03 March, 2014

Book Review - Dannie of the Cedar Cliffs

This book is the true story of Dannie (Daniel) Martin. Dannie was the first child of Jake & Elizabeth Martin. He had a quiet and fairly peaceful childhood. His family moved a few times before their second child came along - Maria Elizabeth, whom they called Lilie. Dannie's most pleasant times were spent with his Granpap Roth. They were close from an early age, and Granpap often took Dannie with him on trips, both business trips and trips to minister to the spiritual and physical needs of the poor and isolated folks around. Granpap made a huge impression on Dannie's life, and Dannie readily gave his life to God at an age earlier than most others in his church. A few years later, Dannie met and married a Christian girl by the name of Savilla Frances -  Villie, as he called her. They soon started a family of their own, and had ten children altogether, but unfortunately two of them died. Dannie continued following in his Granpap's footsteps, visiting people and encouraging them to give their lives to Christ, even after Granpap passed away. 'Whatever Dannie tried to do in life, he tried desperately to do it well. In great tasks or small, whatever he devoted his energies to, he devoted them completely.*' Dannie continued to serve his God, and his fellows, up until his death in 1950, at age 85.

'Dannie of the Cedar Cliffs' is written by Christmas Carol Kauffman. I have read a lot of her other books, so I was eager to see what this one was like. It's quite different from most of her others, such as 'Unspoken Love', 'Not Regina',and 'For One Moment', in that the main character, Dannie, does not have a difficult or troubled upbringing, or a sad journey through life, with the exception of a few deaths. Although written in the same style, this book lacks the suspense and drama of some of Christmas' other books, and the writing may not be as detailed. Because of that it is also ideal for family reading to a younger audience.

Christmas mentions three motives for writing 'Dannie of the Cedar Cliffs', all of which were very well covered. One of her motives for writing 'Dannie of the Cedar Cliffs' was 'to portray early Mennonite life'. It was interesting to learn how their churches worked back then. For example, most church services were still preached in German, (a language which Dannie's generation could not understand,) and Sunday schools were a new thing,- rejected by many members. The church services also went on for three to four hours!

All in all, this is a good book. It was an easy read, and I enjoyed it. It was inspiring to read about an ordinary Christian man, who was faithful and used of God, and to learn more about Mennonite life in the early to mid nineteen hundreds. :) 

*'Dannie of the Cedar Cliffs' page 246. 


  1. I might have to borrow it….. Yes? :)

    1. Yes. :) I was planning to send it to you next time. :)


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