilemmas, suspense. Good dialogue, easy to follow story that didn't get sidetracked or too mushy. Enough about the antagonist to keep the reader on alert without diverging from the main story or divulging too much, just enough that the reader wasn't taken completely by surprise by the dénouement. It was always ...more
Cinamon Collins
Apr 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy a good historical fiction story and this fit the bill! Good characters that I found interesting, a compelling story if not predictable, and good writing.
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting book/idea of a husband who may or may not be missing during/after the Civil War. Makes one wonder, how many times did a person just move in order to change circumstances. The author takes us through the ordeals of the Oregon Trail.
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books

A book must meet certain criteria to receive 5 stars from me - Leaving Independence by Leanne W. Smith meets them all. The characters immediately came to life as whole, believable people; the writing was so descriptive I experienced the story more than read it; and the story had stayed on my mind long after finishing the book - left me wanting more and more. Luckily the author has written A Contradiction To His Pride, a continuation to the story! Highly recommend Leaving Independence a
Fiction Aficionado
Aug 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying read! Romance, tension, adventure, suspense, tragedy, triumph, community, humour: This novel had it all. I loved both the physical and the emotional journey the characters went on, I loved that the characters were so down-to-earth and authentic, I loved that they had such distinct voices, and I loved that the story unfolded so organically. In fact, excepting the few times that I felt the point-of-view switching was a bit excessive, this novel was pure r ...more
Jan 29, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was going to write out why I hated this book so much, but then I realized it wasn’t worth the effort.

A very very boring romance between two incredibly boring characters. The vaguely interesting plot was touched upon here or there, but would get sidetracked by the pathetic characters and their personal lives.

Oh and problematic takes on race for two different minority groups!

But you know what? I powered through because I had made it far enough to not turn back. Something something metaphor for t
Maureen Timerman
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
A book that reads like I’m watching a movie, and like a movie when you reach the end you often want to go on with their lives.
The book opens with meeting Abigail Baldwyn, she is out of money and about to lose her home, she has been a widow after her husband was killed in the Civil War, but now the bank won’t help and there is doubt her husband is dead? How could that be, and then she finds out where he is, contacts him out West and decides she has no choice but to take her four children and find
Kathy Steakley
May 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Leaving Independence is a Historical Fiction novel with a blend of history, romance, suspense and humor that drew me in from the first page. The story of Abigail Baldwyn, a strong, independent, faithful mother of four who learns her presumed dead husband might still be alive, is intriguing. The good dialogue, well developed characters, and unexpected twists make this a page turner for me. Hoke Mathews, who finds himself smitten with Abigail and feels compelled to watch over her family, transitio ...more
Lynne Young
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was recommended by an author I follow on Facebook and am I ever glad I took her advice! I believe this is a new author and this is her debut work. I loved it! I cannot wait for her next book. This one was so rich in descriptions you actually felt like you were part of the wagon train west.

What does one do when she discovers she is not the widow she thought she was? Well, she packs up her children, leaves her fancy lifestyle, and heads west to find her husband. But does she? Perhaps the
Jul 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm a little bit in love with Hoke Mathews myself. This was a marvelous story of one woman's journey west, four children in tow, to track down her wayward husband who may or may not have been killed in the Civil War. Abigail was just the right mixture of strong-willed, smart, genteel, and flawed. And Hoke was the perfect combination of rugged cowboy with a heart longing to belong. And the dog made it all the way out West! (I'm always worried about the dog.) I definitely recommend this book and l ...more
Sue Fernandez
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
Thank you to NetGalley and Waterfall Press. I couldn't put this book down, and it got in the way of things I "should've" been doing. I so enjoyed this historical fiction book. I love the story of the Oregon Trail, and the characters in this one are wonderful. There were subplots and surprises I hadn't expected. If you like historical fiction, this is a great choice. ...more
Diane Perry
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This is a beautifully written piece of historical fiction. I was hooked right from the beginning. It has humor, suspense and romance. All of the characters are interesting. Abigail is very relatable. Very well done.
Janilyn Kocher
Jun 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I loved this book. The story drew me in immediately. The scenes were fast paced and the story never faltered. I love stories involving the Oregon trail and this one is no exception.
Lisa Johnson
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Oregon Trail was a means of expansion west after a time when the country had been torn in two and people were looking to start fresh. Abigail Baldwyn thinks she is a widow with four children and no way to pay on her home as the death benefits she requested from the War Department were not coming. Abigail was shocked to learn that perhaps her children weren’t fatherless, and she may not be a widow after all! But, with few options before her, she sets out to meet up with her husband, even thou ...more
Sue Woodruff
This was a very readable book. I could have given the book 4 stars, but because of the second half of the book, I decided on 3 stars. The plotline was quite predictable, and the second half of the book reminded me more of a romance novel. The story begins in Independence, MO in the mid-1800s. It is the time of westward expansion in the country. The main character is Abigail; she has a family of four children. She decides to join a wagon train which is heading west on the Oregon Trail. Abigail be ...more
I’m not usually a fan of romance, certainly not the Prairie romance genre we saw so much of a few years ago. But unlike so many of those, this is well researched and grounded in a real, historic time and place. Smith draws her characters with love and compassion, even the ones that aren’t exactly “nice.” I loved the sense of community on the wagon trail. Every member became someone I felt I knew, and I didn’t want one to be lost. I was pleased to see that a sequel picks up on some of those chara ...more
Dana Michael
Dec 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved Leaving Independence

