From the beginnings of the Great War Edward Poole had wanted to partake, but a family’s fear protected him. In the spring of 1917, with no stop to the War, Edward becomes of age to take arms and fight for King and Country. When he is greeted by the tragedy and death of the Western Front as a Trooper of the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars, Edward realizes that the safety of home was better than the horrific decay of no man’s land. Realizing what the war entails he knows the only way home is forward. With the snares and traps of fear and injury Edward must be a role model to his friends and comrades. Bringing strength and leadership to them guiding them to a possible victory day.
Moving, haunting and outstanding are three words that come to mind when I think about the story of Where I’ve Been; a historical fiction tale set around the Great War written by the fresh and upcoming talent that is Dan Heiser. Where I’ve Been is a novel that struck a chord with me because as the majority of you readers know, my husband is a Marine and the Military runs in both his bloodline and mine. The story struck me because it forced me to think about World War 1 as well as force me to examine what it was genuinely like for those that served. The brutalities the soldiers experienced are undoubtedly difficult to read about but at the same time, Where I’ve Been is a novel that should be read by everybody thanks to its poignant and moving themes.
Where I’ve Been follows the young protagonist of the story Edward Poole at the start of World War 1 as he shares his passion with his parents that he wants to serve but his parents do not let him. In the year 1917 Edward is finally old enough to join the Great War and finally serve, and so he does just this and feels immensely proud for doing so.
The war, however, was brutal and unkind and soon Edward will witness this in the harshest of ways with his own eyes. Edward, upon seeing a decaying body and death and destruction everywhere realizes that he has made a mistake and that he wants to return home to comfort and safety. Edward is in the thick of war though, and it will take all he has to avoid the deathly traps and deadly enemy fire in order to return home to safety. The reader will have the pleasure of following Edward on his harsh but inspiring journey to overcome his circumstances and prove that even in the darkest of times, that he is a leader and he will continue no matter what.
The story of Where I’ve Been is award-worthy, and I genuinely mean this. I have read a lot of military fiction books, both fiction and nonfiction but never before have I been so engrossed in a military story. There are many reasons why Where I’ve Been works, but I believe the primary reason is the author’s, Dan Heiser’s exceptional creation of Edward Poole; a young man who wants to serve and do his country proud. The characterization of Edward was phenomenal, and for me, he pulled the story along at the most alarming rate and in the most entertaining of ways. Edward’s journey is an exceptional one, but it is full of many brutal truths that could have the potential to upset many readers. The harshness and brutality of World War 1 are sensitively explored through the character of Edward, and I adore Heiser for doing this… for showing the brutality through the eyes of a young and terrified man who realizes he has made a grave mistake.
With the majority of characters in military fiction, they are written in a way that shows them as heroes and tough men who can easily withstand the horrors of war. However Where I’ve Been is not that kind of story; instead, it is an examination of a look at just how horrendous it is all through the eyes of a freighted young man. Edward could be described as a hero thanks to his courage to persevere despite dire circumstances, but mostly he is an average young man, one who has feelings and who feels these emotions deeply. In other words, the characterization of Edward is one that shows him as being real. Edward is a character that is like many of the real men that served during the Great War – young and terrified men and so I applaud Heiser for his talent at crafting well-rounded, believable characters who will evoke feelings in his readers.
Dan Heiser is an incredible writer, one who has a bright future ahead of him. There is a quote listed on Heiser’s Amazon Author Profile, and it is incredibly true, and I believe it relates to this review of mine immensely. The quote reads:
“A good historical fiction writer places their reader in an era they could never personally experience.”
The quote written by Dan Heiser is incredibly accurate because Where I’ve Been is just that; a brilliant historical fiction tale that will take the reader on a journey – one that the reader has not experienced – and placed them in the story. The literature courtesy of Dan Heiser is absolutely incredible, and I could sit here and type away for hours listing all of the things that are so incredible about his work. However, instead of doing this I will list one writing ability of his that I adore… his ability to place the reader in the thick of the drama.
Heiser is a talented author because he perfectly describes his surroundings so that the reader will be able to imagine every detail. Heiser’s descriptions are poignant as they depict the harsh reality of World War 1 and I admire this quality of his as he does not shy away from the gore and horror the men who served faced, witnessed and experiences.
As Where I’ve Been is a stunning piece of historical fiction that will enchant its readers as well as make them aware of the harshness, I have no choice but to award this remarkable book Five Stars! So please, if you are a reader who loves history as well as military fiction then Where I’ve Been is a novel not to be missed.
Thank you so much for reading book lovers! I appreciate it so much and love discussing wonderful books with all of you so please, comment below and let me know your thoughts on Where I’ve Been; do you see yourself reading this book? Let me know all of those brilliant thoughts of yours below! Thank you so much again for reading!
P.S. Here is a preview of the book for all of you lovely readers to enjoy! Please have a read of the preview and if you find that you have loved what you have read then all you need to do is click the Buy on Amazon button and it will take you straight to the book on Amazon U.S.! If you are in the U.K. then below I have attached a link to the book for the Amazon U.K. I have also attached some links about the author and this wonderful book! Thank you so much again for reading book lovers, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this book.
Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Goodreads