Leaving Independence by Leanne W. Smith is a story of one woman’s bravery and determination to better herself in the aftermath of the Civil War. Abigail Baldwyn is faced with a tough choice. The carpetbaggers are after her house and she learns that her husband is still alive and serving the Army in the West. Wondering why her husband never came home after the war, she decides to leave her home and join her husband with their four children. She arrives in Independence, Missouri, the starting point of the Oregon Trail, and begins to make preparations for the long journey. There she meets Hoke Matthews, a quiet and mysterious man who joins the wagon train as a team leader. On the trail, she and the wagon train meet with disease, tragedy and danger. Then danger strikes Abigail and Hoke must track her movements to rescue her from someone who plans to do her harm. Will he reach her in time? Will she discover the truth about her husband’s absence? Will they make it to the end of their journey?
I thoroughly enjoyed Leaving Independence! It reminds me of another book with a similar theme; however, this book had its own drama, twists and turns. Even though certain events were obviously going to happen, I still gasped and cheered when they did. It was a great story for the brave men and women who risked the unknown to venture to a new home and life in the American West. I highly recommend Leaving Independence.
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