This book was so good, I hated whenever I had to put it down. This book captured my attention from the first page. The author did an amazing job of sucking me into the story. I felt as if I was on that wagon train headed out west on the Oregon trail with her awesome cast of characters. Which brings me to the awesome hero Hoke. He was handsome, brave, broody, and gentle. Ahh swoon!! The heroine, Abigail was also strong and smart as well as a gal you'd love to have as you
Lori  DiAnni
Too Many Characters

Overall, I liked the story. Some of it was predictable, and yet I was pleasantly surprised by something I wasn't expecting. I can't say or it will give away an important part of the plot. I loved the main characters, Hoke and Abigail and the children , but I felt there were too many characters introduced that really didn't play a huge part in the story. I was confused by all the names, some similar sounding to others . I think the author could have still told the story with a
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love finding new to me authors and loving them. Such is the case with Leanne. Why have I not heard of her? She has created and amazing story that is full of romance, adventure and is just raw and honest.

I adored this journey on the Oregon trail and getting to know these interesting characters.

The cool thing about this book was that the reader knew some inside information and that Abigail was headed toward disaster but we couldn’t warn her.

I loved Hoke, his strength and his sense of right and w
Linda Rogers
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book for several reasons. The story line, which includes the Civil War. Pioneers, because my great grandparents came West in a wagon train and the interaction between the people in the wagon train. This is a period of history that has been written about with love, respect and sometimes hate, but since none of us were able to actually experience it, we just have to take parts of it and in this case the author chose to show good, the bad and the ugly of a fictional group of people and d ...more
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good story

I enjoyed your story. I am originally from CA but I married a Sailor from TN in 1957 and we settled back here in 75. I lost him after 57 years.
I have been told so many things on my Mother's side, I know here family left GA in 1835 and settled in TX. Then my great-grandfather went to NM and settled with his family. My family ended up in CA in the '20's so a lot of history.
Thank you for your story and I guessed it wasn't her husband she was going to.
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really, I would give this book a 4.5 if I could. This is my kind of book - Historical, clean, a favorite period of our past and with believable characters. I feel as if I were traveling with Abigail and Hoke on their way west. Leanne Smith was done a good job with this book. The only comment would be, the writer should not hint so many time about Abigail's 'husband'. Too much information. Let the reader discover this for themselves.. ...more
Zelda Allad
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful love story and much more!!

It's been quite awhile since I have enjoyed a book so much!! Couldn't put it down. It is clean reading and keeps one guessing from chapter to chapter. I love novels that have to do with settling the West. I hope Leanne Smith will write more novels. I will be checking!
May 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
If I'm honest I would say this was more of a 2 1/2 for me. Although there were some aspects of the book that I did enjoy, overall I felt the book fell a bit flat. It felt like just as the author was starting to dig a bit deeper she would abruptly stop and go back to the surface. I guess I just wanted more. ...more
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I just love a book with a happy ending! This book was sooooooo good! I hated to see it end! It was much, much more that a romance!!!! I found myself thinking about the book when I was away from it and couldn't wait to get back to it! I feel a little sad that it's over! I would love to see a sequel to it! ...more
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Leanne W. Smith is a writer and professor. She teaches business classes at a university in Nashville and writes historical fiction. Smith and her husband have two creative daughters and a son-in-law who make the world more beautiful through their art, photography and music.
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Other books in the series

Leaving Independence (2 books)
  • A Contradiction to His Pride

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